Last Day of Cruise Ship Season Sad Day for Community of Artists; “We Are Like a Family Here,” Doris Bernier, Painter


Ft. Gorges From the Eastern Promenade in "If I Had a Chance..." by Tatia DiChiara


Sweet Pea" by Chuck Bernier. By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,002)

The arrival of the cruise ship Jewel of the Seas this morning in Portland marked the end of the 2011 cruise ship season and for the street vendors a sad day as well. Not only does it mean the end of a source of income, but today marked the passing of another community of artists until 2012.

“It’s a sad day for all of us. The group has become practically a family. I’ve already said goodbye to almost everyone today. But some of us do stay in touch in the winter,” said Chuck Bernier, painter, from Wells. Bernier, who paints coastal scenes, is a lobsterman turned watercolorist in 1991 – on doctors orders. The sea air was hard on his lungs. “Portland people love art and they buy it. We sell as much to the locals as to the tourists. In fact, I make more as an artist than I did as a lobsterman,” he added. His wife, Doris, a painter as well, is always at his side.

Rodney Belanger, a jewelry maker from Augusta, said “It’s our last day for the season – until next year that is.” He and some of the artists attended the recent Health & Recreation public forum on artists because we wanted do to what we could to help. We want to stay here without any hassels.” Marcia Livada who testified at the H&R forum that police had been polite to her during “The Raid” said – “It’s sad that today is the end of the 2011 season. I like visiting with the cruise people. They love meeting the artists who make what they buy. We develop a relationship with them.”

“It’s been pretty good here,” said Tatia DiChiara who has been selling to cruise ship passengers for only three weeks. DiChiara was selling hand-painted cups and plates. Equally as eye-catching is a childrens’ book she wrote and illustrated, “If I Had A Chance…” dedicated to her two children, also artists. One page of the soft-cover shows Ft. Gorges from the Eastern Promenade. (Please see ) “It’s been fun down here. Just being part of this community is fun. The day flies by. I’ll be back next year,” DiChiara added.

A total of sixty-five cruise ships visited Portland this year carrying a record-setting 92,447 passengers and 34,975 members of the crew. The city has begun booking cruise ships visits for the 2012 season and at this point, fifty-five cruise ships carrying approximately 70,490 passengers and 27,255 crew members have scheduled their visits. The city will continue to schedule ships for the 2012 season this winter and spring.

editor’s note: Apologies to the artists for messing up the photos above!

For more background information, on the Health & Recreation Committee meeting with local artists, please see Post # 999, dated 10/19/ herein.