Maine Art Collective Pop-up Closes October 29th With Expectation to Return Next Year


Artist Laurie Russo-Smith at the Maine Art Collective Gallery, 18 Exchange Street, the Od Port of Portland.  She Wears a Face Mask with the Initials RBG Embroidered on it.  She Paints Abstract Expressionist Watercolors.

Photography by Claire A. Mohs Has Been Popular at the Show.

“Bold Blooms,” painted by Lynn Ericson, Uses Acrylics. This Painting Costs $750. Her Painting Career Began With an Award Winning Portrait of her Beagle Kimmy When She was Ten Years Old, in a City Wide Art Show in Portland,

Small  Seasonal Pumpkin Paintings in Acrylic are for Sale for $75. by Artist Lucille Caruso Holt-Scottery

“It’s been busy every day.  People have been coming in consistently since we opened in August,” said artist Laurie Russo-Smith this afternoon.  She was the gallery sitter today at the pop-up at 18 Exchange Street.  The pop-up will be closing its doors on Friday, October 29 – for now that is.

The original lease with the landlord was for August and September.  But the the lease was extended through October 29 – that was because the new, permanent tenant was not ready to take occupancy of this prime location in the Old Port until the end of October.

Russo-Smith speculated that the new tenant could be a restaurant that is still going through the inspection process with the city and state.

“It was a leap of faith for most of us to join this collective,” said Russo-Smith.  She said that finding space for artists to exhibit their work is a long-standing problem in Portland.  “I went into a Portland gallery asking if it would show my work.  They said no without even looking at it.”

This gallery is unique because artists receive100% of the sales from their work.  Most galleries take 50% of the artists’ profits for their own.  The rent for the large space was reduced by the landlord to allow it to be affordable for these artists.  All fourteen of the artists chip in to pay the monthly rent.  The exhibitors have remained the same since opening day on August 1st.  From time to time, artists’ work is switched to a different wall to keep the gallery looking fresh.

Organizers of this popular pop-up  expect to return in the spring of next year.  The coalition of 14 artists will be looking for another vacant store front in which to pop-up again.  Whether or not these same original fourteen artists will return is unknown at this time.

The public has about two weeks to get down to 18 Exchange Street to enjoy the delightful artistry of Maine artists. Don’t miss this opportunity to consider some early holiday gift giving options – all with very reasonable price tags on them.  Artists need our support and this is a wonderful way to do that!

Sue Vittner, an artist, is the organizer of the pop-up.  She can be contacted at: