There is so much artwork in downtown Bangor right now they’ve had to start floating some of it in the stream. Other works are painted on the side of buildings. It’s madness, and “Art-tober” is still months away.
An epic mural greets visitors on the corner of Main and Union Streets. The colorful retro postcard reads “Greetings from Bangor, Maine” and was painted by the Rock and Art Shop’s Annette Dodd.
Speaking of the Rock and Art Shop, they always have something interesting in the window and some paintings hanging in the back. Their eclectic window displays add to the character of Central Street, the heart of Bangor’s unofficial arts district.
Further up the street is Central Gallery, which features a different artist’s work every month. They are helping to breathe life into downtown with “artist talks, workshops, musicians, and other creative & educational events” according to their facebook page. Central Gallery currently houses vintage refinished furniture by The Rusted Raven.
Around the corner from there is the University of Maine Museum of Art. A great asset to downtown Bangor, the museum features work by renowned artists. Right now they have Japanese artist Niho Kozuru’s vivid creations cast out of translucent rubber. Her pieces are singular to be sure, but call to mind architectural details that wouldn’t be out of place in many of the old homes in Bangor. Also at the museum are the works of Eastport’s Anna Hepler. Besides what’s inside the museum, Hepler also has one work outside, floating in the Kenduskeag Stream.
“Boat Load” is a collection of colorful buoys and mooring balls, tightly packed like barnacles around some invisible floating center. Crafted out of man-made objects, it feels alive because of the movement of the stream’s current and the rising and falling tides.
Amidst all this artwork, downtown Bangor feels alive too. Rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1911, the buildings feature craftsmanship and architectural elements seldom found in modern construction. They are clustered around the stream, tightly packed like barnacles, brought to life by the people flowing in and out of them. Truly vintage, downtown may be its own best work of art.