Thirty-odd years ago, a newly expanded Farnsworth Art Museum ignited a transformation of downtown Rockland. The city that emerged — one with trendy boutiques, cafés, and a reputation for innovative cuisine — is now the region’s cultural hub.
And the Farnsworth? It only gets better and better. Well known for its large collection of works by N.C. Wyeth, the Farnsworth also has works by countless other great American artists, including Alex Katz, Neil Welliver, Lois Dodd, Robert Indiana, Louise Nevelson, and William Zorach.
Just a block away, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art showcases cutting-edge art by a new generation of artists with Maine connections. Sitting comfortably on the fringe of Rockland’s working waterfront, the CMCA building itself is worth a look-see as one of Maine’s most striking examples of modern architecture.
Together with the scores of commercial galleries and artists’ studios throughout the Rock City and surrounding towns, the Farnsworth and CMCA solidify the Camden-Rockland Region’s reputation as Maine’s premier destination for the visual arts.
➤ From spring to fall, local communities celebrate the art scene with regularly scheduled art walks that invite the public into museums and galleries for viewing, socializing, interacting with artists, and perhaps light refreshments. Rockland’s First Friday Art Walks bring hundreds to the downtown streets, and Camden is launching a regular schedule of Third Thursday Art Walks in 2020.
➤ The Camden-Rockland Region has been a source of inspiration to artists for well over a century. You’ll find works by painters, sculptors, potters, glassblowers, woodcarvers, jewelry makers, and more at countless commercial galleries and home studios throughout the area.
➤ Wild, romantic Monhegan Island has drawn such titans of American art as Rockwell Kent, George Bellows, Frederick Judd Waugh, and three generations of Wyeths — N.C., Andrew, and Jamie. Hundreds of artists flock to this painters’ paradise every summer to work en plein air, and island artists open their studios to the public.
➤ Was Bernard Langlais honoring or satirizing his neighbor, Andrew Wyeth, when he erected Local Girl (Christina Olson), an enormous wooden sculpture on his property in coastal Cushing? See it and more of his work at the Langlais Sculpture Preserve, then skip down to the Farnsworth-owned Olson House, the setting for Wyeth’s famous 1948 painting Christina’s World.