BANGOR, Maine — Artists and craftspeople from the Queen City and beyond displayed their wares Saturday during the 20th annual WLBZ2 Sidewalk Art Festival.
Around 78 artists participated this year, setting up paintings, photographs, jewelry and other creations in stalls along Broad Street and Pickering Square.
Jennifer Jordan’s colorful, whimsical watercolor paintings of Maine coastal scenes drew a lot of attention — and a prize.
Jordan, the art teacher for all the kindergarten through fifth-grade students in the Brewer School Department, won the purchase prize, which was among four awards handed out in the early hours of the festival.
Best in show and an $800 prize went to New York native Tim Gaydos, known for his work in pastels who has had exhibitions at the University of Maine at Machias and in galleries in Portland. Bar Harbor photographer Robert Moran was the second-place festival award winner, which earned him $700, and Vassalboro painter Ann Rhinehardt took third place and $600.
WLBZ2 General Manager Judy Horan said she planned to pick a watercolor painting of a lighthouse, called “By the Sea,” and a smaller painting from among Jordan’s work. The painting will go on display at the television station.
Jordan, a Brewer resident who is from Massachusetts, is going into her sixth year teaching in the Brewer system. She paints in her spare time, she said, and is inspired by the ocean.
“I love the Maine coast, and I love bright colors,” Jordan said. “I like to do the bright, whimsical style. I do a lot of coloring pictures for [the students] where I draw a simple picture in black and they color them in. They love that.”
Saturday’s art show also gave Bangor Mayor Gerry Palmer a chance to show off the art of a group of Fruit Street Elementary School art club students, who constructed a project for the city’s ongoing 175th birthday celebration.
The students, who are in the first, second and third grades, working under the direction of art teacher Wendy Libby and education technician Donna Weber, made 3-dimensional representations of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox on two boards. Bunyan and Babe had their faces cut out so that people can stand behind the fig-ures and put their heads through the holes.
The students used a mix of materials such as yarn to make Babe’s tail, a real plaid shirt and work boots for Paul, and affixed small pine cones and pieces of tree trunk to the board. The students gave Bunyan and Babe to the city last winter, and the two have traveled around the city since then.
“We’ve been using them at events,” Palmer said. “We must have had 150 heads through here at [last week’s Chapin Park block party]. They’re just spectacular.”
Horan said crowds were steady, although the number of artists participating was down from last year. The economy may be to blame, she added.
It certainly couldn’t have been because of the weather, as the festival began under clear, sunny skies and high temperatures. Considering the rainy summer so far, Horan admitted she was a bit worried in the days before the festival.
“What were the odds of getting a beautiful day this summer?” Horan said. “All week I was bugging [WLBZ 2 meteorologist] Steve McKay. About Thursday he said he thought we’d have a good day all day. So we were ecstatic.”