BANGOR, Maine — Downtown Bangor will be decorated with some unique art installations from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10. The Penobscot Theatre Company, in partnership with several local artists, will unveil Art Outta the Box, a self-guided art installation in which the artists transformed old newspaper vending machines — donated by the Bangor Daily News — into artistic visions.
The project began after PTC board director Mary Budd and PTC staff toured the Bangor Daily News facility last spring and discovered the unused newspaper machines in storage.
“Destined for the trash heap, they seemed ripe for reinvention, so we thought, ‘Let’s turn some of these cool artifacts into art!’” Budd said. With the newspaper’s blessing, PTC took the machines and challenged local artists to transform them into something representative of theater.
“We’re thrilled to be participating in the Artwalk and helping to get great art out of the box and into the community. The creative spirit is alive and well in Greater Bangor,” said PTC artistic director Bari Newport in a press release.
The boxes have taken on a wide variety of new identities, inspired by plays and playwrights. Artist Carol Michaud designed a sculptural piece, bringing Audrey, a bloodthirsty plant from “Little Shop of Horrors,” to life, and making the newspaper box unrecognizable. This piece will be placed in front of the Charles Inn in West Market Square. Carol Brooks covered her box with magnolia blooms inspired by “Steel Magnolias,” a play that PTC has produced in 1995 and 2009.
Terri Sanzenbacher was inspired by Shakespeare and named her piece after his famous quote “All the world’s a stage.” She collaged well-known faces from many eras onto the sides of her box, finishing it off with text. Annette Dodd, co-owner of the Rock & Art Shop and a jewelry maker, created a box called “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” which will be placed outside of the Rock & Art Shop. The Central Street Farmhouse also will display one of the box creations. Amanda Boudreau’s design inspired by “Singin’ in the Rain,” which is topped with a black umbrella, will be featured outside the store.
Also participating in the project is a group of artists associated with the University of Maine’s Intermedia Master of Fine Arts program. Owen Smith, Kate Dawson, Jess LeClair, Matt LeClair, Amy Pierce, Heather Perry, Peg Killian, David Colagiovanni and Neil Shelly all have been working hard to transform the newspaper boxes into functional pieces of art for the community. Kate Dawson, who has spearheaded the project, is hoping to make “Street Art Machine Boxes,” also called “SAMboxes.” Her hope is to create artwork that will stay in the community by getting local businesses to sponsor the boxes over the long term.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to support the Penobscot Theatre while giving area residents and visitors new ways to experience art,” Dawson said in a press release.
In addition to the shops listed above, the art pieces will be on display at Epic Sports, Rudman Winchell, the University of Maine Museum of Art, Thistles Restaurant and other prominent downtown Bangor locations. Maps of the Artwalk will be available in several locations, including the University of Maine Museum of Art, The Maine Discovery Museum, Blue Heron, Metropolitan Soul, Epic Sports, Giacomos and The Rock & Art Shop.
PTC also will be hosting a silent auction of the transformed boxes at the Bangor Opera House during the Artwalk on Aug. 10. More information and instructions are available online at penobscottheatre.org, at the Bangor Opera House or on the Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative’s Facebook page, facebook.com/DowntownBangorArtsCollaborative.