Three hundred artists are participating in the “Down East Sails Up Town” 2010 international art exhibition of Down East art, music and culture Aug. 20-22 in Bangor.

The exhibition is presented by By Design art gallery in Bangor and FOCUS International, or Focus on Cultural Understanding and Sharing, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to developing and fostering programs that serve as pathways to understanding between people of different cultures.

“There are over 500 pieces of art of all different media, from watercolor and oil paintings to photography, traditional, digital and sculpture,” said By Design exhibit coordinator Rod Rodrigues.

Artists from 15 countries and 21 states will participate. The countries include Canada, Germany, Russia, Colombia, Iceland and Denmark.

The list of artists includes Tim Gaydos of Lubec; Geoff Slater of St. Andrews, New Brunswick; Ken Graslie of Addison; Valerie Aponik of Beals Island and Marsha Townsend of Ellsworth.

The pre-opening artist reception will be held 5 to 9 p.m. today at By Design gallery at 20 Harlow St. The exhibit opens Saturday, Aug. 21, in Pickering Square with music, art and cultural events all day. The festivities will resume at noon Sunday.

“Pickering Square will be the center of the art universe at that moment,” said Rodrigues.

On Saturday and Sunday, groups of people will be taken on tours to the 10 exhibit venues: By Design, Bangor City Hall Art Museum, Tabitha and Steven King Hall, Bennett Gallery, Eastern Maine Development Corp. in Norumbega Hall, Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor Senior Center, Charles Inn, Thistles International Cui-sine and Art Gallery and the old courthouse on Hammond Street.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to three nonprofit children’s organizations: the Children’s Discovery Museum in Bangor, Kids Peace in Ellsworth and Sunbury Shores Art and Nature Center in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

Four categories group artists by where they’re from:

• Platinum is the “Down East Artist,” one who lives or works Down East.

• Gold is the “Down East Artist in Exile,” one who was born or has lived Down East but has since strayed.

• Silver is the “Down East Artist from Away,” one who is a seasonal artist.

• Brass is the “Down East Artist from Afar,” those “who this year, wish to hell they were from Down East,” as found on the By Design gallery website,

“Artists themselves have chosen the medium, size, framing and price of their work,” said Rodrigues.

Organizers encourage people to bring folding chairs, though some seating will be provided. Gallery associates will direct people to an indoor venue if weather becomes inclement.

The exhibit will be on display Aug. 21-Oct. 2 at various Bangor locations. The exhibit, weekend tours and events are free. Tonight’s reception is also free and open to the public.


Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...