Wiscasset Art Walk, Alive on the Common

Night of firsts in Wiscasset

Posted:  Friday, June 30, 2017 - 8:30am

Wiscasset’s Eric Major had never played guitar in front of an audience before Thursday night, June 29. Vince Pepe, also of Wiscasset, had been painting about 12 years, but never before outdoors.

And Singapore’s Dilys Goh ordered a lobster roll and fries at Red’s Eats as she continued her first visit to the U.S. She was on holiday, staying in Westport Island and was liking her time here. Being from a city, this is a nice break, she said.

The three were among the faces downtown and on the common for the summer’s first Wiscasset Art Walk and Alive on the Common evening of music. The two series’ summer kickoffs made a path of creativity and community in Maine’s prettiest village.

After his performance as lead guitar with classic rock band Hanover Fiste, Major recalled being a little afraid at first. How did it go?

“Awesome,” his father Russell Major, also of Wiscasset, said. Seated next to him on the grass was grandson Gabe Major, 7.

It was open mic night. Between acts, host Danny Grover of the Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce said it going well and might be good to do again. The Chamber and Wiscasset Parks and Recreation are putting on the concert series. The Liz Lennon Band will play the blues at 6 p.m. July 6. Tim Dunham Realty is sponsoring.

Attendees sat in lawn chairs and director’s chairs and on blankets. Alna cousins Eben Lynch, 3, and Lianna Averill, 20 months, played on a slab and then returned to their families, who were enjoying a Hawaiian pizza from Alna General Store.

Downtown at the art walk, Wiscasset Middle High School teachers Kim Andersson and Prima Long and incoming sophomores Lily Souza, 14, and and Mackenzie Allen, 15, were playing ukuleles together for the first time outside school. Andersson said they will return for the next art walk July 27 and would welcome others to show up with their ukuleles and join them. They were singing and playing Vance Joy’s “Riptide.” It’s the only song they know by heart, Andersson said, adding, they have a repertoire.

Outside Ingram Fine Art & Antiques on Main Street, Pepe was at an easel, painting a corner of the Main-Water street intersection. He’s opening Deer Ridge Gallery in town mid-summer. He and wife Tiffany moved to Wiscasset in April from Colorado for her work at Bath Iron Works, and because they wanted to be near the water. Colorado has none, he said, smiling. Painting outside, or plein air, was fun, he said of his first experience. He’ll be at the next art walk, he said.

So will the Garden Club of Wiscasset. Thursday night, members were selling bouquets of flowers freshly pulled from their gardens, along with children’s garden gloves and other items. Sales benefited club projects, past president Linda Belmont said. Joining her were Wendy Ross, Claudia Sortwell and new president Jan O’Connell.

A Connecticut couple, Bernette Golden of North Stonington and Larry Kern of Groton, said they happened upon the art walk  on their way to Boothbay Harbor. “What a fantastic idea,” she said about the event while the two visited Treats on Main Street. Also in Treats was Rick Burns, attending a wine-tasting and about to try some cheese. Wife Lucia Droby organizes the art walk with Violet Brandwein.

“It’s a great way to bring the community together, that’s what I like about it. And the level of participation is outstanding and it’s growing,” said Burns, who offers his wife moral support. “It’s a celebration in the village, and I think that’s just terrific.”

Doug and Barbara Baston of Alna talked on the sidewalk with O’Connell and another friend, Judi Main. Barbara Baston, a retired kindergarten teacher, said she kept running into her former Wiscasset Primary School students.

Kasey McNamara kept her Main Street shop In the Clover open for the art walk. About an hour in, she wasn’t seeing a bump-up in sales, but that was alright, she said. “It’s more about being supportive of the town, and being supportive of the art walk.”

Down Middle Street, Wiscasset Cottage Antiques owner Joe Carusone felt the same. The more who take part, the better the event, he said. Carusone, 84, of South Bristol lived 20 years in Wiscasset. He’s lived in Maine 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else. Asked why that was, he said, “It’s the way of life and the nice people.”

His collectibles and furniture shop has taken part since the art walk started five years ago. “If (people) find my shop, I’m happy.” Maybe they will come back, he said.