If you mention “the arts” in Maine, you’ll discover that across the state, the definition goes way beyond the fine arts and performing arts. It embraces crafts and fine craftsmanship, as well as rural customs that support and dignify a traditional Maine way of life. Here’s a selection of exhibits, celebrations and events to look for this summer.
MUSIC & DANCE
Portland Bach Experience
The Portland Bach Experience returns from June 11 to June 20, 2021 with 10 days of innovative programs to connect, inspire, and heal the community. Known for innovative performances and nationally-acclaimed artists, PBE will present more than a dozen virtual and live events with locations in Portland and throughout southern and coastal Maine. The festival starts in Portland’s East Bayside Neighborhood with A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Carnival Concert & Community Celebration, a free carnival-style concert and community celebration featuring the PBE orchestra alongside local arts organizations and food and beverage vendors.
Moosehead Music Festival
The new Moosehead Music Festival 2021 is scheduled as a multi-day event, from July 23-25, 2021, in Greenville, Maine, on the shores of Maine’s largest lake. It will showcase the performances of eight Maine-based “Americana Bands,” with daytime concerts on the lake and nightly concerts in local establishments. Among the performers will be the Don Campbell Band, David Mallett, the Mallett Brothers Band, the Boneheads, Denny Breau, Bishop Avenue, Black Cat Road, and Chris Poulson and the Social Club. The concert venue will include food trucks and liquid refreshments can be purchased on site.
Bates Dance Festival
The Bates Dance Festival hosts an international roster of artists in a collaborative and joyful community in Lewiston. It’s comprised of training programs and a main-stage performances series featuring renowned contemporary dance artists from around the world. This summer that includes Janessa Clark in Communion and Christal Brown and Lida Winfield in Same but Different. There are also community outreach activities including the Youth Arts Program serving local youth ages 7-16 with dance, music, theater and visual arts training.
Maine Children’s Museum
The Maine Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine plans to celebrate their grand opening during the summer of 2021. The new museum will be double the size of the museum’s previous location and is located in the Thompson’s Point area of Portland.
Wyeths at the Farnsworth
One of the summer’s most anticipated exhibitions is Betsy’s Gift: The Works of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth at Rockland’s Farnsworth Art Museum. Running through March 27, 2022, it’s focused on 27 works by three generations of Wyeth painters that were given by Betsy Wyeth to the Farnsworth. A companion exhibit, Betsy Wyeth: Partner and Muse, is a selection of portraits of Betsy, who passed away last spring at the age of 98, that were drawn and painted by her husband, Andrew Wyeth.
Camden International Film Festival
The 17th edition of the Camden International Film Festival will be held in person (and online) throughout venues in Camden, Rockport, and Rockland, Maine from September 16 – 26, 2021. There will be in-person screenings at four venues: the recently launched Shotwell Drive-In, the Camden Opera House, Strand Theatre, and a special new pop-up cinema-lounge housed inside a 12,000 square foot boat barn on the edge of the Atlantic. Filmmakers will be in attendance, the Points North Pitch will be held live, and Fellows from CIFF’s four Artist Programs and additional partnerships will be on the ground for the fest.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
Maine Crafts Association Fairs
The Maine Crafts Association assumed management of four fine craft shows previously managed by the Maine Crafts Guild in 2020. The two organizations have also joined together as one Maine craft organization to offer all the programs, events and initiatives previously offered by each separate organization. In 2021, three MCA Guild Fine Crafts Shows are planned. The Guild Fine Craft Show: Mount Desert Island runs July 23-25, 2021; the Guild Fine Craft Show: Scarborough will be held on September 18 and 19, 2021; the Guild Fine Craft Show: Brunswick will be held October 23 and 24, 2021.The shows will feature fine craft artists from the former Maine Crafts Guild juried membership and craft artists who have been juried into the new Guild level of Maine Crafts Association membership. The shows will also include a selection of juried craft artists from the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.
Common Ground Country Fair
The Common Ground Country Fair, from September 24-26, 2021 in Unity, got its start during the back-to-the-land movement in 1977. Affiliated with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the focus is on organic farming techniques and living, with a showcase for rural crafts. A celebration of rural life, the Common Ground Country Fair draws more than 60,000 visitors a year who come for the draft horse show and sheep dog trials, demos of spinning and carding wool, stonework, tree identification and workshops on raising animals.
Maine Potato Blossom Festival
Celebrating the agricultural history and heritage of Aroostook County and the State of Maine, the 73rd Annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival will run from July 10-18, 2021 in Fort Fairfield. Honoring the agricultural crop that sustains Aroostook County – the potato — it’s timed for when the potato blossoms are in full bloom. This nine day festival offers a BBQ Cook Off, a Town-Wide Yard Sale, sporting events, and nightly entertainment and food court. Visitors can check out the Family Day of fun on the Aroostook River, “Mash Potato Wrestling” Ice Cream Social, Garden Tours, and the Largest Parade in Maine, as well as fireworks over the Aroostook River.