MOUNT DESERT — The clink of wine glasses, laughter and good conversation are part of the business of an art gallery, as hosting festive receptions is central to the operation. For some buyers, a purchased piece is a memento of what a good time they had at the reception, as well as something with intrinsic appeal.
Art galleries, along with theater groups, music festivals and library lectures,are pillars of the explosion of cultural life on Mount Desert Island in the summer. And all of these are going to look different this year.
“I plan my shows back in October and November of the year before,” Tyra Hanson, director of the Gallery at Somes Sound, told the Islander. “I just adapted and rolled with the situation.
“People are becoming quite creative with some of this.”
This season, for the Maine bicentennial, the gallery is featuring solo shows by Maine artists, and five percent of the proceeds from each sale is being donated to a Maine nonprofit chosen by the artist.
In June, for a show of Howie Motenko’s photographs, Hanson worked with Friends of Acadia to organize a livestream event with Motenko to promote the show.
Coming up July 8 is the first in-person reception, for a show of paintings by Anne Ireland, with donations going to Maine Coast Heritage Trust.Champagne and refreshments will be served in the gallery’s small parking lot overlooking the water.
“There’ll be four groups of five that can come into the gallery and meet Anne and look at her show,” Hanson said.
The gallery is taking reservations for 20 people, and interest has already been strong. “We’ve had a wonderful response to the idea,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to this because it brings a more personalized approach to the receptions. I think it’s going to be kind of fun.”
The gallery has face masks and hand sanitizer available, and is strictly adhering to cleaning protocols.
“I think socialization is really huge,” Hanson said. “I think it’s really important, even during this pandemic, to find a way to be around each other.And just wear masks, that’s the key. With that, we will keep the numbers down. As long as we keep each other safe, I don’t see any problem with having a social event.”
Ireland, a Bath resident who holds degrees from Bowdoin College and the Maine College of Art, is known as a colorist.
“Colors speak to each other in a painting and it is that conversation that Ireland wants to follow,” the artist statement for the show reads. “The unique spaces and cool light in Maine, whether it’s a foggy cove or a sun-drenched field bordered by pines, lend themselves to all of her personal interests in the power of color and in rediscovering her home over and over again.”
Shows later in the summer include Donald Demers, supporting the Portland Museum of Art; Eline Barclay, supporting the Land & Garden Preserve; and Robert Wellings, supporting the Wendell Gilley Museum.