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Art and the Ocean – Three exciting happenings this spring

Happy Spring! It is no secret that we at Portland Paddle love the ocean! As part of loving the ocean, we are always looking for new ways to learn about it, protect it, and express our love for it, as well as to connect and share with others who feel the same way. To celebrate the spring equinox, and to help spread the ocean love, we are excited to share with you two new art openings that deeply express this love, while blending science, conservation work, and beautiful artistry. Both shows are open or opening soon in the Greater Portland area and have free opportunities to view them. We also want to highlight an up coming conversation on art, the ocean, community, and the environment happening this month! Read below for all the details.


MITA logo

Mariah Reading: Waste Water – a gallery show at Casco Bay Artisans (Portland, ME) sponsored by our friends at Maine Island Trail! – opening reception March 30th 5-8pm

The Maine Island Trail Association regularly hosts clean ups of the islands they help to conserve. Through the efforts of their volunteers, MITA has provided Mariah with an extensive collection of potential canvases with which to create her latest show collection. All items in the show were found on the shores of or in the Atlantic Ocean. Mariah then paints each piece of trash with a landscape painting of the area where it was found, intentionally leaving one side untouched so that the original debris is still visible and identifiable. Once completed, Mairah “photographs the painted object aligned with the physical landscape to both obscure and highlight the discarded object”.

About Mariah Reading – born in Bangor, ME, Mariah Reading is an Eco-Artist, and was the 2019 artist in residence at Acadia National Park. She studied visual arts, with a focus on landscape painting, at Bowdoin College. Mariah pivoted to eco-art “when the parallel between painting landscapes and feeding landfills became overwhelmingly apparent. The landscapes that so richly inspired me were being hurt by the waste I created in order to depict them”. Mariah’s current work focuses on utilizing found trash as canvas for landscape painting and on utilizing a low waste art practice, in order to highlight the need to protect the preserve the environment, particularly in the National Parks. More information about Mariah and her work can be found on her website.

About the Maine Island Trail Association – The Maine Island Trail Association is a membership organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the wild islands of coastal Maine. Founded in 1988 to administer the Maine Island Trail, MITA embraces the powerfully simple idea that care of the islands can be left to the users of these treasured and fragile places. Our ability to turn island users into island stewards is why islands visited by members tend to be in better shape than those left alone. The mission of the Maine Island Trail Association is to advance a model of thoughtful use and volunteer stewardship of Maine’s wild islands, creating an inspiring recreational water trail that is cared for by the people who use it. For more about the Maine Island Trail and for how to support or volunteer with MITA, please see their website.

More information about the Waste Water show can be found at the Casco Bay Artisan’s website here.


Maine Maritime Museum logo

SeaChange: Darkness and Light in the Gulf of Maine a year long installation at Maine Maritime Museum (Bath, ME) in partnership with Gulf of Maine EcoArts – a multimedia, experiential exhibit which recreates the kelp forest and underwater mountain range of Cashes Ledge through sculpture, painting, and video.

“Making art, and out of the activity of making art, awakening a sense of connection–to the teeming life in the Gulf of Maine, to the science and the scientists who are busy seeking ways to sustain that life, to the students, teachers, climate activists, and fellow artists who are collectively inviting us to take up our destiny as stewards—this is what the project is all about.” – Gulf of Maine EcoArts team

About Gulf of Maine EcoArts – Gulf of Maine Eco Arts is a partnership between artists, scientists, teachers, and schools and their students ranging from elementary school through the university level. The goal of GMEA is to create installation art, predominantly made of found materials, to reconnect people to the natural world, to build an artist-scientist-conservationisst community, and to awaken an alliance between people, animals, and plants in the gulf of Maine. They accomplish these goals through installations, hands on art creation, educational programs, and events, in order to address issues of environmental justice, pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss. For more information about Gulf of Maine EcoArts, please visit their website.

About Maine Maritime Museum – Founded in 1962, Maine Maritime Museum sits on a beautiful 20-acre campus on the banks of the Kennebec River in “The City of Ships,” Bath, Maine. The museum is dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of Maine’s maritime heritage and culture. The Maine Maritime Museum campus includes both indoor and outdoor exhibits, permanent and rotating exhibit spaces, research collections, a working wooden boatshop, active docks, restored, historic ships, which provide educational tours of the Kennebec River, a nautical themed children’s play space, and views of the working naval shipyard at Bath Iron Works. More information can be found at their website.

More information about SeaChange can be found here and here.


Friends of Casco Bay logoWater as Inspiration: Art and Casco Bay – a panel discussion with three local artists, hosted by Friends of Casco Bay, about water, the environment, and art. The panel will be conducted over zoom on Wednesday March 29th from 5:30 to 6:30pm. Local artists Anna Dibble, Mitchell Rasor, and Jan Piribeck will discuss their work, the intersection of creativity, the environment, and climate change, and the power of art as a communication tool, especially as they connect directly to the people and the environment here in Casco Bay. 

Visit Friends of Casco Bay’s website for more information and to register.

About Friends of Casco Bay – Friends of Casco Bay is a community of people who care deeply about the special place that is Casco Bay. The mission of F0CB is to improve and protect the environment of Casco Bay for the health of all people, wildlife, and plants through a number of different avenues, including policy advocacy, clean up efforts, pump out services, water quality monitoring, BayScaping advocacy, educational programs, and more. For more information and to get involved, visit their website here!


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