By Michael Dostie
Art Walk Lewiston Auburn
Perhaps you have heard of Art Walk Lewiston Auburn—or perhaps you have not. I would like to let you know a little bit about what it is, how it was started and where it is going.
My name is Michael Dostie, and I live and work in Downtown Lewiston. Just over two months ago a good friend asked me if I would be interested in starting an art walk here in the downtowns of Lewiston and Auburn. Without hesitation we called a couple of friends and got right to work. We decided to host five art walks through the summer, once every month from May through September on the last Friday.
Our inaugural event on Friday, May 27 started at 5 p.m. and in some locations stretched past 9 p.m. The event was an overwhelming success with nearly 500 people flooding the streets. From young couples with their children to retired mill workers, the energy and the excitement in the streets was infectious. On more than one occasion I heard comments comparing the evening to “The Lisbon Street we remember from decades ago.” We featured the work of 27 local artists and sold over a dozen pieces of their art.
I have since been asked to what I attribute to the unprecedented success of the evening. There were several reasons:
I believe we had—and will continue to have—such a great turnout because the people of Lewiston, Auburn and the surrounding communities have wanted more events to participate in through the summer in this area. I have also discovered that there is a steadily emerging art scene here with a growing number of people who appreciate art in all forms.
Our small organization worked diligently to make this art walk as easy and convenient, not only for the participating businesses, but especially for the artists and patrons. All of our featured artists were given their own gallery on our website, allowing patrons to take a second look and purchase artwork they saw during the show. We also made arrangements to accept all forms of payment to artists from patrons interested in their pieces. Our printed maps helped people navigate to all of our venues and seek out specific artists.
In addition to these seemingly small things, we also utilized as much space that was possible in the downtown. We worked with local businesses, organizations and building owners, effectively transforming law office reception areas, vacant window space and retail showrooms into art exhibits and galleries. In short, we turned two city blocks into one large art show.
Organizing the first art walk was a monumental undertaking. But with the unrelenting determination of a handful of volunteers, we made it into a spectacular night for both the art world and our community. In writing this to you now, it is not my intention to ask for money or sponsorships. But I ask for your participation.
Consider this my invitation to you to come out this month. Experience an event that has already begun to change the face of our downtown community. Come take a walk!
Our next Art Walk Lewiston Auburn event will be Friday, June 24 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. (some venues stay open later). More information can be found on our website www.ArtWalkLewistonAuburn.com.
Our first art walk featured 27 artists and spanned two city blocks, but it is my vision to expand this monthly event into something much larger. If you are an artist, please join us. Our art walk is limited only by the number of artists who want to participate.
Our submission deadline of June 15 is fast approaching, but we still need more art. Please submit your work. Be a part of the Art Walk movement!
Contact Michael Dostie of J. Dostie Jewelers at Michael@ArtWalkLewistonAuburn.com. For more information, see www.ArtWalkLewistonAuburn.com.