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Norway, ME – February 21, 2021 – Lights Out Gallery, a pioneering force in Maine's art scene, is proud to announce the receipt of a $229,750 grant to advance its mission of promoting Maine art. This funding, generously provided as part of Department of Economic and Community Development’s Domestic Trade Grant Program funded by Governor Mill’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and the American Rescue Plan Act.

Governor Janet Mills recently unveiled the allocation of over $3 million in grants from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to bolster the sales of Maine-made products across the United States. This initiative, a cornerstone of Maine's economic development strategy, aims to promote growth and fortify the state's business climate. Lights Out Gallery's grant is a testament to the vital role of the arts in Maine's economic landscape and the recognition of the gallery's efforts in elevating Maine's cultural profile.

"We are immensely grateful to Governor Janet Mills and the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan for their support of the arts in Maine," said Daniel Sipe, Co-Director of Lights Out Gallery. "This grant will enable us to increase our capacity and showcase the exceptional work of Maine artists to audiences far and wide."

The grant will facilitate Lights Out Gallery's expansion of its pop-up exhibit program, providing platforms for emerging and established artists to display their work across the state. Allowing Lights Out Gallery to focus fundraising efforts on critical projects such as the renovation of our art and community center in Norway, including the replacement of its roof.

"Maine has always been a place for artists to make work. Our communities have formed around the arts. We are excited to continue to promote the rich history of Maine art," added Sipe. 

The support provided through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan underscores the commitment of Maine's government to the growth and vitality of the state's cultural sector. By investing in initiatives like Lights Out Gallery, the plan will stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and strengthen Maine's identity as a hub of artistic innovation.

Lights Out Gallery extends its gratitude to Governor Mills, the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, and all partners involved for their dedication to advancing Maine's arts and culture.

For more information about Lights Out Gallery and its initiatives, please visit contact

Matt Demers is a visual artist living and working in Gardiner, Maine. A quiet person, Demers closely observes the fevered and cross-talking world, absorbing and collecting its art and ephemera, and learning or imagining the meanings that odd objects, forgotten texts, and torn treasures carry with them. Demers is or has been an art and antiques collector, sign maker, gravedigger, embroiderer, antiques dealer, and graphic artist; those experiences shape the various techniques and media that make their way into his paintings. He is drawn to the misfiled and overlooked fragments of the past and the ways they might shine if rightly considered.

Allison McKeen a self taught interdisciplinary artist living and working in Gardiner, Maine - currently focused on printmaking, design, illustration, and painting. my work is an exploratory adventure of shape, color and pattern - inspired by themes of nostalgia, nature, home, adventure, comfort, and play.

Discover the cross-currents and influences in pieces by life partners displayed together at Fort Hall Gallery.

Jorge S. Arango

Couples show “the House support itself,” put on by Lights Out Gallery at Katherine Bradford’s summer studio in the Fort Andross Mill in Brunswick, which has been dubbed (until summer anyway) the Fort Hall Gallery, was supposed to close on Valentine’s Day. While there will still be an official “closing party” on the fitting holiday Wednesday, the show – curated by artist Ian Trask, who also keeps a studio at the mill – will remain up through Saturday.

The first thing denizens of the gallery scene will notice is that the art community in Maine is a small one, and that the community of artists who are coupled is even more intimately proportioned. Which is to say that you’ll find many of the usual suspects here: Rachel and Ryan Adams, Tessa Greene O’Brien and Will Sears, Susan and Tim Van Campen, etc. Some of these aren’t doing anything particularly new (in at least one case, I saw a painting I’ve seen at a few different venues already). But several artists created new work for “House.”

Couples shows have proliferated recently. This summer, there was “Counterpoint: Monhegan Artist Couples” at the Monhegan Museum of Art & History, as well as three concurrent shows with couple connections weaving among them at Cove Street Arts (“Seeing Through,” “Dirigo” and “Elective Affinities”). Also at Cove Street, Jamie Johnston and wife, Sondra Bogdonoff, exhibited together last month in “Morphatoreum.”

Clearly, it’s a popular theme, its chief enjoyment being the opportunity it offers to discern similarities and differences between their work and speculate on how one artist inspires the other and vice versa. This pursuit can have a heyday here. It’s easy to see, for instance, that though two of these pairings – Chelsea Ellis and Sam Giberson, Johnston and Bogdonoff – work in completely different media, there are affinities that nevertheless thread through their work.

Ellis is a photographer who paints her body and, using digital manipulation, places some of its parts into a scene she has photographed. Both scene and body are painted in the same color (in this case, a chartreuse green), creating a ghostly porosity between figure and setting. Among other things, Ellis is interrogating people’s tendency to objectify the female body, here representing it literally as a series of actual body parts (objects). It’s hard to objectify a body when it’s not all there, which leaves us with the uneasy feeling of trying, impossibly as it turns out, to complete the figure in our minds. Increasing our discomfort are her titles; here “Afflicta” implies someone with a corrosive or degenerative condition not dissimilar, for instance, to leprosy.

Giberson, at first glance, seems to have nothing in common with his partner. His works are mixed-media constructions painted in hot colors like bubblegum pink, deep blue and fire-engine red. The surfaces of their component parts are variously textured, creating tension within each composition that goes beyond the mere clash of colors. They have a more solid, graspable sense of materiality and a cohesion in the way they are held together, intact and unto themselves. Yet fundamentally, both artists’ work has something to do with compartmentalization and assemblage of parts, and color plays an important role in both.

Bogdonoff’s medium is fiber; her husband’s is wood. Yet both deal with mathematics and geometry. In Johnston’s case, that geometry is asymmetrical yet requires a mathematical precision to achieve. Bogdonoff’s weavings also depend on mathematical calculation, though their effects are softer and more subtle than Johnston’s work. Both these artists also build in a certain sense of accessibility – Bogdonoff by leaving threads loose and, thus, blurring lines that would otherwise be clearly defined; Johnston by applying color in an almost painterly way, meaning that we can see the artist’s hand, which humanizes constructions that might have felt super tight and overly controlled.

There are also some delightful surprises. We don’t often see, for example, Abby Shahn and Fang exhibiting together. Yet here we are treated to Fang’s wildly imaginative, decidedly nutty assemblages of found objects, which hang next to Shahn’s enigmatic acrylic works on panel. I’m not sure what Shahn’s are about, but their titles, “Eshu Coming” and “Eshu Going,” incorporate the name of an Orisha deity who keeps order. This, combined with the cluttered home this eccentric couple keeps in Solon – which has been cobbled together with no apparent order from odd flotsam and jetsam – made me wonder if these paintings were a mischievous nose-thumbing at Eshu or something occult, such as Wiccan pentagrams.

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