Proposals for Bayside Trail Benches on Exhibit at PPL; Opening Reception 9/23 – Public’s Feedback Sought!

Jan Piribeck, Rachael Weyand and Melissa Cilley at the Lewis Gallery

By Carol McCracken (Post # 587)

The public is invited to attend the opening reception of an exhibit of 16 design proposals for public seating along the new Bayside Trail. The reception is on Thursday, September 23 between 4 – 6 pm at the Lewis Gallery of the Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square. The show will be up until September 30th.

An important aspect of this opening reception is that it will provide an opportunity for the public to view the exhibits and then give feedback on their favorites and why they appeal to them. A nation-wide search in July asked artists to incorporate themes including history of the area, diversity of the neighborhood, immigration and human rights, the proposed Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, sustainabiality, and connections to the sea and Back Cove in the design of the seating benches.

Rachael Weyand, consultant on the project, hung the exhibits with assistance from two volunteers. There is a “comment box” in which the public can put their thoughts on the exhibits. According to Weyand, members of the Commissioning Panel of the Portland Public Art Committee will be present to answer questions and listen to the public’s feedback. Two members of that Panel were present assisting Weyand in the hanging. Melissa Cilley, an attorney, said there are 8 members on the Panel and they are from a diverse background. Another Panel member present was Jan Piribeck, head of the art department at USM, Portland. Piribeck said that people had already been in looking at the exhibit this morning. The Lewis Gallery was chosen because it’s a public gallery, maintains long hours, is centrally located and well staffed.

Of the 16 exhibitors for the show, six were from Maine. They are: CR Gray Stonegraver, Hiram; Isabelle Pelissier, Bowdoinham; Randy Sloan, Windham; Daniel M. Ceretta, South Portland; Soren deNiord, Portland; and TFH Architects, Portland. The remaining 10 applicants were from out-of-state: FL, AZ, MA. MN, CA, RI, NH, NJ, VT, WA.

The successful artist will be notified in October, city council approval is expected in December with installation and dedication coming next spring. Timelines are subject to change.

For more information, please see Post # 567, dated August 31st.