Sometimes in life, you bite off more than you can chew. Other times, you unhinge your jaw and it all falls into place.
Strange metaphor? Yeah. But it feels accurate given what MITA, Mariah Reading, and some incredibly wonderful and generous partners were able to pull off in the name of art and island stewardship last Thursday night in Portland.
To kick-off the 18-day run of WASTE WATER, a collaborative art show between MITA and renowned eco-artist Mariah Reading at Casco Bay Artisans, we decided to throw a big shindig on the Portland waterfront. Given just how remarkable Mariah’s work is, we knew that we couldn’t just settle for just a standard gallery opening… this night had to be extra special.
What if we threw a party in two different venues simultaneously? *MITA staff gets up and walks out*
“No, really, hear us out!” we said… to each other. Casco Bay Artisans is a beautiful gallery that is right on The Maine Wharf, just down the hill from the U.S. Custom House and a literal stone’s throw from the water. Around the corner and up the stairs from Casco Bay Artisans is the incredible New England Ocean Cluster headquarters known as The Hús. Running nearly the entire length of the Maine Wharf with spectacular views of Portland’s working waterfront below, we felt that we just had to find a way to expand the WASTE WATER celebration to include this magnificent venue as well.
Thankfully, New England Ocean Cluster could see our vision as clearly as we could, and agreed to donate The Hús for the evening! With the venues secured, we then had to strategize how to use both effectively. Mariah’s art, of course, would be in the gallery. So, that was the easy part. But how would we drive people upstairs to expand the celebration?
Well, this is Maine. We used seafood. Mussels from Bangs Island Mussels and oysters from Love Point Oysters and Maine Oyster Company to be precise. Add a few cases of Maine Island Trail Ale from Rising Tide Brewing and you’ve got yourself a party! We love that our partners show up for events and support us the way they do. It’s really amazing.
So, with the artwork installed, the oysters shucked, and the beer on ice… YOU SHOWED UP! We had a HUGE turnout for the opening, and we made full use of both venues in a blowout celebration of art, stewardship, and shared love of place.
Even if you missed the party, you’ve still got plenty of time to catch WASTE WATER! It’ll be up through April 16. You won’t get free oysters and beer, but we definitely encourage you to swing by Casco Bay Artisans the next time you’re in Portland and check it out. If you find yourself so inspired that you decide to purchase a piece, know that a portion of the proceeds will go to support MITA and our diverse range of programming.
Below are some pics of the fun that was had. We can’t wait to see you at the next MITA event!