December 18, 2021

Popular Maine artist opens first gallery to help revitalize downtown Gardiner

This post was originally written and posted by WMTW Channel 8 News, you can view the original article here.

A popular Maine artist has opened his first gallery as part of an effort to revitalize downtown Gardiner.

"It's a dream come true. In the end, I want people to see the art as they would in their home,” artist Alan Claude said.

He documented the two-year renovation project to create his gallery. It is helping to transform a once blighted part of Water Street into a thriving, inviting section of the city.

"When we first got the chance to acquire these buildings, the unwritten promise was to bring the arts and to bring technology too,” Claude said.

Gardiner Mayor Pat Hart has witnessed the rejuvenation of the block of Water Street. A new restaurant and brewery have recently moved in.

Hart said Claude’s interest in Gardiner is a dream come true as well.

"He's the face of Maine. When you think of Maine and see these paintings, it's Alan behind it, and we're delighted that he chose us here. He's a very community-minded fellow,” Claude said.

Claude said he chose Gardiner for his gallery for a number of reasons, including the buildings, which date back to the 1800s.

"Architecturally, it's more interesting than a mall, like a blank strip mall, you know. I think it's about respecting the past and moving forward with the future,” Claude said.

Claude said downtown Gardiner is an ideal location to work due to its close proximity to the Kennebec River.

"If I have an art block, I can just stick my neck out on the deck and just overlook the view and refresh and regroup, so it’s very inspirational here, that's the whole point,” Claude said.