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May 30, 2018

Harlow Gallery's move means more space for artists, art

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
Deb Fahy, executive director of Hallowell's Harlow Gallery, is thrilled there is room for a craft shop, displaying the work of Maine artists, in its new space at 100 Water St.

HALLOWELL — Downtown Hallowell mainstay Harlow Gallery is doing great in its new space, despite the fact the last few months weren't the greatest time for a move on Hallowell's Water Street, Deb Fahy, executive director, said.

The gallery, which not only has exhibitions, also now has room for a craft shop, workspace and and office in 2,500 square feet of leased space at 100 Water St. The gallery signed a 10-year lease with option for renewal with owners Geoff Houghton and Kevin Mattson.

The gallery was founded in 1963 and is run by the Kennebec Valley Arts Association. It sold its building at 160 Water St. last month, and moved from 800 square feet of space.

The move came as the city's main street is undergoing a major upgrade that will last into October, but Fahy said people are still finding the gallery, which is at the north end of Water Street at the intersection of Winthrop and next to Granite Park.

The gallery takes up two floors of the building and has an office — at its last home, a closet was repurposed for that use — large exhibition space, a workshop room downstair, a multimedia room and a craft store that sells goods made by Maine artists who are members of the KVAA.

Homasote walls make it easy to hang art without the damage it can do to plaster walls or sheet rock.

It's a big change from the one room the gallery was in before.

"We had so much potential, but were limited [in the old space]," Fahy said. "Now we're serving many more artists, people can come in and try things.

'A place to create, view art'

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
Water Street construction hasn't kept artists and art lovers from the Harlow Gallery's new space in Hallowell.

The next project for the gallery is to add wheelchair accessibility to the 160-year-old building, including a lift from the first to the second floor, which is expected to cost between $20,000 to $30,000. An Indiegogo campaign with a goal of $10,000 is planned as much to raise awareness as to raise money, Fahy said.

"We want to make sure people can come and view art, can take a class if they want to," she said. "The money isn't what's driving the crowd sourcing, it's more that if we're the place to view art, and create art, we want people to be able to come in and do that."

Accessibility plans also include making the granite step into the gallery more accessible, but that will have to wait until after the Water Street project is finished, because it includes raising the height of the street.

"If when they redo the sidewalks the accessibility of the entrance is not resolved, that will be an additional top priority item to address," she said.

It will also include providing access to the lower level workshop and exhibition space in the space, which is two floors, but split by a lobby on its own level.

She said the solution to that access is still to determined, but would possible be a long ramp or a stair chair.

"Either way, it's another $3,000 to $5,000," she said.

Exhibitions planned for the new space include those that are part of the effort to bring art to the general public, and let people know what the gallery has to offer.

For instance, the "Dog Days" exhibition in July will include art of dogs, and for dogs to enjoy and will be hung at dog-eye level. A two-person exhibition featuring artists Natasha Mayers and Kenny Cole, "Men in Suits/Men in Trouble," opens June 8; and local artist Bruce Mayo will be featured for the month of August.

The gallery is also asking artists to create art on and inspired by the Kennebec River Rail Trail, which will be featured in September.

The new space makes much of that possible. "It's a dedicated way to support artists in a new way," Fahy said.

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