How Portland’s art gallery scene is changing

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Here’s what’s up.

What we’re talking about

Bob Keyes reports for the Portland Press Herald on the latest shakeups in the Portland art gallery scene. Last week, the news broke that Peggy Greenhut Golden’s gallery was changing hands. That came the same week that June Fitzpatrick announced she was retiring and closing her gallery.

A number of forces have driven the art gallery “churn” that Keyes describes. The owner of the now-defunct Exchange Street gallery told the the BDN’s own Kathleen Pierce back in 2014 that with the increasing amount of attention demanded by peoples’ smartphones, it’s hard “to get people to stand in front of artwork and buy it.”

And galleries would hardly be the first brick-and-mortar businesses to be disrupted by competition from the digital realm — even retail giants like Wal-Mart are feeling the pressure from Amazon. And, as Keyes suggests, the basics of how we view and consume art may be changing: Marketing is easier online and people seem more engaged by art that’s integrated into their environment, rather than hanging on a wall.

So what do you think? Is this just the normal cycle of businesses turning over? Or is the future of art on Instagram? — Jake Bleiberg


The owners of one of Portland’s hottest restaurants are turning an empty bakery into a pizza place — I literally drove past this joint yesterday and thought, “It’s only a matter of time before this becomes a hot new restaurant.” Sure enough, Kathleen Pierce today has the details on Chris and Paige Gould’s plans to turn the former Borealis Breads on Ocean Avenue into a pizza place. The couple owns Central Provisions on Fore Street, which is known for its small plates.

Diane Russell spoke at the DNC today —  Russell’s address, which started with a listing of her Sanders true-believer credentials, ended with a call for unity — part of an effort by Democrats to defuse Republican efforts to court Sanders supporters and further a narrative that the party’s establishment is corrupt. Mike Shepherd examines the Maine implications here

A first-person look inside the search for Geraldine Largay — Jim Bridge helped search for the hiker who went missing in 2013. He writes: After Largay’s body was discovered, I read and heard a lot of misinformation about what searchers should be able to do. I’d now like to make it clear what happened when we went looking for Largay, and how searchers do their jobs.”

A homeless veterans advocate was giving away “♥️ Portland Police” stickers today — It comes after local Black Lives Matter activists put the department in the spotlight as it protested recent shootings of black men by law enforcement.

(For more on Roger Goodoak, the founder of the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, read Seth Koenig’s piece from 2015.)

Big ideas

’Millennials Bring New Life to Some Rust Belt Cities’From Pew: “Population won’t rebound immediately, said Richey Piiparinen, who studies the Rust Belt at Cleveland State University, and likely will never return to the levels of 60 years ago, when manufacturing dominated employment. ‘But when you attract educated people with a knowledge economy, you’re restructuring and creating a magnet for other people to move in.’”

What it’s like being a police officer right now — The New York Times examines what lives are like for police officers around the country during a time of increased tension between law enforcement and some communities. (The Press Herald had a similar piece this weekend, which focused on Maine officers.)

“Policing in America today is a rib dinner paid for by a stranger, and a protester kicking a dent into your patrol car door. It’s warning a young man speeding down a country road to beware of errant deer, and searching through trash cans for a gun on the streets of a big city.

“It’s your 8-year-old daughter calling repeatedly to ask if you’re safe. It’s your mother wishing you could wear plainclothes again. And it’s a kiss and a goodbye that you promise won’t be your last.

“But it’s also watching a video in your Facebook feed when another officer shoots a black man — a therapist, hands raised, trying to help a client who is autistic; a young man stopped for a traffic violation; a man selling CDs. And it’s facing the protests that follow, which are prompting introspection and even more of an attitude of us-versus-them.”


Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.