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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: September 16, 2015

Yarmouth celebrates one of its own, the late painter Alfred Chadbourn

Written by: Bob Keyes

One of the things outsiders often hear about Yarmouth is that it’s a great place to live because residents care deeply about the town and make efforts to improve it for the greater good.

Beginning this week, that sense of community will present itself in a six-week townwide art exhibition that focuses on the work of the late painter Alfred Chadbourn. But this is more than an exhibition of paintings by a one-time resident. It’s a celebration of community, and one artist’s pride in his community.

Yarmouth is full of artists, said painter Margaret Lawrence, who is helping to coordinate the Chadbourn celebration. “It’s an arts-dense community. A lot of artists live here. It’s about celebrating just that and showing how the arts connect people, embrace people and pull people together.”

The centerpiece of the Chadbourn celebration is an exhibition of a dozen or so of his paintings, including many that he made in town, at Merrill Memorial Library, on view through Oct. 31. The Yarmouth History Center also is showing his work, and 317 Main Community Music Center will show a collection of plein air paintings by other artists inspired by Chadbourn’s practice, beginning Friday.

And there’s more.

On Saturday, Yarmouth Arts will lead a walking tour of town sites where Chadbourn liked to paint, and the current owner of the home where Chadbourn lived will open the barn where the artist had his studio. Firehouse Arts Center will host a youth painting workshop inspired by Chadbourn’s work.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, art critic Edgar Allen Beem talks about Chadbourn at Merrill library.

Chadbourn also was an accomplished chef, and on Wednesday and Thursday, Gather restaurant will feature his favorite recipes on its menu, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Yarmouth Arts. And finally, on Sept. 26-27, the Bickford Education Center will host the making of a community portrait of Chadbourn, with painters of all ages and abilities encouraged to lend a brush.

The idea stemmed from the success of a Chadbourn exhibition earlier this summer at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. It was the first time a museum had taken a close look at his work. A member of Yarmouth Arts read about the Chadbourn show in Ogunquit and thought, “Why not do a Chadbourn show in Yarmouth? This is where he lived and painted,” Lawrence said.

The group quickly rounded up mostly local paintings for the exhibition and began adding other events to complement the exhibition.

“It was a great idea that took on a life of its own,” Lawrence said. “It’s helped us focus on the town, the community and the importance of art in our community. It’s about honoring someone who lived in our town for quite a few years, and he was quite a character and quite a presence town.”

Chadbourn moved to Yarmouth in the early 1970s and lived here until his death in 1988. In addition to being a good painter, Chadbourn also was an educator and writer. He taught across Maine and published two instruction books about painting. He also was a member of the National Academy.

Linda Horstmann, co-chairman of Yarmouth Arts, said the Chadbourn celebration represents another opportunity for the town to celebrate its artistic legacy. “I’m hoping this brings more awareness of what Yarmouth has to offer in the way of arts,” she said.

Alfred Chadbourn events

EXHIBITIONS:

Merrill Memorial Library, 215 Main St., through Oct. 31. Reception 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.

Yarmouth History Center, 118 E. Elm St., through Oct. 31.

317 Main Community Music Center, 317 Main St., 25 plein air painters, opens Friday, through Oct. 31. Reception 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 2

EVENTS:

Walking tour of where Chadbourn lived and painted, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. Meet at Latchstring Park; reservations required, 207-846-6259

Youth Painting Workshop, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Firehouse Arts, 20 Center St.; reservations required; firehousearts.org

“The Life and Art of Alfred Chadbourn” by Edgar Allen Beem, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Merrill Memorial Library

Chadbourn Favorite Recipe Special, Gather restaurant, 189 Main St., dinner on Wednesday and Sept. 24; reservations required for 6 or more, 207-847-3250

Community portrait, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27, Bickford Educational Center, 48 Railroad Square; reservations requires, sbickford@tidewater.net

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