Visit MaineToday's profile on Pinterest.

About The Author


Heather Steeves

Heather Steeves tries to do things that are fun -- and only things that are fun. So far that's included stilt walking, roller derby and cross-country road trips in her Saturn.

Send an email | Read more from Heather

Posted: November 5, 2014

4 things to see at November’s art walk: chickens, DIY art and a new sculpture for Congress Street

Written by: Heather Steeves
Come November and the humble, fat turkey takes his perch on the throne — king of the bird kingdom for a month. Portland’s First Friday Art Walk is rebelling. Down with the turkeys, in with the chickens! And puffins! And penguins that look like dinosaurs! November’s art walk is for the birds. Also, Portland Museum of Art will unveil its new addition: an 8-foot-tall steel sculpture of the numeral 7 that will sit in Congress Square … for pigeons to perch on.

Photos by various artists, courtesy of YES Art Works. Art by Tina Whitmore, Rusty Beasley and Michelle Badger.


“Made From Scratch” by YES Art Works | Oak Street Lofts, 72 Oak St. |

Chickens are silly. That, in part, is why artists with YES Art Works picked them as their muses for this show. In case you don’t know, YES Art Works is a not-for-profit in Portland, Saco and Auburn that provides studio time and art materials to people with disabilities. Those artists can elect to sell their art work and earn half of the sales price, while the not-for-profit keeps the rest for their art program costs. Prices range from $25 to $150.

The art show at Oak Street Lofts will feature ceramic chickens, hen T-shirts, embroidered roosters, poultry paintings, greeting cards and sculptures. The opening is during Art Walk, so they’ll also serve a virgin cocktail — “The Cluck.”

YES Art Works program manager Mary Jo Marquis said they were sketching chickens when one of the artists said,”Ain’t nobody here but us chickens,” which inspired the other artists to keep on with the theme.

More birds

The Exquisite Bird | Photos by Michael Milicia | 616 Congress St. 

Chickens may be funny and fluffy, but puffins are precocious, penguins are plucky and plovers are precious. Michael Milicia, of Massachusetts, travels the world capturing these birds. The photos are crystal sharp shots of rare birds. A close-up shot of a rock hopper penguin makes it look like a dinosaur, its wet feathers are scaly and its red eye menacing. You can count the fish in the beak of a puffin in flight in one of his photos. Anyone who’s ever been on a birding cruise knows how difficult it is to capture the soda-can sized bird, never mind in such great detail. Milicia will show birds from around the world, plus a few from New England. He’s been published in National Geographic.

Robert Colburn, Angela Waldron, and Bethany Engstrom wheel one of the five letter disks that make up the the 6,000 pound EAT sculpture by Robert Indiana down Elm St. in Rockland past the Farnsworth Art Museum back in 2009.

Robert Colburn, Angela Waldron, and Bethany Engstrom wheel one of the five letter disks that make up the the 6,000 pound EAT sculpture by Robert Indiana down Elm St. in Rockland past the Farnsworth Art Museum back in 2009.


5:30 p.m. unveiling of a Robert Indiana sculpture | Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square 

Congress Street could use a pop of art. It’s getting one Friday — actually, it’s getting “7.” Maine’s own pop artist Robert Indiana designed ten 8-foot-tall metal sculptures, one of each numeral zero through nine. Portland Museum of Art purchased the numeral seven, which happens to be the museum’s address. The large steel sculpture will be unveiled in front of the museum, its new home.

According to the museum, Indiana designed the set of sculptures in 1980, but the eight-foot-tall pieces were too expensive to produce. A foundation worked with the artist in the mid-1990s to make the works a reality and the Portland museum bought one this year.

The massive, steel “7” will remain outside the museum permanently.

shutterstock_88710847Do it yourself.

Waynflete School Gallery, 360 Spring St. |

Want to see some cool art? Make some.

The Waynflete School’s students have begun some art projects, but they’re asking community members to add to them. One of the projects is about flight. So, make your own bird.


Other shows worth checking out:

THE PULPS: Last month I told you about the library’s new exhibit of pulp book and magazine covers. You really should check it out: the colors are brights and some the characters are sinister.

YOUR LIFE, ON STAGE: The improv troupe Portland Playback Theater will ask audience members to tell them a true story, then the actors will immediately re-enact the real-life story on stage. $7 at the Community Television Network at 516 Congress St.

WHOLESOME HABITATIONS: The Maine Historical Society collected a bunch of old architectural drawings. They’re at 489 Congress St.

WHIMSICAL MAINE: Kristine Biegel painted Maine scenes that are bright and look like they could be in a children’s book. Her show is at Maine Charitable Mechanic Association, 519 Congress St. Here’s one of them:

By Kristine Biegel

By Kristine Biegel



Up Next: