Maine trails will be getting a little artistic touch soon, with the return of Portland Museum of Art’s “Art Outside.”
The program was a success last summer. L.L.Bean, the Maine Department of Agriculture, the Conservation and Forestry Bureau of Parks and Land, and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens all collaborated with the museum to place reproductions of famous paintings from their collection in parks all around Maine.
The program, fully called “Art Outside and On the Trail,” is meant to encourage attendees of the Portland Museum of Art to get outside, and to bring park-goers into the museum. For both groups of people, it’s sort of an Easter egg hunt – find their favorite paintings out in the wild, or come to see the original of the painting they spotted on their favorite Maine trails.
To add an element of participation, the museum has made a booklet full of activities, quizzes, and prompts about each park. The booklet can be picked up at the Portland Museum of Art by anyone of any age, and contains prompts such as, “Could you put together a playlist inspired by artwork?” or “Do a drawing of something you saw today.” Since the questions are interpretive, the museum is not concerned with people trying to cheat the system. Turning in a completed booklet to the museum wins a free one-year museum membership.
Paintings will be going up in Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Crescent Beach State Park, Ferry Beach State Park, and Range Pond State Park. Museum staff visited each location, to make a choice of what painting would go where. In a few cases, park rangers has specific requests.
“People love having an excuse to get out there and try new things, see new places they haven’t been yet,” Barton said.
Because of the continued positive feedback, the museum and Maine trails will definitely continue the program in summers to come, according to Hayley Barton, marketing manager at the museum.
This summer, the museum is collecting booklets until Oct. 29.