PORTLAND – The newest art exhibition in Portland combines an artist’s eye with the hands of a city road crew.
“LINES Portland” opens today at City Hall. Katarina Weslien made a series of fine-art prints based on the road repair lines made by the city’s public works crews. The show, in the City Council Chambers Gallery on the second floor of City Hall, is part of the Art At Work initiative, designed to improve municipal government through strategic arts projects.
An opening reception is scheduled from 5 to 8 tonight. A panel discussion with Weslien, Art At Work director Marty Pottenger and members of the Public Services Department’s road repair crew — Gordie Greenlaw, Dave Melendez, Dave Shaw, Chris Nassa and Brian Cogill — will begin at 5:30 p.m.
“All too often we remain unaware of the work that city workers do, even though much of the work happens out in public. Hauling garbage, plowing snow, monitoring water, cleaning sidewalks, treating sewage, repairing roads — all quite visible to the eye — but not to the mind,” Pottenger said.
The unintentional beauty of the road repair crew’s labor has inspired Weslien to incorporate the designs into her prints.
As part of the exhibition, residents are encouraged to take photos of road repair lines that they like in their neighborhoods and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with short stories about things the city does that make a positive difference.
Photographs and stories will be posted online at www.lines.portlandmaine.gov and in the gallery.
“LINES Portland” is presented by Art At Work, a partnership between city of Portland and the nonprofit Terra Moto. The exhibition is funded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Maine Arts Commission, AFSCME Local 481, the Department of Public Services and the city of Portland.