It seemed like such a shame to have all this nice art and not encourage anyone to see it.

When it became a sponsor of Portland’s First Friday Art Walk, KeyBank began paying more attention to its own collection of fine art. It spiffed up its Monument Square branch by hanging more art from its collection and rotating the selections to keep it fresh. On the first Friday of each month, the bank keeps its lobby open late and encourages people to stop in for a visit.

“The bank has been involved with art for a long time, but this is the first time we’ve gotten involved with the First Friday Art Walk,” said Bob Cote, the bank’s facilities manager. “It’s the right thing for us to do. The bank is delighted to have people come in so we can show them what we have.”

The bank also hires musicians and performers, and hosts a small reception. “We rotate the art. We try to keep it fresh, so if you’ve been here one month you won’t see the same thing next month,” Cote said.

On view in September are paintings by Stuart Ross, Robert Solotaire, DeWitt Hardy, William Manning, John Laurent, William Kienbusch and others.

When Cote noticed a recent newspaper story about a John Hultberg exhibition at Monhegan, he pulled out one of KeyBank’s Hultberg’s and hung it in the lobby.

At its community branches, the bank tries to hang art by artists who live there or nearby. In Freeport, for instance, KeyBank tries to feature work by resident Tom Crotty. In Bath, the bank pays special attention to its work by Dahlov Ipcar. David Clough gets special attention in Falmouth and Cumberland.

On permanent display at the Monument Square branch is a monumental wood relief by the late Bernard Langlais. Measuring 20 feet across, Langlais’ “Portland” hangs above the teller station, offering customers the artist’s exaggerated birds-eye view of the city of Portland.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

bkeyes@pressherald.com

Twitter: pphbkeyes