In five years’ time, the 10×10 art show and sale has become the primo art event of the year in Brunswick.

The show, which features about 300 works of art priced at $200, benefits the local nonprofit organization Arts Are Elementary, which provides artist-in-residence experiences to all Brunswick students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

This year’s show and sale, set for Friday night, likely will be the biggest yet.

Organizers recruited some of the best-known contemporary artists working in Maine to contribute work to the show: John Bisbee, Katherine Bradford, David Cedrone, Rebecca Goodale, Dahlov Ipcar, Sally Loughridge, Jerry Day Mason, Andrea Sulzer, Mark Wethli and Henry Wolyniec.

Many of these artists got involved with Arts Are Elementary as an artist-in-residence. Their work will be auctioned off at the show.

In all, the show features work by about 175 artists.

This year’s show and sale will be open for preview from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from noon to 3 p.m. Friday. The artwork is also available for preview online at 10x10brunswick.org.

The show and sale is in side-by-side venues, at the Morrell Meeting Room of Curtis Memorial Library and the Parish Hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, at 23 and 27 Pleasant St., respectively. Both sites are connected by a garden, making it easy for buyers to walk between the display areas.

Artists whose last name begins with letters “A” though “H” will show at Curtis; artists “I” through “Z” will show at the church.

The show has never been more popular, said Lucy Cooney, one of the organizers. “We have to turn artists away. The first year, we put out a call for artists everywhere. We had no idea what to expect. But we had to turn people away,” she said. “It’s been popular from the start.”

It’s popular because it’s a great way for people to buy original art at a reasonable price. All the work fits into a 10-by-10-inch frame, and all is priced at $200 — except the auction items, for which there is no price ceiling. If a piece sells, the artist receives $100, and Arts Are Elementary receives the other $100.

Arts Are Elementary has a budget of about $40,000. About a quarter of that money is generated through this sale, said Cooney.

The event itself creates quite a scene. Buyers have learned to scout their targets ahead of time, either online or at the previews. By 4 p.m., lines begin forming. When doors open, there’s a rush to find a desired piece.

Buyers stand by their chosen piece and raise they arm, signaling a sale. About half the work is sold within 15 minutes, Cooney said.

This year, the auction art will be displayed on easels. Minimum bids start at $200, and will increase by increments of $25. Bidding on the auction items begins Thursday.

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

bkeyes@pressherald.com

Twitter: pphbkeyes