WESTBROOK – Andy Curran admits, even he was a bit surprised when he saw the scope and quality of the artwork at the Saccarappa Art Collective.

The idea was to end the year with a group show, featuring not only the work of the cooperative’s member artists, who number seven strong, but also nine guest artists who have shown at the Main Street gallery since late 2012.

“One at a time, we’ve enjoyed every single show. Every show has been quite exciting to be a part of,” said Curran, who directs the co-op. “But to pull them all together in a group show and step back and take a look, it has been impressive. We’ve hosted some really strong shows, and I think this group show confirms that by bringing everybody together for a big, end-of-year celebration.”

“Deck the Walls,” on view at the Westbrook gallery through Jan. 18, makes the case that the Westbrook co-op has emerged as one of the better fine-art galleries in greater Portland in its year-plus of existence.

Curran founded the co-op on the premise that a group of artists achieves more working together than if each artist works alone. Membership has been mostly stable, and now includes seven mid-career artists.

They are diverse in style, and each has different ideas about taste and aesthetic. They are unified by a serious approach to their work and a desire to exhibit and sell their work.

“It’s very exciting, challenging and satisfying,” Curran said. “We play well together. We show well together.”

In addition to Curran, member artists are Mary Brooking, Jim Flahaven, Tanya Fletcher, Caren-Marie Michel, Frank Valliere and Julie Vohs.

In addition to showing their own work on a continuing basis, the co-op artists invite guest artists to show with them with each new exhibition.

Since the co-op opened in September 2012, there have been 11 shows, and two of those were group shows. That leaves nine shows with guest artists, which account for the nine guest artists showing in “Deck the Walls.”

They are Charles Thompson, Philip Carlo Paratore, Barbara Brady, Susan Wilder, Nathaniel Meyer, Jonathan Mess, Susan Orfant, Tanja Kunz and Dorette Amell.

In all, the Saccarappa is showing about 75 pieces of art, both two- and three-dimensional. Each artist has room for a half-dozen or so pieces.

“It’s a beautiful show, and I wish everybody could see it,” said Curran. “I think it’s the strongest show we’ve hung yet.”

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

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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