Nearly 200 guests filled the Selma Wolf Black Great Hall at the Portland Museum of Art for its Director’s Circle and Contemporaries Holiday Open House on Tuesday.

“It’s a festive way to kick off the holiday season with the museum’s leadership and some of our closest supporters,” said Liz Cartland, the museum’s director of development. “This is a great way for us to say thank you for their leadership and advocacy for the arts here in Maine and beyond.”

Members of the museum’s Contemporaries mixed and mingled with its Director’s Circle, and many perused the PMA store, which was decked out in its holiday finest.

“One of my favorite things is working with all of our local Maine makers,” said Sally Struever, director of the museum store. “Discovering and supporting talent, and seeing their businesses grow is really pretty cool.”

Portland friends Kate Malin, Beba Cabot and Portia Clark greeted each other with warm holiday cheer, while Betsy Evans Hunt of Cape Elizabeth reveled in the festivities with Trish O’Carroll of Falmouth.

Dancers from Alison Chase/Performance moved throughout the gathering, adding an unexpected and dramatic touch.

“I think the kind of vibe we have at the museum kind of matches the city of Portland right now,” said Alec Porteous, a member of the Contemporaries steering committee and the museum’s development committee, surveying the scene. “I’ve found such a level of enthusiasm for the museum, and it’s so rewarding to watch the museum grow. Mark’s (Bessire) a great leader, and it’s always been a great museum, but it’s getting better every day.”

“We’re so lucky to live in a town like Portland,” said Connie Batson of Falmouth, echoing his sentiments. She was joined by friends Sharyn Howell of South Portland and Mary Ellen Coles of Cape Elizabeth. “It’s small enough so that if you want to get involved, you really can make a difference.”

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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