June Fitzpatrick, who has operated art galleries in Portland since the early 1990s, will close her Congress Street gallery in August, marking the third major change to the Portland gallery scene this summer.

On Monday, Peggy Golden announced she had sold Greenhut Galleries, Portland’s oldest gallery, to a couple from California. In June, Susan Maasch Fine Arts also closed.

Fitzpatrick is retiring. “I’m 78,” she said. “It’s probably time. It’s been an awfully good run.”

Maine College of Art owns the Fitzpatrick gallery space at 522 Congress St. and is considering its options, said Raffi Der Simonian, a MECA spokesman. “We are still in the process of establishing definitive plans, however it’s safe to say that it will be used to support our academic programs in light of record enrollment and the need for an expanded institutional footprint,” he said.

Fitzpatrick exhibits a range of contemporary art, including paintings, ceramics and other three-dimensional pieces. She is planning a farewell exhibition in August, a group show with longtime gallery artists.

She came to Maine from England in the 1960s and opened her first gallery in the early 1990s on High Street. She later expanded to Congress Street, operating two galleries for many years. She closed the High Street gallery in 2011.


Fitzpatrick, who lives in the West End, decided to retire now because it’s harder for a traditional art gallery to succeed today than just a few years ago. She tells aspiring gallery owners to keep six months’ rent on hand to carry through difficult times. Given the rising rents in Portland, she doubts that’s possible.

“Everything is different. Everything is changing,” she said. “We are in a poor way as far as the art economy is concerned. It was a big decision to make, but the timing just feels right.”

Fitzpatrick was among the inaugural participants in Portland’s First Friday Art Walk and the last of the original participants still active in the monthly art event.

While not unexpected, the gallery’s closing, coupled with the sale of Greenhut, shake Portland’s art foundation, said longtime collector and observer Bruce Brown. “The galleries that have been our chief presence for many years have disappeared,” he said. “Portland is going to have to renew itself.”

Here are reviews, with photos, of some shows at the gallery in recent years:





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