SOUTH PORTLAND — The annual Art in the Park show returns for its 39th year Aug. 11 to promote artists of all ages. 

Traditionally held the second Saturday in August in Mill Creek Park, the show features original art and photography by 170 artists. In addition to the exhibits, eight vendors will staff a food court, there will be an activity area for kids, and music in the afternoon.

Admission is free. The show opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m.

Painter Rose Kennealy, of Cape Elizabeth, who teaches math at South Portland High Schools, said she has participated in the show for about 15 years, often alongside her husband, photographer Jack Kennealy. Jack, however, is not showing his photography this year. 

The pair allowed their artistic aspirations to take root when they moved to Maine. “We wanted to do what we wanted in the place we wanted,” Kennealy said. 

Kennealy works in oils and acrylics and has been moving from a realistic style to more abstract work, painting mostly on 3-by-3 and 6-by-6 canvases. Most of her work features landscapes with bold colors.

She said what sets Art in the Park apart is that it is well organized and advertised and in a beautiful venue. Also, all the artists produce and show excellent work. “It’s one of the biggest local shows where you can see all of your favorite artist friends, and (it) lets the public buy directly from them,” she said. 

Kennealy said the show in Mill Creek is special to her because she has shown her work alongside former teaching colleagues and students she’s taught. 

The youngest artist in the show is 11-year-old Lydia Weymouth from Buxton. She works in acrylics and her program name is “Lydia’s Enchanting Works.”

Event organizer Michele Howard said the event is so popular there was a waitlist this year for participating artists. The accepted work is comprised mostly of painting, drawing and photography, as well as some sculpture and ceramic artists. 

Howard said participants include local artists as well as people from up and down the Eastern seaboard. Each artist must have at least six pieces to exhibit. Howard said there is a wide range of art that is affordable, with pieces priced from $10 to $1,200. 

Prize winners are announced at noon at the gazebo, including Sponsors’ Choice selections. Prizes range from Best in Show to merit awards, and Best Photo. Prizes are also awarded to South Portland High School students whose art is exhibited in the Student Art Tent, open from 9 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

Maine-based singer/songwriter Pete Kilpatrick will perform from 1-3 p.m. at the gazebo. According to his biography, Kilpatrick has released seven albums and played more than 1,000 live performances with acts such as the Dave Matthews Band, Jason Mraz, Ray Lamontagne and Guster.

Kids can make their own artistic creations in the Kids in the Park area between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Face painting will also be offered, and all Kids in the Park activities are free.

The food court, located in the Broadway/Ocean Street corner of the park next to Kids in the Park, will feature a variety of food from hot dogs and ice cream to international cuisine.

Costs associated with the show are paid by fees charged to the artists and donations from sponsors. Revenues from the event are used for park improvements.

Past improvements have included the gazebo, the fountain, a contribution toward holiday lighting and to the city’s Greenbelt Walkway, and the redesign of the park itself. A new sound system was donated in 2013, according to city personnel.  

Art in the Park also awards a $1,000 scholarship every year to a student graduating from South Portland High School who plans to study art in college. 

Reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at  781-3661 ext. 106 or at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @JulietteLaaka

The 39th annual Art in the Park will take place Aug. 11 in South Portland’s Mill Creek Park. 

The 2018 Art in the Park will feature the work of 170 artists on Aug. 11 at Mill Creek in South Portland.