Anna McDougal, an artist at Spindleworks in Brunswick, stands beside a giant tree constructed for the group’s annual Mystery House exhibit.

BRUNSWICK — Stepping behind the green curtain and into the Mystery House exhibit at Spindleworks is like stepping directly into the jungle. 

The visitor is immediately surrounded by a riot of green, with flowers, animals and leaves of all shades and textures on the walls, jungle sounds playing from the speaker. In the center stands a large tree, its hollowed-out center glittering like the evening sky. 

The handmade “Jungle Expedition” mystery house is Spindleworks’ third annual immersive, interactive art experience. The exhibit opened Halloween night and will remain open throughout November. 

Spindleworks is a nonprofit arts center for adults with disabilities and a program of the Independence Association whose mission is to help people with disabilities lead fulfilling lives. Part of its mission is to encourage its members in art in all its forms, from painting and fabric arts to acting.

Artists spent the better part of a month building the room using paper mache, woodworking, drawing, sewing, tissue paper and more. All the animation and sound effects were also created by the artists. 

“We wanted people to know what we do,” said artist Anna McDougal. “We do everything.” 


Last year’s Mystery House had a space odyssey theme, and the first year was based on “the missing Banks family and what happened to them one strange night,” according to the Spindleworks website. The idea came after one of the artists visited another immersive exhibit on vacation and asked if they could try it at Spindleworks, said Brooke Adams, an artist mentor. 

“These are working artists and this is a public gallery,” she said, so people should stop by. The gallery is hosting open-studio days on Saturday, Nov. 16 and Nov. 23.

“There’s something really magical about us,” she said.

“We built it as a family,” McDougal added. 

Spindleworks is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located at 7 Lincoln St. 

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