Dave Wade’s photograph of Burundi dancers at Thompson’s Point is one of the dozens of photographs that will be part of Cove Street Art’s upcoming Portland 2020 exhibit. Courtesy of Cove Street Arts

PORTLAND — One of the city’s newest art galleries is using a show of contemporary Portland photographs to celebrate Maine’s 200th anniversary of becoming a state.

On Feb. 6, Cove Street Arts, at 71 Cove St., will unveil Portland 2020, a show curated by Bruce Brown that features nearly 100 photographs taken by 60 photographers between 2017 and 2019 in Portland.

Tim Greenway’s “Resurgam” is part of Portland 2020, an exhibit at Cove Street Arts that will open next month. Courtesy of Cove Street Arts

“It seemed like a good opportunity to take a present look at what Portland is up to today and what makes Portland, Portland,” Brown said. “The idea of having a Portland photo exhibit within the context of Maine history seemed to be an interesting thing to do.”

The show, which will take up two of the Cove Street Arts galleries, features photographs of the working waterfront, city parks and recent construction, as well as photographs from iconic places such as the Custom House, West End mansions and fireworks over the Eastern Promenade, said John Banos, co-director of Cove Street Arts. All the photographs are showing for the first time.

“He’s done a wonderful job showcasing our multi-faceted city,” Banos said of Brown.

Cove Street Arts opened in June 2019 with 8,000 square feet of exhibition space across multiple galleries. It also has a bookstore/small works gallery and event and workshop space, along with two artist studios and space for video art installations and film screenings. It typically has three or four exhibitions operating at a time and focuses on contemporary Maine art, photography and sculpture for both well known and emerging artists, Banos said.

Brown, who has curated three previous shows at Cove Street Arts, said the Portland 2020 show allowed him to see work from a variety of photographers.

“One of the reasons I wanted to do the show is I am aware there are so many people out there who take pictures. Everyone takes pictures these days,” Brown said. “I figured having an open juried show would introduce me to a lot of new people. Of the 60 people in the show, there are 21 I have never met before.”

Brown, a Portland native, got his start in the Maine art scene in August 1987 when he became curator of Maine Coastal Artists in Rockport (now known as the Center for Maine Contemporary Art). Brown retired in 2006, but returned to curating in 2010. Most recently he worked as the curator at PhoPa Gallery, a joint venture with photographer Jon Edwards that closed in September 2018.

The Portland 2020 exhibit will feature several well known Portland sites, including this Woodfords Corner sign as captured by Knapp Hudson. Courtesy of Cove Street Arts

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