Amy Goodness loves to make art without rules – freely, expressively, no holding back.

As the sun shines through the big windows of her studio in what once was a textile mill, she paints away to music, limited only by the size of her canvas.

“I was just always making things as a kid as young as I can remember. Just making things, and I haven’t stopped,” she says. “Art was my favorite class from elementary school on.”

Why not offer that experience to future artists?

Five years ago, the graduate of Thornton Academy and the Maine College of Art & Design opened Mill Studio Arts on the Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford. She soon began welcoming children in.

“I was working here a lot, just doing my own thing. It gets kind of lonely being an artist just working on your own. And I like people and energy,” she said. “So I started doing weekend or summer lessons with kiddos.”


Amy Goodness instructs a class full of students on the finer points of gelatin printing during class at Mill Studio Arts. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

In them, she sees her young self – and taps into her youthful abandon.

“I love the freedom that I have teaching art the way I want to teach art. If you just give kids supplies, they just go for it and have fun and push it and make a mess and do things you’re not expecting.” Goodness said. “The work that I’m working on now is totally inspired by working with kids and the joy and the freedom and the process that I get to watch kids go through.”

Amy Goodness teaches class at Mill Studio Arts in June. Looking on are students, from left: Evelyn Morgan 10, of Saco; Ella Bell 10, of Kennebunk; Sawyer Harmon 7, of Sanford; and Izzy Graczyk, 10, of Kennebunk. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Goodness, 41, of Saco, now offers classes daily, with the help of a team of teachers. The studio’s programs are designed to engage the hands as well as the creative minds of children age 3 to 15.

A student gets their hands covered in paint as they work on a gelatin art project at Mill Studio Arts in Biddeford in June. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

On a recent morning, the once quiet studio began to fill with the sounds of laughter and scurrying feet as students put on their aprons and grabbed their supplies.

“Working in the studio fills one kind of need, but I don’t need so much of that,” Goodness said. “When I show up here and the kids come in, they run in and they just get to work, and this is their space, and they throw their aprons on and dig into the paint. It is joy. You can feel the energy in the room, and it’s so fun. I feel like that just fills me up.”

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