The Portland Museum of Art welcomed its Director’s Circle and Contemporaries supporters Feb. 9 for a 350-person heart-themed Winter Bash, coinciding with the museum’s “Art is the heart” capital campaign and the Valentine’s holiday.

Guests posed in a heart-shaped photo booth by A Family Affair Maine and sipped cocktails with names like Heart of Gold and Art’s Desire, with recipe cards courtesy of Batson River Brewing. Hearts were everywhere, from complementary Valentine’s cards to chocolate samplers (from Dean’s Sweets) to temporary tattoos (designed by artists Rebeka Chase, Ethan Bennett and Myles Kimball).

“American traditional tattoo is a type of pure folk art,” said Kimball, who is also an abstract expressionist and surrealist painter.

The talk of the evening was the new folk art exhibit, “American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Collection,” which is on view until May 7. The more than 70 creative works from the American Folk Art Museum in New York, such as quilts, embroidery, pottery, painting and sculpture, represent the diverse experience of Americans.

“It’s Americana, focused on self-taught artists,” said Lane Brenner, the museum’s director of major gifts. “Self-taught art can be fine art – this is being redefined in the art world. It’s important for artists to see themselves potentially on these walls.”

“I love that that this museum shows so many types of art, including folk art,” said Megan Hannan of Bath.

“I appreciate being part of a community that prioritizes the arts,” said Courtney McKenna-Holub of Portland. “Being able to be part of this community at the Contemporaries level is accessible.”

A Contemporaries membership is $300 per year and includes invitations for two people to exhibit openings, members-only PMA collection tours and the Winter Bash and Summer Party.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at amyparadysz@gmail.com.


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