Portland arts venue Space hosted its first fundraising party back from the pandemic, an Endless Summer benefit bash Sept. 22 at Greenwood Garden, home of the Peaks Island Lions Club.

“Space used to host our fundraisers on Little Diamond Island when we first purchased our building, and it felt important to get back to our fundraising roots and throw an island party again,” said Executive Director Kelsey Halliday Johnson.

Endless Summer was a multisensory dance party, with deejays Liz Rhaney and Benjamin Spalding spinning everything from tribal beats to outer space sounds while photos by Ryan Marshall were projected. It was also an island yard party with “good libations” under the stars and the lights of the Portland cityscape in the distance.

“To be able to include a wide variety of creative perspectives created a really exciting atmosphere,” said Development Coordinator Meg Hahn.

The 250 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from Bread & Friends, baked goods from Dear Dairy, and other thoughtfully curated and arranged flavors from more than a dozen in-kind food and drink sponsors.

“Portland really is about the senses,” said Johnson, who made a sumac-ade from foraged staghorn sumacs and a nasturtium mignonette for the Maine Ocean Farms oysters.


Artistic touches were everywhere, including a beach picnic banner by artist Jenny Ibsen and a bespoke event poem on the Green Gardens entrance sign by Alana Dao and meg willing of A Clearing.

With 17 corporate sponsors and 40 host committee members, the event raised $9,000 for Space programming, even with individual tickets priced at $25. The programming is extensive – 65 music events, 50 films and 17 exhibitions in 2022. In addition, Space has 31 tenant artists, with an impressive range of practices, including drawing, painting, textiles and sculpture.

“Space has become a center of my community and my practice,” said printmaker Pilar Nadal, a Space tenant who makes posters, zines and creative pieces.

Likewise, performance artist Sara Juli of Falmouth said, “Space has been a testing ground for me to try out new pieces. I workshopped on my dance play ‘Naughty Bits’ at Space, which allowed me to develop the work and get audience feedback to discover what needed development.”

In 2022 alone, Space granted $166,000 to Maine artists with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts Regional Regranting Program.

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

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