Artist Ryan Adams painted the mural on the wall of the Arabic Market in Vallee Square. His work depicts widely known Westbrook women Pat Gallant Charette, left, and Zoe Sahloul. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Portland artist Ryan Adams has finished painting his downtown Westbrook mural depicting a pair of celebrated local women. They are Zoe Sahloul, founder and president of the New England Arab American Organization based in Westbrook, and Pat Gallant Charette, the internationally-known, record-setting marathon swimmer.

The mural is prominently displayed on the Arabic Market near the Presumpscot River walk in Vallee Square. “The mural celebrates two outstanding individuals in our city,” Mayor David Morse said recently at a City Council meeting.

The mural stemmed from Adams’ paid 2024 artist-in-residence program at the University of Southern Maine. The models and store site all came about through social media outreaches to the community for recommendations.

Adams met with both Sahloul and Charette, spent time with each and took photos.

Adams’ wife, Rachel, assisted with producing the work, painting backgrounds, and they had a hand from an intern, Katie Riley, a university student.

Ryan Adams finishes his mural on a wall at Arabic Market in downtown Westbrook. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Their work was slowed because of some rainy, cool spring weather but Adams finished the work May 6 and was glad to have it wrapped up.



Adams has Westbrook ties. He was born in Westbrook and attended the former Prides Corner School until the second grade before going to Portland. He furthered his education at Emmanuel College in Boston. His wife is a Massachusetts native and studied at the Maine College of Art in Portland.

Kat Zagaria Buckley, director of USM art exhibitions and outreach, said the artist-in-residence program builds connections between the university and Gorham, Portland and Westbrook communities and each year one artist is selected from three invitations.

“Ryan submitted a proposal focused on his and Rachel Adams’ Piece Together project, which features individuals from the community honored in a mural,” Buckley said. “We were struck by how this project speaks to the very core mission of our residency program, providing an excellent opportunity not only for students to connect with community members through the selection process and the relation building needed to secure a wall, but also for our students to see a professional artist project from start to finish.”

Adams’ other work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States, according to his website, Some high profile clients have included Nike, Patagonia, Converse, Samsung, L.L.Bean, Google and the Newport Jazz Festival.

His Westbrook mural drew university praise. “We are thrilled with the mural and thank Ryan for his time, dedication and expertise as our 2024 University Art Gallery artist-in-residence,” Buckley said.

A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. June 5 at the mural, Morse said.

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