Art returns to the park Saturday in South Portland

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Volunteer art enthusiasts are making ready for what one organizer called the city’s “signature event,” the annual Art in the Park.

The show will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mill Creek Park. It boasts 185 artists and photographers, eight food vendors, music, activities for kids and a wellness area dedicated to relaxation through massage, acupuncture and reflexology.

“We’ve really hit our stride on making sure there’s something for everyone,” said Mary Perry, a longtime volunteer and member of the organizing committee.

While there are no new activities planned for this year’s show, Perry said kids are in for a treat in the form of Windham-based children’s musician Rick Charette. The singer/songwriter has penned songs like “I Love Mud,” “Alligator in an Elevator” and “Sugar Sharks.”

Charette will perform as part of Kids in the Park, which also will include arts and crafts activities for children 12 and younger.

For older attendees, artists from all over the state will be on hand to show, and hopefully sell, their wares. Linda Eastman, chairwoman of Art in the Park, said the show features painters, printers, illustrators and photographers in all styles. There also will be a tent dedicated to showcasing art from South Portland students.

Those artists who choose to will compete in a judged, cash-award competition. Artists will enter one piece to be judged by Kris Kenow, a Portland artist, and Patrice Rossi Calkin, a designer and illustrator from South Portland.

One prize of $800 will be awarded to “Best In Show,” while second, third and fourth places will win $600, $500, and $400 respectively. A $500 prize also will be awarded to the best photo.

In the afternoon, New Gloucester guitarist Jim Gallant will serenade show-goers from the gazebo.

Art in the Park is funded by artists’ fees and donations from sponsors. All committee members are volunteers, as are almost all show-day workers. Profits are used for improvements to Mill Creek Park, and have in the past included the gazebo, the fountain, a contribution toward holiday lighting, a $500 contribution to the city’s Greenbelt Walkway and $1,000 toward the plaque for Arvin “Ge” Erskine Park.

Art in the Park also awards an annual $1,000 scholarship to a South Portland High School senior planning to study art in college.

For more information about Art in the Park, visit the event’s website at

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow Mario on Twitter: @riocarmine.