BLUE HILL—If you’re looking for a fun little road trip this summer no farther than an hour from the Midcoast, Fairwinds Florist, a shop in Blue Hill, is an artistic destination with a whimsical attraction. On the left side of the shop stands a vintage cigar machine. Instead of cigarettes, however, the glass partition for each knob reveals a tiny piece of art made by a local artist. For $15 you get a token to feed to the machine; the choice of artist is yours.
There’s a childlike feeling to tapping a coin in the slot, pulling the knob and watching a little white box slip out into the metal tray. You don’t know what you’ll get exactly, but the surprise is worth it.
On Monday, July 22, Fairwinds held an “Art Box Party” to celebrate the sixth anniversary of The Art Box and to invite people to try out the vending machine.
The Art Box is the idea of Michele Levesque and Michael Rossney, owners of EL EL FRIJOLES Mexican food a taqueria in Sargentville and Makers’ Market Shop & Studio in Brooksville.
“The cigarette machine dispensing art is not my idea,” said Levesque. “It’s an idea we came across in Chicago from a machine in a place called The Artomat and I was really intrigued, so I bought a piece. It stayed in the back of my head for awhile and we decided to find our own vintage cigarette machine and offer art that was more local. We wanted to do something for the artists of the peninsula and advertise their work a little, as well as provide an affordable way for people to collect art. We’ve got kids who come in here and are already art collectors because of the Art Box.”
Levesque and Rossney are artists whose work The Art Box dispenses.
“We currently have 11 artists that are involved with the project and sometimes we have artists who rotate through, but 11 is about all I can handle,” said Levesque. “ Every artist except for one lives here right here on the peninsula.”
Art ranges from hand-painted wood blocks, mixed media, altered books, found object sculpture, textiles, photography, handmade tiny books and other personalized items that can fit into the regulated sized box. For more backstory on the individual artists visit: The Art Box
One of the artists on hand that evening was Amelia Poole, who makes encaustic collages by layering vintage book pages and drawings with wax and resin. One particular piece that Carol Gregor of Brooksville bought through the vending machine was constructed from old handwritten letters.
Poole was happy to discover that someone had chosen her artwork, so she explained what it was: “This is a son in Korea writing back home to his father, in Bangor, named Sterling Diamond in 1951.”
“Sterling Diamond! What a name,” said Gregor.
The Art Box is a permanent feature of Fairwinds Florist shop. You don’t have to wait for one of their artist receptions; you can come in at any time and purchase a token to get some art from the cigarette machine. $10 of the purchase goes to the artist.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ladies, it’s that time. In preparation for Wedding Season, which usually kicks off around May, it’s never too early to begin putting together some planning tools for your Wedding checklists. Don’t let the word “Hussey’s” paired with “weddings” and “shotguns” put you off as you begin planning for your Big Day.
Your wedding should be perfect - in every way. Whether you are committing your eternal love for the very first time, or the fifth, here in Maine, you will find the inspiration you are looking for in the dappled woodlands, beside a dazzling harbor and among the mounted stuffed deer heads in the smoking room of an Elks Club.
First, wedding dresses. Hussey’s General Store, located in Windsor, ME, has been helping brides find their perfect dress for that special day since 1955. Their bridal department is wildly popular and sells hundreds of gowns each year with top designer lines and affordable formalwear that can be ordered in any size or color. (www.husseysgeneralstore.com)
Hussey’s carries all of your bridal accessories as well. No fairytale extravaganza is complete without his and hers firearms. As Hussey’s advertises, “Here, you will find a large selection of rifles, shotguns, and handguns for hunting or just for fun.” Because other than hunting or self-protection, handguns should be just for fun! While the menfolk have an entire sporting goods department to choose from, the ladies aren’t left out. Pictured here is the Charter Arms “Pink Lady.” This 38 Special Undercover Lite is made of aircraft grade aluminum and weighs only 12 oz. Compact enough to conceal in a wedding garter, inside a Diaper Genie or under a La-Z-Boy couch cushion. Looks like somebody isn’t going to weasel out of doing his share of the wedding invitations now is he?
As you work down your “to-do” list of cake top ornaments and bird seed bags, don’t forget the Sabre Red Maximum Strength Pepper Spray, also located in Sporting Goods. This nice little spray, of which a portion of sales are donated to fight breast cancer, allows the user to deploy continuously from any angle, even upside down! This can be also in tandem with Coon Urine, which masks human scent. Honeymoon trousseau—check.
Lastly, be sure to start your Wedding Gift Registry early. At Hussey’s, which advertises itself as your “bridal one-stop shopping experience,” no need to waste time trying to figure out what your new home needs at Bed, Bath & Beyond. This Horn Mount Kit in pink, which also fights breast cancer, is premier addition to your living room. This priceless gift is a reminder to your betrothed not only can you bring home a 12-point buck, drive it home on the minivan, but when you remove the antlers and skull cap with a bone saw all by yourself —never, ever, ever let him forget he’s the man.
So Brides, it’s time to lock and load. . . and start picking off those checklists in anticipation of your Big Special Day.
The Killer Convo
This blog is a is a killer roundup of all arts, entertainment, brewery & distillery, food trucks, happy hour happenings in the Midcoast Maine. Feel free to email me anything about Midcoast arts, entertainment & the creative economy.