Is art dead?!


If so, who is the perpetrator of this heinous crime??

No, seriously, art in Maine can’t be dead. Midcoast area artists and galleries abound. Huge crowds show up for Rockland Artwalk. Art and craft shows are plentiful throughout the year. Artists from all over the world come to Maine to drink in it’s beauty and inspiration.

Even so, it has become painfully obvious, the once active art buying public is not as interested in purchasing art.

It may be the economy. There is no doubt that sales are not as they once were in every sector. Perhaps it is more than that. Attendees at art shows and fairs seem to be missing one vital component, youth.

peering in - Coastal Collage

peering in – Coastal Collage

Are 20-40 somethings just not interested in fine art or craft? I am sure they are.  Across the country there is a strong maker/ creative movement. Young people are intensely interested in all avenues of creative pursuits, from knitting to digital art. So how do we bridge the gap? Should we bridge it?

I recently attended a meeting at Maine College of Art to appoint a task force which will consider the merging of two craft organizations in Maine, Maine Crafts Guild and Maine Crafts Association. A representative from the Maine Arts Commission was on hand to assist.  At that meeting, a variety of opinions were expressed. Some felt that art organizations in Maine needed to become more relevant in the community.  Engine in Biddeford and Waterfall Arts in Belfast are both excellent models for connecting arts with community. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every Maine community had a organization such as these! It is vitally beneficial for a community to provide opportunities for youth, less advantaged individuals, and emerging artists.  Creative individuals are a catalyst for change.  Artists also buy art.

at the gallery - Coastal Collage

at the gallery – Coastal Collage

If artists and crafts persons are to survive financially we will need adapt to the changing landscape. Exclusivity – along with a high price point – may no longer be an option. We may need to cooperate with a wider range of art disciplines and create articles for purchase that are widely accessible.

Networking to promote sales, networking opportunities with other artists, providing art in community settings, affordability – all thoughts to consider. Although we might want to hurry up our thinking process just a bit.




Karen Olson

About Karen Olson

Karen Olson is a photographer, writer, and artist working in metal. Her blogs offer a global perspective, a celebration of art and culture. She 'lives like a tourist' in Midcoast Maine where she makes her home and finds inspiration for art and life in her travels. Follow her creative passion with Renuko Style at and Coastal Collage, a Bangor Daily News Blog at Karen's photography portfolio can be found at