2020 Vision at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art

Putting the small town's big role in visual culture on display.

By Will Grunewald

Early Days: In the 1890s, Charles Woodbury started selling paintings in his Ogunquit studio. Soon, his reputation flourished, and he founded a summer school that turned the town into one of the country’s major arts colonies. Museum curator Ruth Greene-McNally and colleagues relied on photos from Woodbury’s grandsons to recreate his workspace for the installation Charles Woodbury: Open Studio — with the artist’s own easel on display. Another exhibition, The View from Narrow Cove: Bicentennial Ogunquit, presents works by Woodbury, his students, and his cohort of artists. 

Midcentury: In 1953, a little over a decade after Woodbury’s death, Henry Strater — son of a snuff-tobacco magnate and pal to fellow Lost Generation creatives Hemingway and Fitzgerald — founded the museum on land purchased from the Woodbury family. Light Southerly: Henry Strater in Verde Valley showcases his landscape studies of the Southwest. 

Contemporary Spin: South Portland artist Andy Rosen brought outdoors in with an installation titled After Party. In the early 20th century, the arts-colony crowd caroused late into the evenings on the beach, and Rosen pictured the rollicking scene from the perspective of wildlife lurking on its edges. Empty cigarette packs and broken wine bottles intersperse with beach rocks and vines of bittersweet, artists’ lives and subjects all jumbled together. 

The museum is open daily, with a cap on visitor numbers and special hours for older adults and people with underlying medical conditions who are more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. 543 Shore Rd. 207-646-4909. ogunquitmuseum.org