Art in the Capitol

Art in the Capitol

The Art in the Capitol program features work throughout the Capitol Complex and offers Maine artists an additional venue for their work. It is designed to expand the audience for Maine artists or artists working in Maine on Maine-based themes.

All Art in the Capitol exhibits are free and open to the public. Exhibitions are self-guided and may be viewed during the building hours where the exhibition is on display. Building hours: Maine Arts Commission Office 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; Capitol and Burton M. Cross Buildings 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information about Art in the Capitol, contact Julie Horn, Visual Arts Director at vog.eniam@nroh.eiluj.



Works by Olena Babak and Judy Taylor

The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to present the work of two of Maine’s most talented painters, Judy Taylor and Olena Babak. After meeting at a plein air class several years ago, Judy and Olena have continued to inspire each other and have combined their talents on several projects.   At the Met

Judy began her artistic career with an intensive education in New York and Chicago. In 1996 relocated to Maine as the Artist-in-Residence at Acadia National Park. She currently maintains her studio and teaches there while also conducting workshops in Austin, New York, Italy and France. Her work is in many public and private collections including: Johns Hopkins University, the United States Park System, Friends of Acadia, and the Jackson Laboratory.

Olena Babak is an award winning, classically trained artist, whose landscapes and figurative works can be found in numerous galleries and collections in the U.S. and abroad. Some of her selected awards from 2016 include: Best Representation of Rockies National Park, Artist’s Choice Plein Air Richmond, 1st place Quick Draw & People's Choice Award Finger Lakes Plein Air. She was also a recipient of the Hudson River Fellowship in New York. Formerly she taught at the Academy of Classical Design, but now offers private workshops and classes in her studio on Great Moose Lake in central Maine. About her work she states, “Trained in the academic traditions of the French and Russian schools, I strive to push the limits of lighting and color in the process of capturing mood and enchantment in ever changing light and surroundings.”

Works in this exhibition can be found on both the ground floor and second floor of the State House and are available for purchase from the artist.

You can learn more about Olena’s work at and more about Judy's work at 

Painting Islands: Uniting Community with Art

    Howie Montenko
    Swan Island Quarry

The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce the opening of a special exhibit in its Art in the Capitol program. “Painting Islands: Uniting Community with Art” by Maine photographer Howie Motenko explores collaborative art using the photographic technique of light painting on all 15 of Maine’s un-bridged, year-round islands. The exhibit is free to the public and on display until June 30, 2017 on the second floor of the State House in the Governor’s Reception area.

“We selected these photographs to showcase Maine’s rich island heritage, and the ways in which the arts can bring communities together,” said Julie Horn, the Visual Arts Program Director for the Maine Arts Commission and the curator for Art in the Capitol. “These photos are lush with color and light and bring attention to one of Maine’s provincial regions, which make them a perfect fit for the Governor’s Reception area.”

Motenko’s mission in the “Painting Islands” project, funded in part by the Maine Arts Commission, was to create participatory art with each island community through the medium of light painting photography. The result is 15 highly color saturated, archival pigment prints that represent Maine’s island community’s choices of images that best represent them. For a full year beginning in June of 2015, Motenko, working in partnership with the Maine Seacoast Mission and the Island Institute, visited, discussed and documented each island. The artistic collaboration began with island residents selecting a subject that resonated most strongly with their community. Next, at dusk, island volunteers “light painted” their self-selected scene with flashlights to complete the artistic collaboration: they illuminated the most significant image of their community while Motenko created a long-exposure photograph of it during the blue hour. The relationship of the artist’s vision and the islanders’ combined illumination created a glowing image reflecting each island’s unique identity and collective values. The project is designed to create a stronger sense of community for each island. To learn more about this project please visit

Recent Exhibitions

Maine: A Continuum of Place 

    Jude Valentine
    West Quoddy Head Light

Maine Governor Oakley C. Curtis declared April 19, 1916, to be “Maine Postcard Day,” imploring all Mainers to mail a postcard of their home state to friends and family from away. It is said the cards were primarily used as a tool to communicate our exclusive qualities to the outside world.

2016 marks this centennial which has been especially highlighted by the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. The PMM houses a vast glass-plate collection of many of these original postcard images which visually boast of Maine’s towns and unique environment.  Inspired by the card’s anniversary, art writer Carl Little was asked to pair vintage photographs from the PMM’s remarkable collection with paintings of similar subjects by contemporary Maine artists. The results of which are this show consisting of twenty-five paintings created by seventeen artists from across our state. The exhibit explores changes overtime to those locations and images formerly used to describe Maine. Carl Little states this show highlights “…what I call the “continuum of place.” Kids will always leap from docks, though their outfits may change. Ships will find harbor, but they may depend on computers to find their way. And certain iconic vistas—the harbors of Monhegan and Stonington, for example—seem almost eternal even as a new building might go up or lobster traps change from wood to metal.”

Works in this exhibition can be found on both the ground floor and second floor of the State House. We invite you to spend time with each work and postcard image to find your own visual connections and memories of place.


Ed Buonvecchio, local Manchester Artist

    Ed Buonvecchio
    Docked at Union Wharf, 9.125" x 8"
    Oil on Panel

Local Manchester artist Ed Buonvecchio spent most of his life growing up in New York where he later earned his BFA at SUNY Buffalo. After moving to Arizona in 2004 he was so inspired by the “raw beauty” of the desert he anxiously began his career as a fine artist focusing on the historic en plein air painting technique. This style of capturing the landscape, concentrated on working outdoors to quickly record what the eye actually sees as mixture of natural light and air. It was highly popular in the nineteenth century giving birth to such renowned artists as John Constable and Claude Monet. Buonvecchio states, “My love of art, nature and the outdoors unite through painting en plein air.” His passion and talent were quickly recognized by winning the first Plein Air competition he entered in 2010.

Since relocating to Maine four years ago he has entrenched himself in the fine art community, participating in some of the State’s top painting festivals such as the Ocean Park Plein Air Festival and the Stroke of Art festival in Boothbay Harbor. Ed was recently featured in a solo show at the Winter Harbor Public Library and then curated a related group show for the Reed Gallery in Presque Isle. He is an involved member of well-known groups such as the Plein Air Painters of Maine, Kennebec Valley Arts Association and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

You can learn more about Ed and his work at


Veterans Show

Annual show at the Capitol Complex November each year. Click here for more information on the 2016 show.

   David Rogers
   Windy Field Friends, 23" x 19.5", pastel
    Francis LaRiviere
    Imagine, 19" x 23", mixed media







Heath Paley, Picturing Downtown Maine

The Maine Arts Commission was honored to show the work of photographer and master digital printer Heath Paley. The selection of nineteen images from his series “Downtown: Patterns of Life in Maine's Villages, Towns and Cities” shows a cross section of our State’s communities from Caribou to Kennebunk, Rumford to Machias. Each town’s portrait is made up of a combination of dozens of photographs Paley has taken from the same view point over a period of hours, days or weeks. He describes his process stating, “I ‘stitch’ these shots together into a single, large scale composite image, much more finely detailed and carefully composed that traditional photographic techniques allow.” Not meant as straightforward “documentation” the photographs act more as a curated amalgam of time. The result is a dense environment, whether filled with buildings and people or showcasing the enormity of Maine’s natural world. Paley’s vision of Maine through its fundamental public spaces is both awesome and alarming. Each community has a history and Paley’s captured moments provide visually attentive clues to those unique and perhaps untold stories.

Heath Paley currently lives in Portland and has earned both his MA and MFA. His work is part of prominent collections in Maine including the Portland Museum of Art and has shown extensively throughout the south and midcoast.

Photographs from this show along with others from the series will be on display in Orono and the University of Maine Art School's, Lord Hall Gallery in July for “Heath Paley / Picturing Downtown Maine”.

This wonderful exhibit was on display from April 20- July 15, 2016. You can learn more about Heath and his work at

 Heath Paley
 American Village (Dexter), 39" x 47.4"
 Digital Sublimation onto Aluminum
 Heath Paley
 Northeastland (Presqe Isle), 57.6" x 29"
 Digital Sublimation onto Aluminum



Celebrating Acadia National Park's Centennial

The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce a new exhibit of paintings and photographs celebrating the centennial of Acadia National Park. The park was conserved 100 years ago to preserve its beauty and natural wonders for the enjoyment of all. That wonder and beauty served as both subject matter and inspiration for this show, which will be on display through the end of March 2016.

More about Acadia's Centennial Celebration is at 

We are pleased to feature the works of the following artists in the show: 

Brad Betts—An artist for over 20 years, Brad connects daily with classical maritime scenes that most inspire him. See more of Brad's work at

Tom Blagden—A professional photographer since 1980, his work is devoted to creating a unique sense of place as both a celebration of, and a catalyst for land protection and conservation. Visit for more of Tom's work.

Mary Byrom—Working mostly from life, Mary is outdoors year round, painting on location and using these field sketches to develop her large studio paintings. To find out more about Mary and her work, visit

Gail Cleveland—A third-generation artist, Gail has studied art and nature for over 40 years. She uses these firsthand experiences to create award-winning work in watercolors, oils, acrylics and limited edition prints. For more about Gail and her work, visit

Howie Motenko—A resident of Mount Desert Island, Howie lives surrounded by ANP, which provides endless opportunities to explore the art of landscape photography. Find out more about his work at

Wini Smart—An award-winning artist, her paintings have been shown in major museums and galleries along the East Coast and are in international collections. For more about Wini and her work, visit 

   Cobblestone Bridge
   Color Photograph, 20.75" x 20.25"
   Howie Motenko
   Blue Hill Overlook, Cadillac Mountain
   Oil, 6" x 6"
   Mary Byrom



Caren-Marie Michel—A lifelong Maine resident, Michel is a devoted plein air painter working in acrylic and pastel on locations all over Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. Her work explores the urban, industrial, and pastoral images of Maine and documents the ever-changing landscape in paint. Michel often portrays a location through series, capturing different seasons or times of day with changing light and color. 

Michel states “My main interest is color in the landscape. Living in Maine, one cannot help but be amazed with nature and the effects of light, time, season, place and color. I also am interested in the manmade landscape and have set out to document how our urban landscapes continually change. I see the world as a painting, whether it is the old mill downtown, the fire station, golf course, mountain or beach.”  

 Caren-Marie Michel
 Pine Point Evening 15, 8.5" x 11.5"
 Pastel on paper
 Caren-Marie Michel
 Booth Quarry Vinalhaven, 12" x 16"
 Acrylic on canvas


Please click here to view past exhibitions.

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