By Kate Phenix
Visitor Services Coordinator
The patron’s experience of this phenomenon is something that I began to notice in the middle of the Landscapes From the Age of Impressionism show. That pause at the front door, intake of breath, and then the transitioning of temperament as the patron enters the PMA ready to let everyday events fall away and be conveyed to a different world. This is when the idea of the Museum as sanctuary really became clear to me. The Impressionism show offered up a lush, vibrant land of light and nature, reminding us of the unending possibilities ahead as well as the moments of peace and joy experienced in the past.
The stillness and intimacy of the André Kertész: On Reading exhibit, whose black-and-white images chronicled decades of people reading, mirrored the visitors own experience of introspection and the evaluation of life’s inspiring offerings. This sense of the Museum as sanctuary continued with the Lynne Drexler—Painter exhibit, and in this collection with its brilliant colors and sparkling resonance, visitors departed the Museum into the winter air rejuvenated, their spirit galvanized by their immersion in such luminosity.
The purpose of the PMA as a harbor in the community is never more apparent than during our Free Friday nights wherein folks from every walk of Maine life come in, mixing together, moving about one another all with the shared purpose of experiencing art. The Museum provides this place of refuge where we may all meet and partake in what is beautiful, intriguing, daring, fragile, ageless, and surprisingly, new in this world.