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County artists find a pandemic platform in Lights Out virtual gallery

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 8:14 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Daniel Sipe grew up in Presque Isle, enjoying art at the UMPI gallery and the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library. He grew up to open Lights Out, a pop-up gallery in Portland, in 2019. The gallery’s second show was canceled due to COVID, so Sipe took advantage of the pandemic’s virtual environment to showcase artists in new ways

“Rather than just looking at their art or getting to see them at the gallery opening, you get to see their story, see their inspiration,” said Sipe.

Lights Out includes interviews with the artists in their studios and homes. Raphael Gribetz is a multi-skilled artist in Presque Isle, and Lights Out featured his sculpture work.

“I have that building outside, it’s full of artwork and I said you choose,” said Gribetz. “And they did a great job.”

Gribetz says the importance of galleries and giving artists a platform is to show how hard they work for their art.

“It’s important to appreciate the artists and the arts in our lives,” said Caribou sculptor, Breanna Gerrish. “We realize the value of that as we come on hard times.”

Gerrish was featured in Lights Out and graduated from UMPI’s fine arts program.

“With Lights Out, it just felt like that collaborative growth was possible,” she said.

Sipe believes sculpture, painting, and other art mediums need to be seen in person to be appreciated, but he says Lights Out is a great way to get county art into the mainstream.

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