On Saturday, July 1, Brad and Danielle Betts will open the doors to their new Down East Gallery, at 146 Boothbay Road in Edgecomb. They’ll welcome visitors into the newly restored space that will feature his paintings.
The large, spacious barn on the property will be open to visitors, too. Beginning at 5 p.m., live music will be performed by Ursa Minor, Hannah Damon and the Martelle Sisters, and Ben Betts.
The Betts purchased the house, the barn, and 35 acres of mostly field, last winter. The house had been gutted, right down to the crumbling old plaster walls, but the barn was clean and well-appointed. The field behind the house on Route 27 included a big, hilly slope. That was one of the reasons the Betts decided to buy the property.
They were looking for a place to start a vineyard. They already have a small one in East Boothbay, but they want to get a little more serious about making some good wine. When they saw the south-facing slope, in a place with the perfect terroir – the geographic location, soil type, and weather conditions, for growing grapes – they knew they had to have it.
“We looked at the farmhouse and said that could be the gallery, then we looked at the barn and said that could be for music,” Danielle said. “It has everything we want: Music, wine and art.”
Danielle is thinking about producing a Maine version of Champagne. The Betts recently visited Oyster River Wine Growers in Warren. The winery has released a Champagne made with Maine-grown grapes, and the Betts are hoping to do something similar. “The Maine terroir is very similar to that of the Champagne region of France,” Danielle said.
After spending the winter entirely renovating the dark, dismal interior of the house, it is now full of bright white walls and ceilings, and light, with a large window and french doors overlooking the huge field out back. It’s a perfect space for a gallery, and most of the walls, downstairs and up, are adorned with Brad’s paintings.
The couple imagines the barn as a place like an old grange hall, with music on some Saturday nights. “If we come across a band we like, like Hannah Damon and the Martelle Sisters, who do three-part harmonies, and play guitar, violin and mandolin, we’ll ask them to play,” Danielle said. “It can be a space for a performance of any type, really,” Brad added.
After July 1, the business will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the gallery by the same name, in East Boothbay, will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and by appointment.
The Betts are looking forward to making their new place an experience for all to enjoy. “I hope people will come for the art, but I hope they enjoy the barn events, the vineyard – all of it. I want people to come here and be able to relax a little, and look at art, and just enjoy being here,” Brad said. “I’d like it to be an experience they won’t forget.”
Along with his oil paintings, the gallery will feature stone sculpture by Dick Alden, Dan Ucci and Andreas von Heune; metal sculpture by Roger Majorowicz, steel sculpture by Susan Bennett; hand-woven tapestries by Priscilla May Alden; glass sculpture by Gabriel Greenlaw; and furniture and wood bowls by Sam Betts.
Come help them celebrate. The gallery will be open at 10 a.m., and the party and music in the barn begins at 5. Burgers & Freys food truck will be there selling its burgers and fries beginning at around 7 p.m., along with Sugar Daddy’s Lemonade Stand from Damariscotta. People are welcome to bring some food to share, and their favorite drinks.
Betts’ paintings have appeared in solo and group shows throughout New England, including the Mystic Seaport Gallery’s acclaimed International Marine Art Exhibition for the past seven years. In 2006, he received the Maritime Gallery Yachting Award and in 2008 he was recognized as one of “Four Distinguished Artists” at the Mystic Seaport Gallery.
Visit https://downeastgallery.wordpress.com/about/ for more about his work.