The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, 21 Winter St., will open its 2016 Biennial Exhibition — showcasing the work of 25 artists from across Maine — with a public reception Friday, Nov. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. As the first biennial in its new home, CMCA will be dedicating all 5,500 square feet of display space in the three galleries to the exhibition.

The artists whose work is included in the CMCA 2016 Biennial are Phoebe Adams (Phippsburg), Sachiko Akiyama (Skowhegan), Marcia Annenberg (Boothbay Harbor), Steven Baines (Portland), MJ Blanchette (Kittery Point), Sarah Bouchard (Arundel), Philip Brou (South Portland), Emily Brown (Montville), Cole Caswell (Peaks Island), Scott Davis (Rockland), Morris David Dorenfeld (Spruce Head), Lynn Duryea (Deer Isle and South Portland), Carly Glovinski (Berwick), Tonee Harbert (Portland), Richard Iammarino (Rockland), Kayla Mohammadi (Walpole), Ann H. Mohnkern (Yarmouth and Phippsburg), Paul Oberst (Freedom), Kate Russo (Portland), Claire Seidl (Rangeley), Gail Skudera (Lewiston), Richard Van Buren (Eastport), George Wardlaw (Portland), Kathy Weinberg (Morrill) and Andrew White (Union).

“We are excited to be working with this remarkable group of artists,” said Associate Curator Bethany Engstrom. “The new galleries open up possibilities for exhibiting a wide diversity of work in terms of scale and medium, providing an engaging reflection of what is happening in contemporary art in Maine now.”

CMCA’s biennial exhibition typically takes place in the fall of even numbered years. The concept of an open juried competition at CMCA dates back to 1978, when then director Ben Goldsmith presented the first Annual Juried Exhibition. It was the only continuing statewide juried exhibition until the Portland Museum of Art introduced its first biennial in 1998. Since then, CMCA and the PMA have presented biennials in alternating years.

The jurors for the 2016 Biennial were Christine Berry, director of Berry Campbell Gallery, New York City; and John Yau, noted writer, poet and art critic for Hyperallergic. Seven hundred and 80 artists submitted work for this year’s CMCA Biennial.

The artistic community in Maine has a long-standing tradition of excellence, and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, said Berry, and the review process took much longer than he anticipated, because of the quality level of the applicants.

“It has been a wonderful experience for all involved and I look forward to seeing our selections in CMCA’s new building," he said.

Yau said he thought about the many different artists who have lived in Maine while he was looking at this year’s submissions, and the many marvelous portfolios he saw made it extremely difficult to winnow down the selection.

“I think the Center for Maine Contemporary Art will do much to change the culture of the state, and the Biennial is one of the ways it will do this, as it brings together as well as celebrates members of the Maine arts community," he said.

In conjunction with the exhibition, CMCA will host a series of talks titled Who Do You Love, in which Biennial artists will speak about the work of other artists who inspire them. The talks will be held at 3 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 20; and Jan. 8 and 22. The talks are free with admission. The exhibition will remain on view through Feb. 5.

Support for the CMCA 2016 Biennial is provided by sponsors Allen Insurance and Financial and CHUBB. Their generous gift made it possible to waive entry fees for the 780 artists who submitted work for this year's CMCA Biennial.

November through May, CMCA hours will be Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. Admission is $6, free for children younger than 12 and members free. For more information, call 701-5005 or visit CMCA is closed on federal holidays.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or