Rockland used to be known for its smell, and now it’s the “Art Capital of Maine.” Maybe not in so many words, but John Bird’s book "Rockland: Rise and Renewal" entertainingly documents the history of the city that anchors the state’s formidable Midcoast. The Cushing Public Library will present an illustrated talk by Bird, a fifth-generation Rockland native, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

It is free and open to the public. To register, call Wendy Roberts at 207-691-0833 or email

Bird’s beautifully produced book is the first comprehensive history of Rockland in more than 40 years, and a lot has happened here in those years. He documents how a small city can maintain its traditional economic health and become a cultural magnet as well, with particular attention to the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and the many galleries and artists that animate its creativity. He provides the stories behind the many names of institutions, industries and places that have created this vibrant community.

Bird is a graduate of Rockland High School and Bowdoin College and is a retired educator.