Creative sites close up shop amid coronavirus concerns

Mar 18, 2020

MIDCOAST — The Midcoast is chock-full of arts and entertainment events on a regular basis, and things have come to a grinding halt in response to new guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control concerning the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The health and safety of the public is top priority, so the visual and performing arts community is doing its part to respond to the present public health crisis by canceling and postponing events and closing down in-person operations in many cases.

From large places like the Farnsworth Art Museum, Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), Strand Theatre, Camden Opera House and Waterfall Arts to area libraries and live music venues, everything is at full stop. Newspaper staff are barely able to keep up with the influx of notices, so it is best to assume an event, special or ongoing, is canceled until further notice. Most are marked so online and in the printed calendar, but contact venues/groups for more information.

Here are some specifics:

The Farnsworth Art Museum, 16 Museum St., Rockland, is suspending all public activities – the galleries and library will be closed and all public programs, school visits and facility rentals are canceled at least through the month of April. Art lovers can still explore the collection online, shop in the online store, and even take a virtual tour of the Olson House and Farnsworth Homestead at farnsworthmuseum.org.

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), 21 Winter St., Rockland, is closed through April 30. The public can explore the online resources, exhibitions and videos available 24/7 through cmcanow.org. Submissions to the CMCA 2020 Biennial supported by The VIA Agency will continue to be accepted online through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 3, as scheduled.

The Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., Rockland, has temporarily closed. Several concerts, films and broadcasts are canceled/postponed, currently up through the Maine Jewish Film Festival April 5. For more information, visit RocklandStrand.com, email info@rocklandstrand.com, or call 594-0070.

The Camden Opera House, 29 Elm St., is closed throughout March and April with no events until May 1 at the earliest. Staff are in the process of rescheduling March and April events to later dates. Watch camdenoperahouse.com for updates.

The galleries and office at Waterfall Arts, 256 High St., Belfast are closed through April 27. All classes, events, workshops, youth programming and drop-in open studios are suspended for the time being. Staff will reach out to already-registered students to process refunds or communicate rescheduled dates. If you are receiving private lessons from studio tenants, please contact them directly for any schedule changes or cancellations. Visit waterfallarts.org for virtual programming, and check out inspiring content on the center's Facebook and Instagram pages.

One major canceled event is the One-Act Drama Festival, scheduled to take place March 20 and 21 at Oceanside High School and in Falmouth. The New England Drama Festival, scheduled for mid-April in Vermont, has also been canceled.

At the regional One-Act competition March 8, first place, Class A went to Camden Hills Regional High School for “A Matter of Heritage” by Jon Lowe, and first place, Class B went to Oceanside High School for “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” an original adaptation from a Norwegian folktale.

Both Camden Hills and Oceanside qualified for the statewide competition, where nine schools in each class were to compete for top honors.

The Belfast Maskers is postponing its production of “As You Like it.” Tickets will be refunded, unless buyers consider donating the money to help the Maskers through this difficult time. Please make requests for refunds by emailing info@BelfastMaskers.com. The Maskers hope to offer this same show in the future.

Points North Institute has canceled all public programming, including CIFF Selects screenings, through the end of April, and has moved to remote operations to protect its staff and the community. Learn more at pointsnorthinstitute.org.

From Monday Night Blues shows at Time Out Pub in Rockland and the Medomak Arts Project in Waldoboro, to library talks and art workshops, everyone in Knox and Waldo counties is working to flatten the curve of the virus by shutting down, holing up and waiting for the all-clear. Many have halted events through the end of March, while others will be closed through the end of April.

Staff from these various locations will monitor email and provide assistance and updates as the situation changes. And keep an eye on knox.villagesoup.com and waldo.villagesoup.com for when we’re all up and at ‘em again!

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