Mosaic art walk could take tips from Portland, Maine

May 20, 2013

Friends and I went to the May Mosaic Second Saturday art walk in Rehoboth, which we enjoyed. But I noticed there was nothing going on outside the galleries. Why not?

Portland, Maine, another small town which depends on tourism, hosts a similar, First Friday art walk which I've been to many times. I have to say, Portland's is a lot more engaging. The reason is, Portland also allows musicians and artists to perform and sell works on the sidewalks in between the galleries.  They're not allowed to be noisy or block sidewalks, of course.

On the contrary - Portland's sidewalk activities create connections between the galleries. They make you want to walk more to see what's next. They make you want to walk further, stay longer and explore more. The activities on the sidewalk add enormously to the overall appeal. I try to time my visits to Portland just so I can stop by First Friday because it's more than just a few galleries and stores open late: it's fun.

It also gives Portland-area people a reason to come into the same old boring town because it's no longer same-old-same-old. They get to see other local people playing music, showing their art, adding to the overall public appeal and word-of-mouth. And all that's free - and so is the added draw for the shops, galleries, restaurants.

So while Rehoboth's art walk is nice, the town might try some sidewalk activities, too.

Jeff Morin
Arlington, Va.


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