Belfast art gallery and studio offers immersive experience

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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BELFAST, Maine (WABI) - Many are familiar with the Mainely Pottery store on Route 1 in Belfast.

It has a new name...and a new purpose.

“Mainely Pottery was here for I think, 30 years. Mainely Gallery and Studio is all about creativity, finding artists, i’ts Made in Maine and it’s really the best of creators doing things here,” said Brian Frus.

Brian Frus and his wife, Stephanie Natale recently moved here from Florida with their two young daughters. Both artists themselves, Frus says they chose Belfast because of its creative community, seeing the city as a canvas for artistic opportunity.

“And so there’s a lot of ideas here but also we’re cultivating relationships in the community where we can do some cross pollination of studios,” says Frus.

Mainlely Gallery offers glasswork, ceramics, woodwork, fiber arts, paintings, jewelry, metals and more. There’s also a exhibition area as well as a café serving coffee and baked goods.

“This is our deck,” gestures Frus, opening the back door of the gallery onto a spacious area with wrought iron tables adorned with colorful sun umbrellas. “We have all kinds of events that are openings, we always have some food out, we often have live music.”

Just beyond the deck is the gallery’s gardens. They were started decades ago. Frus says they’re working with family members of the owners to maintain the expansive beds.

“People sometimes will come to the property just to view the gardens because they give us new surprises every day,” Frus said.

Before coming to Maine, Frus was a glassmaking artist and educator. It was important for him to offer experiences along with exhibits. That’s why there’s an art studio right next to the gallery.

Frus offers group and private hot glass, stained glass and fusing workshops.

Painting and precious metal clay classes are in the works.

Part of the gallery section features an exhibition area. The couple rotates shows about once a month. Their current one features the techniques of old world glassblowing infused with modern day 3-D printing. The artist, Clint Burbridge was part of a residency program at Mainely Gallery.

“He’s actually making these copper cages and then setting them up so he can blow the glass bubble down into it, and it pushes through the copper,” Frus said.

Frus says he and his wife recognize that the Belfast community wants to have art in its DNA. They’re humbled to be a part of that process.

“Our gallery finds homes for the artists that feeds the works to keep making the art. and it’s just growing and growing and growing, we’re thrilled to be here,” says Frus.

Mainely Gallery and Studio also partners with Waterfall Arts in Belfast.