Celebrating 10 Years of Artemis Gallery
Georgia O’Keeffe once wrote that “Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.” At Artemis Gallery in Northeast Harbor, a collection of Maine-inspired and Maine-made artworks give evidence of O’Keeffe’s words. The rich dimensions and complex emotions of Maine’s scenic vistas – a wave dashing upon a rock, or the stillness of fog in the early morning – are captured in the paintings, sculptures, and varied media that adorn the century-old house where the gallery is located.
Artemis Gallery was founded in 2012 by Deirdre Artemis Swords and Cody van Heerden. At the time, Deirdre was looking to create a work-life balance while raising two young children. She and her husband, restauranteur Michael Boland, were only just acquainted with the van Heerdens, the former owners of Moss Gallery in Northeast Harbor, when they asked for their advice on a potential gallery site. “Cody and I hit it off immediately,” Dee says. “We decided to partner up and open the gallery, and a month later, we had our first opening at Artemis Gallery.”
The pair soon outgrew their original location on Albert Meadow road in Bar Harbor. With Cody’s ties to Northeast Harbor, they decided that upgrading the gallery space was the next step. Artemis Gallery has since made its home at 1 Old Firehouse Lane in Northeast Harbor, where it will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.
Tucked along a stone walkway behind Shaw Jewelry, the converted home “allows for an intimate and cozy feel with all of its nooks, corners and different rooms,” says Dee. “The art itself directs the mood of a show, and how the show comes together depends on which artists we are featuring.”
“It is part logistics, and part working with a feeling,” she adds. “I always love the process and challenges of putting a new show together, which is one of my favorite aspects of working with art.” Music and refreshments add to the vibrant atmosphere at each event, making ample use of the shared patio space between the gallery and Milk & Honey.
Some artists they represent are David Graeme Baker and Mary Prince, as well as MDI-based artists such as Rob Pollien, Nancy McCormick, Ed Hawkes, Philip Hecksher, and Liddy Hubbell. Even with just a handful of artists featured at each group show, the feeling of an exhibition can change from room to room.
Over the past year, Artemis Gallery has expanded their social media presence to bring their gallery space to audiences far and wide. “Social media has allowed us to share the intimate space of the gallery for those who might not be able to physically be there,” says Dee. “These statements and perceptions of the artists’ work allow the viewer to find a connection with the artist while learning more about their process.”
Thanks to the financial support offered to year-round business by the Summer Residents Association’s COVID-19 relief fund, the gallery was able to contribute a portion of their sales from each show to a different island nonprofit. For the 2021 season, Dee plans to honor Cody, who passed away in 2018, by donating to the nonprofits that she supported during her life. “It was amazingly generous of the community to support us and other local businesses last year,” she says. “Creating a thriving local business community is all about supporting and working with each other.”
Artemis Gallery will hold a soft opening on Memorial Day weekend to welcome the work of new artists to the gallery. As Maine’s accelerated vaccination efforts continue to exceed expectations, Dee hopes to resume in-person gatherings for the upcoming season.
Their scheduled summer shows will kick off on Thursday, July 1, and will rotate every other week, with openings on July 15, July 29, August 12, August 26, and September 9.