By: Kate Rogers, Contributor
PORTLAND, Maine — Located at 538 Congress Street in Portland, The Space Gallery is just what the name suggests: a space. Space shows independent movies and documentaries, and is a venue for musicians, performances and artists of all sorts. Although local artists do frequent the Space, the goal there is actually to bring art in from outside Maine. According to their website the mission of Space is support contemporary art and champion artists. More specifically, to “…collaborate with original thinkers and invite the public to participate in the ongoing pursuit of adventurous ideas.”
Monday evening the crowd at Space was involved in friendly, lively conversation. The walls were covered in art and the atmosphere was welcoming. The event that night was a film called The Revival: Women and The Word. Directed by Sekiya Dorsett, The Revival is a documentary following a group of black lesbian poets and musicians on their tour across America. The film shows excerpts of the seven intimate shows on the tour at which the women gave honest and inspiring performances. In between performances, there was footage of the women’s journey. Punctuating the film with the natural and delightful comedy that comes when six people take one van on a cross-country road trip only added to its charm and effectiveness.
After the film there was a live reading by a local group of black women poets who call themselves Bloodletting. It was the perfect follow-up to the film. The poetry reading complimented The Revival by showing firsthand how poetry and activism is alive and well not only in places like Chicago and Brooklyn but in Portland, Maine as well.
Organized by local poet and activist LaLa Drew, the night was all about celebrating culture, history, queer women and their incredible talent. There was comfort in enjoying something made by and for queer women with a roomful of other queer women. Laughter came easily and standing ovations were given.
This is what The Space Gallery does: show art in many mediums and celebrate those who make the art. Founded in 2002, Space celebrated their 15th anniversary this year. Their mission throughout the years has not changed, but they have grown. Space started as a single space but has since expanded, purchasing the entire building at 538 Congress along with their own printmaking studio. Now not only do they have a performance space but they have three floors of studio space for artists to rent.
Space has taken the entire year to celebrate their anniversary, according to employee Genevieve. They had a birthday party in August and there is a plan to have a large outdoor celebration as a final hurrah in the spring. According to Genevieve they are planning on “returning to our roots of throwing big events.” They have not released any more information about this event yet, but those interested can keep an eye on their website at www.space538.org.