FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2011
Attachments: Photo of dignitaries attending ribbon cutting (please see photo caption below).
Photo courtesy of Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council: Captive Elements Art House and Lewiston Auburn Magazine celebrated the grand opening of their recently renovated space on Lisbon Street in Lewiston on Tuesday, September 20. From left-right: Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce President Chip Morrison; Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council Marketing Director Calvin Rinck; Lewiston Auburn Magazine Publisher Joshua Shea; Captive Elements Art House Co-Owner Kerry Landry; Lewiston Auburn Magazine Managing Editor Molly McGill; Architect Kevin Morrisette; Architect Gabrielle Russell; City of Auburn Mayor Richard Gleason; City of Lewiston Council President Steven Morgan.
Full Time Art Gallery to Occupy Recently Renovated Historic Downtown Lewiston Building
(Lewiston, ME) - A new chapter in the already storied history of 223 Lisbon Street in Lewiston kicked-off on Tuesday as ownership of Captive Elements Art House and Lewiston Auburn Magazine celebrated the opening of their new joint location with a ribbon cutting and reception.
Kerry Landry, co-owner of the gallery, spoke before business leaders, elected and government officials, family and friends in welcoming everyone to Captive Elements’ new space. The gallery, which will be the only one on Lisbon Street with daytime hours, was formerly located in a small space off Main Street in Lewiston.
“Now, whether you just want to look at some art on your lunch break or you’re a visitor to Lewiston and Auburn who only has a couple hours on a random Tuesday afternoon, there will be an option for appreciating local artists’ work in a part of town that’s undergoing a transformation,” said Landry.
Lewiston Auburn Magazine’s move was only a couple of hundred yards down the street, having shared space with both the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce and the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, since the magazine first published in April 2010. Editor and Publisher Joshua Shea called Tuesday’s event more of a re-opening than a grand opening.
“When you look at the history of media in this building, we’re little more than an asterisk at this point. It’ll be quite a while before we can claim to be in the company of some of the heavyweights that occupied these walls before us,” said Shea.
The building was erected in 1880 by Daniel Allen and Howard Maxwell who moved their furniture store to downtown Lewiston. After their deaths the building was purchased by Jean Baptiste and Clara Couture in 1909. At the time of purchase, the building housed a bowling alley in the basement as well as a movie theater, print shop and a club. A French-Canadian immigrant, Jean Baptiste was owner-editor of Lewiston’s French language newspaper, Le Messager.
In 1938 Jean Baptiste established WCOU, Lewiston’s first commercial radio station broadcasting French language programming. Jean Baptiste continued his work in publishing and broadcasting at the Le Messager building well into the early 1960s. This was right around the time that Ed Boucher, considered the godfather of the local music scene opened his recording studio in the building. “If you were a musician who recorded any tracks in the second half of the 20th century, odds are you spent time at 223 Lisbon Street in Ed’s studio,” added Shea.
As a tribute to those that came before them, Captive Elements and Lewiston Auburn Magazine have put original front pages of Le Messager on display, along with photos of staff from the newspaper and WCOU radio.
The building was purchased by local architects Kevin Morrisette and Gabrielle Russell late last year. The couple have spent the last five months getting the building ready for its first full-time tenants in years. Future plans for the building include converting the top three floors into market-rate condominiums as the couple believe Lisbon Street will soon be brimming with the kind of life that once made it a destination spot for residents and visitors from throughout the state.
“This is another example of the creative economy creating a home in our downtown,” said Calvin Rinck, Marketing Director at the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council. “The revitalization of these classic and historical buildings is encouraging because Lewiston and Auburn is quickly becoming a community of choice for so many businesses and entrepreneurs.”
Along with special gallery shows, Captive Elements is currently working on a slate of classes and special events that will be held throughout the year. The gallery space will also be available for groups looking to hold gatherings in a unique space and will be hosting its first event on Sept. 27. The Lewiston Auburn Film Festival will also be utilizing the space during its 2012 festival.