York artist’s Mt. A painting put on public display in perpetuity

YORK, Maine – When she discovered the painting at the George Marshall Store Gallery in the fall of 2019, Cynthia Hosmer knew immediately that she had to buy it. Not for yourself. For your city.

“I don’t think five minutes after I got in there I grabbed Michael and Mary and said, ‘I really want this painting to be in the public eye,'” Hosmer said.

The acrylic painting titled “West from Mount Agamenticus” by York artist Michael Walek is 6 feet high and 3 feet wide and shows a piece of landscape from the top of one of York’s natural beauty.

York painter Michael Walek and patroness Cynthia Hosmer visit Walek's

Given their love for the mountain. When she was previously involved in setting up an observation deck on the site, Hosmer decided to buy Walek’s works and donate them to the city instead of keeping them for her own private collection.

“I said you can’t leave this in a quiet little house. It has to go where the public can see it because this is one of the most beautiful things that happens in this town,” she said.

“Everyone is sort of focused on the ocean,” she added. “We have this incredible mountain behind us, which is also part of who we are, and we have to celebrate it.”

Mary Harding, who was the gallery’s curator until she retired late last year, facilitated the deal. The price Hosmer paid was not disclosed.

More:The curator Mary Harding is leaving the gallery after 25 years

Walek, who has sold numerous paintings through the George Marshall Store Gallery, said it was an honor to have selected his work for public display.

“It was very touching for me because pictures often disappear in people’s homes and you never see them again,” he said.

“Even if a person walks in and looks at it for a moment, they see something related to our city, and it’s not a typical sight people think of,” said Walek.

A painting by Michael Walek was hung in the stairwell of York City Hall.  From left are Mary Harding, who recently left the George Marshall Store Gallery after being a curator for 25 years, Michael Walek, a York-based artist;  and Cynthia Hosmer from York, who bought the painting and gave it to the city for exhibition.

Now when you enter York City Hall and turn around to go up the stairs to the right, the colorful view can be seen. The shape of the painting could be awkward in places, but it fits the stairs perfectly, said Steve Burns, York Town manager.

The Board of Selectmen formally agreed to accept the donation and to display the painting permanently in public places so that it is not locked away behind a closed office door or stored where the citizens do not appreciate it. Burns said.

“Without art, life isn’t fun. I think it’s that simple,” he added. “It’s a beautiful painting.”

Diana Janetos, Assistant to the City Manager of York, helped with efforts to get Michael Walek's painting.

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