Past Exhibits

Learn more about the artists who have recently displayed their work.

Past Exhibits

Did you miss an art exhibit? You may enjoy some of our past exhibits virtually in the online gallery provided below. Click on the images to enlarge them and more fully enjoy each piece. Click on an artist’s name below the virtual gallery to learn more about each artist and their work. This archive only contains exhibits from last year and the current year.

Sanctuary Arts July - August 2021

Sanctuary Arts proudly presents a showcase of its instructors, a group of talented artists who are passionate about their work and eager to pass on their technical and creative expertise. You may enjoy a sampling of the art virtually in the online gallery below. Click on the images to enlarge them and more fully enjoy each piece, and visit the Library during open hours to view the full exhibit. More information about the artists can be found in a binder at the Library. If you are interested in purchasing one of the pieces, please contact the artists directly.

FEATURED ARTISTS: Christopher Gowell | Joshua Langstaff  | Bill Paarlberg | Lauren Dow | Josh Dow | Alastair Dacey | Sean Kramer | Anthony Alemany | Sean Beavers | Bob Ellis | Tom Glover | Amanda Letscher| Sydney Sparrow | Russel Whitten | Alice Carroll

About Sanctuary Arts

Sanctuary Arts started in 1997 when founder Christopher Gowell, a figure sculptor with an MFA from Boston University, moved to Eliot from Portsmouth’s Button Factory Studios to begin her own art and teaching studio. She and friend Rob Wallis, purchased the old Methodist church on Bolt Hill Road, with the intention of creating a community of artists that she could work with and learn from. Over the years the space has evolved into a community art space focusing on fine art education. Green Foundry was created when Josh and Lauren Dow decided to take on running the foundry that Christopher built and now cast fine art sculpture in bronze, aluminum and iron, from all over the region. Christopher continues to take one or two classes each semester and is learning to paint after being a sculptor for over 50 years.

Originally a Methodist church built in the 1850’s using hand hewn beams, the tin ceilings and walls of Sanctuary Arts sing with life. It had been a place for the community to gather for more than a hundred years when the last occupants decided to sell. This space continues gathering the community. Inside these beautiful tin walls many have celebrated births, deaths, weddings, art shows, music shows, inaugurations, the list goes on. Sculpture gardens created by Judy Andrews and maintained by Julie Marvin, and stone scapes by Alan Eves and Steven Carpenter enliven the grounds. We have a philosophy of community—a commitment to creating spaces where artists can connect and learn. We offer classes in old techniques and new ones, always focused on quality instruction from fine artists who hold the same values. Come take a class with us and see for yourself the power of a space with history and intention and the beauty of garden spaces.


Sanctuary Arts Connects is our new nonprofit organization that works to create opportunities for the exploration of artistic expression for members of our community regardless of financial or social background. Sanctuary Arts community is a space where the developing mind can investigate the skills of art making and build confidence while learning practical, technical, conceptual and critical thinking skills. We believe these skills should be accessible to all in our community. The making of art is a skill that connects us back to our inner selves, requiring the use of our hands, minds and hearts. Donate or inquire about a scholarship at

Amy Brnger April - June 2021

Amy Brnger :  A Tour of Seasons
Instagram: @amybrnger
Artist Statement

As long as I have painted I have been influenced by seasons and my emotional state while I work. My approach to a bouquet, a landscape, or an interior will be different depending upon weather, the quality of light, whether I am tired and crabby or energized and happy. All are reflected in the final image. The way I push paint around a panel, feel the paint on my palette knife and brush, is dependent upon my feeling state. 

 I try hard to keep the surprises that make their way onto a panel and stop the painting a few steps before it is finished. Sometimes the image might look awkward and slightly underdone, but if it feels genuine and somehow a reflection of how I see the world in that particular moment, then I want to keep it. When I keep working past that point, the likelihood of scraping the response away is great. 

 Though this year has been challenging and I often feel worried, anxious and sad, I continue to see beauty in our world. As you look at my flowers and interiors in January, birds and blooms I am happy to see again in May, reflections of my studio and hot bright roofs in August, or the somber light of fall landscapes and end of season blooms, I hope you can catch a glimpse of the world as I see it. 

More About Amy

Amy Brnger is a New Hampshire native who grew up near Keene, lived for a long time in Portsmouth but recently moved to Eliot, Maine. She studied painting at the University of New Hampshire and has worked as an artist since 1987. In 2012 she began making cards, calendars and prints from her paintings and opened Amy Brnger Art and Paperworks. Her paintings are shown in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. 

Amy has painted still life, flowers, interiors and landscape for as long as she has been an artist. She uses nature as a vehicle, or an excuse, to paint, and enjoys painting places and things with and about which she is familiar or curious. Forgotten and overlooked places are a particular favorite. Her paintings are expressive, energetic, and attempt to capture the changing nature of living things. 

Amy has been teaching painting since 2012, but has been a painter for over 35 years. Thanks to the Coronavirus, she finally took the plunge and learned how to teach online and loves it. Her classes and workshops are available on her website,, as well as with the Winslow Art Center in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Exhibition History

Barbara D’Antonio January - March 2021

Artist Statement: 

“My paintings are influenced by the Post Impressionists’ works in The Barnes Foundation. Specifically, Bonnard and Matisse.  I’m inspired by the artist that have come before me. My eyes look at the world around me, but what I see has been filtered by the artists of the past. What is actually there?  I don’t know, but the work that emerges includes a little bit of reimagined memory, and a whole lot of art history. My works are in private collections in the United States as well as in Crete, Greece and Spinetoli, Italy where I lived and worked in the summers between 1985 through 2014.  I consider myself a modern figurative artist.”

About My Studio

My studio is a former boat house located on the Back Channel of the Piscataqua River in Kittery, ME.  Build in the 1800’s as a school bathroom, it was later moved to the water’s edge as a work shop for the neighborhood lobstermen to repair traps and set bait.  Its’ many windows flood with light and reveal the ever-changing river views and the variety of waterfowl living there.  The studio is open to visit.  Please call ahead: 207-703-0554.

Education (1970’s and 1980’s)

Main Line Center for the Arts, Haverford, PA. Primary Influence:  Biagio Pinto, Painter
Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA Primary Influence:  Fritz Janschka, Printmaker
Haverford College, Haverford, PA Primary Influence:  Bruce Gagnier, Sculptor
The Barn’s Foundation, Merion, PA Teacher:  Violet DeMazia
Fleisher School of Art, Philadelphia., PA Primary Influence:  Francis McCarthy, Life Drawing

Group Shows

Newburyport Art Association, Newburyport, MA, 1992 and 1993
Kittery Art Association, Kittery, ME, 2012 through 2020 (Spotlight Artist: April, 2017)
Morgan Gallery, Kittery, ME, two separate shows in 2016 and 2017
The Barn Gallery Regional Show, Ogunquit, ME, 2017 and
Haley Art Gallery, Kittery, Me, 2019 and 2020.

Maryse Newton, Thomas K. Merriam, and Lucy Johnson October - Dec 2020

Multitalented artists Maryse Newton, Thomas K. Merriam, and Lucy Johnson bring color, calmness and their love of nature to our Library walls this fall. Maryse finds balance and calm on the distant horizon and energy in the fresh Maine Salt air. Thomas’s paintings, wood sculptures and sign carvings reflect his roots as a Maine native. His lifelong observation of the “wilds of nature” is captured in many of his paintings of local (and not so local) animals. Lucy Johnson (1946-2016) was a multi-media artist who lived in Eliot. Her paintings offer us a safe haven for an engaging visual experience.

Maryse Newman
Maine Coast III – acrylic – 30” x 48”
Maine Sparkle – acrylic – 48” x 24”

Lucy Johnson
Untitled – Oil – 34” x 40”
Untitled – Oil – 40” x 46”

Tom Merriam
Covid Lion – Oil – 64” x 44”