Arts society celebrates 30 years

Former China resident, Marilyn Dwelley, one of the organization’s founders

Submitted by Mary Morrison
Pauline Turner and Pat Binette

Two of the four founders of Waterville Area Art Society, Pauline Turner and Pat Binette, each holding one of their original paintings. The founders not pictured are Marilyn Dwelley, now residing in Florida, and the late Peggy Stowers. Contributed photo

Waterville Area Art Society (WAAS) will celebrate the 30th year of its founding during the month of October, at the Winslow Public Library, October 3 – 28, with a reception to be held October 6. Forty members, both past and present, will display their art. Also on display will be the history of the Art Society as well as artwork from each of the four founders.

The opening reception is Thursday, October 6, at the Winslow Public Library from 4:30 to 7 p.m. At 6 p.m. the founding members, Patricia Binette, Marilyn Dwelley, Pauline Turner, and Peggy Stowers (deceased) will be honored.  Refreshments will be served.

In 1986, WAAS was founded to stimulate awareness of visual arts in the Waterville area, exchange ideas, encourage beginners, and to steer young students to a career in art, the enjoyment of art or art as a second profession. The four founders, Binette, Dwelley, Stowers and Turner have served as inspirations to many aspiring artists through their art, work ethic, teaching and ideals.

The Art Society currently has 51 members from communities such as Emden, the Belgrades, Smithfield and Augusta, and towns in the Greater Waterville area. These artists work in many media, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, printmaking, encaustic, digital art, three dimensional art, wood, graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, photography and mixed media.

Founder Peggy Stowers was the first president of WAAS. She lived in Fairfield and taught and made art in her West Street home for many years. Peggy studied under Muriel Ragsdale and participated in many workshops as a student and as a teacher. Using a variety of media she was inspired by her faith and the natural world and exhibited in many locations.  She is remembered by co-founder, Pat Binette as “a wonderful friend, teacher and artist.”

Pat Binette owns Earth Spirit Studio, in Fairfield, and has been a devoted art teacher to students of all ages for more than 20 years. She studied at various University of Maine campuses. Her art has been shown at Colby and Thomas Colleges, area businesses and juried art shows and galleries throughout the state. She works in a variety of media and enjoys experimenting with new techniques. She states, “I must have an emotional connection to my work; my inspirations come from life experiences and deep reverence for the environment”.

Founder Pauline Turner works in watercolor. As a young child before starting school she reports that she was always drawing with pencils.  When her mother thought she spent too much time drawing, a great aunt encouraged her, saying, “She’s going to be an artist.” At school, a nun who had studied at the Sorbonne, was her art teacher. Pauline says, “If I was naughty I couldn’t take art class but one of the other nuns gave me art activities to do.” Pauline has taught and exhibited in many venues. Her favorite subject is landscapes, especially the ocean, and she takes inspiration from the Impressionists. She says, “I see beauty in everything and everyone and find peace looking at nature.” She can’t imagine a life without art as it has made her life so much fuller.  “My greatest satisfaction has come from former students and other people coming by at an art show and complimenting me,” she says.

Founder Marilyn Dwelley, formerly of China, Maine, now lives in Zephyrhills, Florida. She started painting in seventh grade when a cousin gave her some unwanted oil paints and brushes, and she began using acrylics in 1976. She is self-taught and for more than 40 years has sold art professionally.  A recipient of more than 375 awards in art shows in New England and Florida, she has sold over 1,300 original paintings during her career.  She specializes in Maine scenes and wildflowers and is the author and illustrator of three field guides for identifying wildflowers, trees and shrubs. “I am a naturalist,” she says, “who loves Maine and its beauty. I want my trees and flowers to be botanically correct in color and shape. My goal in creating a painting is to help others see the beauty of God’s creation through my eyes.” Marilyn founded the Maine Open Juried Art Show (MOJAS) that is held each spring and continues to be affiliated with WAAS. She established and funded an acrylic landscape award for both MOJAS and the Intown Artsfest in Waterville.

The art show will be open for the public to enjoy at the Winslow Library (open daily, except for Sunday) during the month of October.  After this exhibit concludes at the library, it will move to The Framemakers in Waterville from mid-November to mid-January.


Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!

If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?

The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.

To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!

1 reply
  1. Avatar
    Fran Vitolo says:

    Wonderful to see my dear friends from WAAS!
    It’s been a long time since we were the first members of the fledgling art society and I’m so glad to see Pat, Polly, Marilyn are happily sharing their art for our enjoyment.
    Be Well,
    Fran Vitolo


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *