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Artist piques youngsters’ interest with temporary gallery in Madawaska

MADAWASKA, Maine — Artist Dan Cayer officially opened the doors of his 401 Tip Top Gallery with a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday evening in the Kmart parking lot shopping center.

About 30 people came through the doors to celebrate the temporary gallery and Cayer’s art which will be available for viewing for two weeks.

As their grandmother, Diane Gervais, watches, the young Doucette sisters, Leilani, left, and Gwynavere, learn about simple machines turned complex through artist Dan Cayer’s interactive slinky sculpture at the 401 Tip Top Gallery in Madawaska on Friday, Aug. 3. (Morgan Mitchell)

Among the art pieces were sculptures made from clothing hangers, old computer parts, slinkies and all the bells and whistles to make smaller children as happy as can be.

“The materials give the most inspiration for art,” Cayer said. “I just play with them until something is there. I’d love to get groups of kids through here — every age.”

Leilani, 3, and Gwynavere, 2, Doucette explored the art gallery with mother Mindie Krajewski and grandmother Diane Gervais. The girls were welcomed to climb onto certain pieces of the art and interact with the moveable parts, learning and exploring in ways that aren’t available in schools, Krajewski said.

“They don’t have a lot of this stuff in school anymore, so we think it is important to expose the kids at a young age,” Krajewski said. “We want to show them that there is more [out there] than just history, or geography, or math …”

While the younger children played with the art, several teenagers stopped in to see what was going on in the location that was previously the popular Cubby Thrift Store. Mackenzie Cyr, 17, entered the gallery with her friend and immediately began checking out the interactive art.

“I’m into [the gallery] because of the art,” said Cyr. “If they did stuff like this more often, I even think that the teens would get more involved in the community.”

The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until about a week after the Acadian Festival ends, when Cayer will remove his art and continue to work, as he has for a few years, toward opening a permanent studio in Grand Isle.

Friends Jan and Steve Young also are showcasing their artwork at the temporary gallery in Madawaska over the next few days. Jan specializes in stained glass art, much of which you can purchase from the gallery, and Steve is displaying his landscape photography.

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