“Marsh Frankfort Dusk September” by Kerstin Engman.

BELFAST — The Mid-Coast Salon exhibit “Art Matters” opens Wednesday, Aug. 4, at the H. Allen and Sally Fernald Art Gallery at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave. The show is free and open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A free public reception for the show will be held Wednesday, Aug. 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Mid-Coast Salon is a monthly discussion group of two dozen accomplished artists brought together by their love for and commitment to art. In this exhibit, 16 artists present 54 diverse works of drawing, painting, photography, pottery and flex-forms. Participants include nationally known Belfast painter Harold Garde, now in his 99th year. Garde’s painting, “Tell a Story” is one of the few he’s done “where it felt appropriate to incorporate words.”

A significant component of the show is a collection of statements by the artists on why art matters.

“Artists are often at the forefront of progress, showing us something we otherwise wouldn’t experience,” said David Estey, painter and founder of Mid-Coast Salon.

Kerstin Engman, who teaches art at the University of Maine, says that most human-made things exist because of a skilled, trained artist or artisan. With his mixed-media pieces, Greg Mason Burns makes the point that artists matter in bringing us their personal backgrounds and attachments.

“Bulaki Was A Worker” by Greg Mason Burns.

Several artists interpret society, like Lesia Sochor’s “repair” series, Leslie Woods’ Black history paintings and Liv Kristin Robinson’s landscape photographs, where stillness is a metaphor for the pandemic. Carol Sloane’s figure drawings tremble uncertainly around fragile spaces. Jack Silverio, Bob Richardson, Frederick Kuhn and Michael Corden mesmerize viewers with paradox through seeming simplicity. Kenny Cole offers three new political works and former Camden-Rockport teacher Russell Kahn adds sgraffito pottery. The paintings of UMaine professor Ed Nadeau and New York’s Andrea Assael encourage us to contemplate and interpret their open narratives.

This show, which was first exhibited in July at the UMVA Gallery at Portland Media Center, will be on display through Sept. 30. For information or to request an accommodation, contact Abby Spooner at hutchinsoncenter@maine.edu.

“En Route Series 2020 #2” by Liv Kristin Robinson.

“Olice – Oh Lease on Life” by Leslie Woods.