The City of Waterville has recently undertaken initiatives to reimagine its streetscape, its downtown, and its economy and is on the verge of major changes that will significantly alter the downtown landscape. In this exhibition, Common Street Arts has brought together the photographs of Gary Green, Associate Professor Art at Colby College, with a collection of documentary and vernacular images of Waterville taken during the years 1890 through 2017. This combined presentation offers a range of perspectives on Waterville’s past and its recent transformation, pointing to a hopeful future. Picturing Waterville invites the viewer to consider the impact, challenges, and opportunities presented by a changing Waterville. It also provides space for reflection on Waterville’s history, current changes underway, and emerging possibilities for the future.
Gary Green’s large photographic series Elm City, comprises several smaller groups of photographs that look at Waterville through its undeveloped and changing spaces, the facades of its neighborhoods and downtown, and the interiors of buildings that have long past their usefulness. Building to an epilogue that considers the recasting of certain important structures—Levines Department Store becoming a boutique hotel, Judy’s Wig Shop an up-to-date retail space—the work invites viewers to consider the difficulty of planning the urban landscape when outside circumstances such as widespread change in manufacturing trends and a national recession challenge any small city’s ability to keep the city relevant and functional. Green began the series in 2008 and continues to add to its narrative as this show is being planned.
The Waterville Historical Society collects, catalogues and preserves historical documents, photographs, and biographical materials related to the history of Waterville. Through the programs of the Waterville Historical Society’s Redington Museum, the Society presents community events and exhibitions designed to promote and preserve Waterville’s cultural and historic legacy.
This exhibition is designed to increase ongoing collaborative initiatives with our cultural partners and provide accessible and creative programming for residents and visitors to the State. The associated public programs are designed to encourage broad participation and engagement throughout the greater Waterville community. Waterville Creates! would like to extend its deep appreciation to the many organizations who collaborated to realize this exhibition and its associated programming: Waterville Public Library, Waterville Historical Society, and the Art Department and Museum of Art at Colby College.