A Valentine’s Museum Love Letter Week: Farnsworth Art Museum, Maine

By Ben Wuoristo, February 9, 2024

Dearest Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland in Maine,

Every time my leather-laced boots meet the polish of your wooden floors, I am almost overwhelmed by the welcoming feeling of familiarity and serenity. Since opening long before I was born in 1948, you have served as a little sanctuary between all the gift shops and cafes on the charming Main Street of Rockland, Maine.

Showcasing artworks that reflect the essence of the rugged landscapes I have traveled to, forests dense with rain-slicked trees emitting the sweet smell of summer balsam, fields of swaying grass that dance with flowers trimmed with lace, and misty seas that rise and fall in melancholic mania. Yet, amidst these familiar vignettes, your art still unveils worlds I’ve not yet traveled, ample for exploration. As I stroll through your winding hallways, I feel good among other visitors and staff who find a home in you. From the security guard with a soft and inviting smile to the gentle touch of Wyeth’s granddaughter’s tapping finger on my shoulder, every interaction further reminds me of the gentle nature of our home and the tenderness of Maine.

Interior of the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. Photo: Ben Wuoristo.

Your glass panels housing depictions of prickling pine trees meeting the horizon of the vast ocean serve as a window to the world beyond the text that anchors your walls. As I gaze past my reflection, I transcend my surroundings, pushing past the curtains of consciousness. I become enveloped in a cacophony of cries from gray gulls, the gentle sighing of the wind, and the ever-crescendoing crash of waves. In that fleeting moment, you and I stand harmoniously, eerily still in a cold isolation that only a fair few could find comforting.

Awakening from my reverie, I become grounded by the reassuring creak of your hardwood floors that guide my curious and wanderlust footsteps through your labyrinthine galleries. I can’t help but think of the meticulous work your guardians have done to make you so very splendid. The direction of Christopher Brownawell keeps the breath flowing within you, and the curation of Jaime DeSimone weaves a spanning web of cultural richness. Through every exhibition, I witness your unwavering desire to bridge the gap between the past and present, wonderfully executed by Ann Scheflen.

In the embrace of your pigment-rich walls, I find a home lush with inspiration and wonder. A striking example of escapism and enrichment through art is what you are. Quietly standing in a still town, you’re humble yet endlessly magnificent. I love you.


Ben Wuoristo

Staircase in the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. Photo: Ben Wuoristo.