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Culture and Arts

Culture, Art and Community in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport

The Towns of Kennebunk, Kennebukport and Cape Porpoises are best known for the splendid coastline and pristine beaches, but there is so much more to this seaside community. The Kennebunks offer year round cultural events, a vibrant social life with festivals, art gallery showings, musical concerts, historical lectures and education opportunities.

Art in the Kennebunks

It's no surprise that artists and photographers are drawn to this spectacularly scenic part of Maine, and they tend to stay for the change of season and the strong community here. The extensive art community in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk hosts frequent exhibits and openings in local galleries like Maine Gallery, River Tree Arts, Mast Cove, plus countless other independent artist shops and boutiques. Craft fairs throughout the year attract local artisans to show their talents, and you can find unique Maine made items direct from the source.

Shoppers and collectors of rare treasure will find plenty of boutiques, antique shops and the occasional estate sale to browse for that one of a kind Maine gem or handcrafted furniture. All of the artisans, shop keepers and craftspeople that make Kennebunk their home are inspired by the natural beauty, the seaside village traditions and the quality of life that is offered year round.

Entertainment

Throughout the year, musical events bring added excitement to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Live outdoor concerts are a weekly event on church and park lawns in the summer. Choirs and carolers are popular around the holidays – especially Christmas Prelude when the town of Kennebunkport is decked to the nines in holiday decoration and cheer. Vinegar Hill is an intimate venue that provides entertainers with a superlative, vibrant setting to showcase their talents. Featuring a variety of genres, like cabaret, classical, rock, folk and blues. Vinegar Hill Music resides in the former Arundel Barn Playhouse, a timber barn known as the Smith Sister's Farm. Located in an area of Kennebunkport's Arundel, historically known as Vinegar Hill, the venue's name honors that history. When attending one of our performances, arrive early to enjoy the charming outdoor garden area and one of our signature cocktails from the rustic Garden Bar. Social seating and twinkling globe lights create a relaxing setting and set the tone for an evening of incrediable entertainment. The Maine Shakespeare festival offers plays in the park, and Seaglass Performing Arts also put on musicals, plays and skits throughout the year. Nearby, The Ogunquit Playhouse, The Portland Symphony, Maine State Ballet and Seacoast Repertory offer productions of top caliber. There are movie theatres and dance halls just a few miles away as well.

The dining scene in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport has become quite sophisticated in recent years. Top chefs have brought innovative cuisine to our community, using local produce from farmers’ markets, native beef and artisan cheese. Dining in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise is and event in and of itself - often including cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and pairings, and live music.

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport Historical Societies, Museums and Exhibits

The Kennebunks' rich nautical and maritime heritage is celebrated at historical societies like the Brick Store Museum, the Kennebunkport Historical Society and the Nott House where changing exhibits capture the past of this special seaside community, and help preserve treasured sites. As you tour the Kennebunks, you witness some fine examples of early Colonial and Federal architecture in New England. So many beautiful seaside and riverside homes have been beautifully preserved. Guided walking tours from the Brick Store Museum and the Kennebunkport Historical Society provide fascinating insight into how these homes were constructed, and maintained. Historic seaside mansions, and Captain’s homes along the Kennebunk River where shipbuilding was once the main stay, are often open for special events and fundraisers.

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport Land Trusts are actively engaged in protecting the environment for the enjoyment of everyone, and they host special events all year round. Many philanthropists make their home in Kennebunk and the charitable events that take place annual are testaments to that, as are past Presidents’ participation in golf tournaments and celebrity events.

For train enthusiasts, The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport is a nationally recognized transportation museum and one of the finest collections of trolleys, trains and early transportation. The Landing School is an authentic boating building school that is preserving the traditions of wooden boat building in Kennebunk by teaching this time-honored craft to current students.

Museums, Symphonies & Other Organizations:

  • Brick Store Museum
  • Kennebunkport Historical Society
  • River Tree Arts
  • Vinegar Hill Music Theatre
  • Seaglass Performing Arts
  • Ogunquit Playhouse
  • Laudholm Farm, Wells National Estuarine Sanctuary
  • Seashore Trolley Museum
  • The Nott House
  • Numerous art & antique galleries and many social services organizations for all interest groups.

Within a 30 minute drive:

  • Portland Museum of Art
  • Children's Museum of Art
  • Portland Symphony
  • Strawberry Banke Museum
  • Seacoast Repertory Theater
  • Various community theater & orchestral groups

Universities & Schools:

  • University of New England (UNE), Biddeford
  • University of Southern Maine (USM), Gorham & Portland
  • The Landing Boat School, Kennebunkport
  • York County Community College, Wells

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