More than 40 exhibiting artists working in a variety of mediums make up the Bridgton Art Guild which owns and operates Gallery 302. We are an artist's collective in the truest sense of the term. Together, we manage the day-to-day functions of the year-round Gallery.
Annual Members Meeting 2021
On a spring day in 2003, Eve Abreu and George Bradt were walking their dogs when George asked what Eve liked about living in Bridgton, and what she missed about life in Newburyport, MA. Eve said an important thing she missed was an art gallery. To that, George remarked: "Well, why can't we just start an art gallery?" Eve though that was an outrageous, yet intriguing idea. Not having any idea how to start a gallery, they decided to put an announcement in the Bridgton News asking artists and art supporters to come to a meeting at the Community Center to discuss creating an art gallery in Bridgton.
On May 5th, 2003, a crowd of 40 interested folks showed up and were treated to pizza, made by George. Attendees were excited about the prospect of having a gallery in town and agreed that it should be open by July, only two months away! There were those who thought it couldn't be done in such a short time, but the enthusiastic majority catapulted the group forward.
At the first meeting, a group volunteered to be the Board of Directors. This included Ernie Kozen - President; George Bradt - Vice President; Lynn Harrison and Elna Stone - Co-Secretaries, and Nancy Smoak - Treasurer. A short while later, Beth Cossey took over for George as Vice President.
Gallery 302 opened temporarily in June 2003 with an art show hosted by the Lakes Environmental Association, which needed a new venue for its annual show. Shortly thereafter the exhibiting artists moved in, and the public was invited to share in a celebratory opening reception on July 25, 2003.
Those who attended the initial meeting - strangers for the most part - got to know each other quickly and became a team working to make a shared dream come true. While there were tough decisions to be made, accompanied by spiritual discussions, all of it was overshadowed by the outcome of a talented group of people working toward a common goal: the creation of a gallery in our sweet Bridgton village.