In 1962, Lajos Matolcsy formed an arts organization, the Western Maine Art Group. The original members included Lajos’s students Lee Bean, Anne Beyer, Ellie Viles, and Marion Stewart. The group met at the Matolcsy home in South Paris.
By 1966, the group had expanded beyond the home of its founder and began to look for a permanent home. At the same time, the towns of Norway and Paris were working towards a school consolidation that would leave an old one-room schoolhouse on Main Street in Norway available for other uses.
The group seized the opportunity. After some negotiations and with the help of the Town of Norway, they were able to purchase the school, which to this day remains the home of the Western Maine Art Group (WMAG).
Norway Arts Festival roots are deep. In 1967, the WMAG created an art show that started a tradition of a summertime public arts festival along the historic Main Street of Norway know as the Sidewalk Art Festival.
In 2003, under the direction of Norway Downtown, a committee of energetic and committed community members assembled to organize a new incarnation of the festival built around the Sidewalk Art Show with the addition of vibrant performances, a celebration of Norway’s historic past and the first Poets on the Porch.
In 2008, a collaborative partnership formed between Norway Downtown (ND) and WMAG to co-sponsor the Festival and rename it the Norway Arts Festival. 2010 was the year that the Norway Arts Festival and the Town of Norway took steps to close the street for the first time bringing the Festival into a new era—an idea that has been proven to be a hit with artists and visitors.
Now in 2018 we are evolving this event even more, renaming it the NORWAY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL and growing it into a robust event with something for everyone with artists, artisans, and performers hailing from all over Maine and beyond. We hope to see you there!
History of the Norway Arts Festival
Tony Montanaro & Lajos
WMAG on Main Street, Norway
Art Opening at WMAG
Vivian Akers, Lake Pennesseewassee
PO Box 103, Norway, Maine 04268 | Copyright © 1967—2018 Norway Music & Arts Festival, All Rights Reserved | Admin