Best 2014: Arts & Entertainment Winners

Find out who won Best Hip Hop Venue, Best Maine Author, Best Non-Gallery Art Space, Best Street/Performance Artist, and more!

Best Art Gallery: SPACE Gallery
Without fail, SPACE offers the best, most thoughtful, and daring art works in their galleries year after year. Whether the artists they seek out are taking on color perception (like Natalie Lanese’s “Popscapes” and Marques Bostic’s “Embers”), climate change effects (the Portland Society for Architecture’s “Waterfront Visions 2050”), the history of signage (last fall’s “Steady Work” group show) or gender dimensions and menstruation (Greta Bank’s “NSFW”), SPACE exhibits consistently raise the bar for how we think about form, culture, and our own environments. Having learned to perfectly juggle the Annex and the gallery window spaces, there are now almost always three unique shows at all times — a local distinction matched only by the Portland Museum of Art, who can rarely afford to take chances as bold as what happens here.
538 Congress St, Portland | 207.828.5600 |

Best Dance Club/Night
See “Best Pick-Up Spot” in City Life.

Best Dance Performer: G-Tric Dance Crew
Whether they’re tearing up the dance floor at Bubba’s, participating in a Thriller flash mob downtown, or performing hip-hop inspired routines at local dance shows, the smokin’ hot members of the G-Tric Dance Crew know how to work it. Based in Westbrook and founded just last year by local dancer and choreographer Kristin Sutton, this group shows off sharp pops and locks, in sync turns, and attitude to boot. They’ll have any audience begging for an encore.

Best Folk Venue: One Longfellow Square
One Longfellow is undergoing a makeover. Having switched to a non-profit structure a couple years back, they’re now investing more fully into local music — a welcome plot given how many small venues have fallen in the last year. Their new Live & Local nights every Tuesday bring one, usually two artists together for a super-cheap price, their jazz matinees are one-of-a-kind, and they continue to offer local artists prime opening slots for touring acts. It’s a great move — who wouldn’t want to play an intimate stage with a rapt audience like that? And we applaud their recent decision to open the curtains during shows, allowing the delirious nightlife of Longfellow Square a glimpse of how warm it is inside (a welcome flash of transparency for a venue located right next to the dark, shadowy Video Expo). Unquestionably the best spot to see time-honored folk shows; we’re glad they’re paying more attention to the new wave.
181 State St, Portland | 207.761.1757 |


Best Graffiti Artist Mike Rich, at work.

Best Graffiti Artist: Mike Rich
Mike Rich has been doing graffiti in Portland since he was 10. And over those years, he’s developed a profound sense of ethics while practicing an art form that many consider to be unethical by definition. His m.o. — that graffiti is a type of art that exists whether you like it or not — is more a spiritual ethos than a confrontational one, though he’d be the first to bring up a philosophical discussion about the difference between graffiti and ad billboards in public space. Graffiti art is as old as the hills and isn’t going away; we’re lucky to have students of the craft in our city as knowledgeable and respectful as Mike Rich.

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