OGUNQUIT — The Ogunquit Museum of American Art was a delightful surprise. Housed in a rather unremarkable, low-slung building, it’s off the main tourist drag on the other side of the water from popular Perkins Cove. But when we stepped into the lobby we instantly realized why, six decades ago, Maine painter Henry Strater picked this location for his growing collection of American art, and why hundreds of other American artists were drawn to this very spot. The view, straight ahead through the lobby’s glass windows, was captivating: Pretty pocket gardens perched on a promontory overlooking the cove; the rocky coastline and open ocean stretched beyond.
This year, the intimate, nationally-recognized museum will celebrate its 60th anniversary with special exhibits and events, and a renewed focus to showcase the very best American Modernists. Although the museum officially opened in 1953, its roots are some 60 years older.