A Long Wait is an event series and platform for artistic inquiry that uses Fort Gorges – located at the entrance to Casco Bay outside of Portland, Maine – as context, material, and site for performance, sound, video, and social practice artworks. The public is invited to join in weekend excursions to the fort, during which participating artists facilitate inventive and meaningful engagement with this military structure turned public park. Responding to the fort as icon and conceptual inspiration, this project aims to finally give purpose to this site, whose arresting physical presence belies the banality of its true history.
Fort Gorges has stood at the entrance to Casco Bay in Maine since 1858. The fort is one of the most dramatic visual landmarks in the area, however its history is a tale of prolonged waiting and unfulfilled expectations. The fort was first proposed following the War of 1812, but was not completed until after the end of the American Civil War, more than 50 years later. In a strange twist of fate, by the time it was completed, modern explosives had made the fort obsolete. A modernization plan was begun in 1869, but funding was cut off in 1876, with the third level of the fort still unfinished. After this it was stripped of its artillery and used as storage until it was acquired by the city of Portland in 1960.
Erin Colleen Johnson
Support for A Long Wait has been generously provided by SPACE Gallery through The Kindling Fund. A Long Wait wouldn’t be possible without the work of Friends of Fort Gorges.