Exhibition showcases the life and work of self-proclaimed ‘World’s Greatest Artist’

BELFAST — Life-long artist Gary E. Hinte passed away in January, leaving behind his colorful art that will be exhibited at the Basil Burwell Community Theater, 17 Court Street, on July 16 from 6-8 p.m. The free public art show and reception will celebrate Hinte’s life and vibrant, whimsical work – much of it seen on the Belfast Maskers stage.

After retirement, Hinte and his wife, Carol Samuels, moved from California to Belfast, by way of Sante Fe, New Mexico and Mazatlan, Mexico. They volunteered with the Belfast Maskers for several years, lending their creative spirits, artistic and management skills to the community theater company. By the time the couple moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico, two years ago, Hinte had created a large body of scenic art and set pieces for the Maskers productions. 

Sasha Kutsy, president of the Belfast Maskers Board of Directors says, “I am really excited to be able to share Gary’s art through this show.  I have always been in awe of his talent and spirit and want others to feel what I feel when I look at his work.” The Maskers welcome everyone to celebrate Hinte’s free-spirited art at the show, which includes live music and cocktails.

In addition to being a prolific artist, Hinte’s career included owning art factories in California, creating scenery for a 600-seat Los Angeles theater, and designing large scenic backdrops for a company that provided rentals to theaters, churches and dance companies.  He was the ideal partner for a theater in need of a visual artist.

The first Maskers show that Hinte worked on was “The Addams Family Musical” in 2016.  According to Kutsy, “Gary had always dreamt about rear projection sets and this would be the first show he ever designed that had a set that could be changed at the push of a button.”  Usually those buttons were pushed by his multi-talented wife, Carol, who worked on many of the behind-the- scenes details and acted on stage. Gary also designed the sets for “Annie,” “On Golden Pond,” “Blithe Spirit” and “The Music Man.” He was an excellent teacher as well as painter, mentoring both skilled and unskilled volunteers as they built sets together. He was the subject of a feature by the Republican Journal in 2017.

Both Hinte and Samels served on the Maskers Board of Directors, advocating for the purchase of the old church turned art gallery that became the Belfast Maskers permanent home, the Basil Burwell Community Theater. 

Samuels writes of Hinte, “You should know that in these last few years he has been writing as well as painting, expanding his understanding to realize that we are all WGA’s (World’s Greatest Artists), each able to create our own work of art with our lives. He said that his art project was to save the world and that each one of us has the power to do the same if we let ourselves recognize the WGA that we are born to be.”

“Our dad was never short on dreams and schemes. An untethered creative spirit & adventurer.  Always creating things, building, imagining, and inventing. This was his way of leaning into life,” says Hinte’s daughter, Lise Jackson. She notes her father’s legacy includes “works of art scattered across the globe in the homes of many fond friends and strangers, 10,000 first pages of his novel (a nod to the ‘World’s Greatest Artist’ himself), and many delightful hand-painted scenes stored in the archives of theaters and playhouses in Los Angeles, Santa Fe and Belfast, Maine.” See more of Hinte’s art at https://www.garyhinte.com.

To raise funds for the Belfast Maskers, a separate art auction of Hinte’s work and other local artists will be held at the theater on Friday, Aug. 13 from 6-8 p.m., with auctioneer Eric Sanders.  For more call 978-979-7701; email: info@belfastmaskers.com or go to www.belfastmaskers.com/events.