Rebekah Raye is surrounded by nature in her Maine home, and it inspires the artwork she does every day. “It doesn’t seem to matter where I am,” she says, “the sight of an animal, near or far, calls my attention. They are consistently in my dreams and daily thoughts. It is a celebration of their lives with us that I wish to interpret and share. I am compelled to paint them, sculpt them and love them.”

She kicks off the Wendell Gilley Museum’s 2023 People-Nature-Art series with an in-person event at the Gilley on Tuesday, Jan. 17 that includes a 5:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. presentation about the interplay of nature and art in her work, and a book signing. Books will be available for purchase at the event. The presentation also will be livecast via Zoom.

This monthly series brings artists, writers, carvers, and creative types of all kinds to the Gilley to explore how nature and art interact in their work, and how their art impacts their own approach nature. All 12 programs in this year’s series are proudly sponsored by our friends at Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.

“At Bar Harbor Bank &Trust, we take great pride in partnering with area nonprofits doing important work to keep the community engaged. Wendell Gilley Museum is a wonderful example of this. We are excited to support this special artist series and look forward to the positive impact throughout the region,” says Lisa Parsons, senior vice president regional marketing manager.

Raye is an artist beloved for her bird and animal paintings and sculpture, which are derived from her affinity with the natural world around her studio in East Blue Hill. She also illustrates children’s books and has written two of her own: “The Very Best Bed” and “Bear-ly There.” Her paintings and sculpture are in galleries throughout Maine.

“The Gilley Museum aims to bring people closer to nature through art – those are our guiding words,” says Sean Charette, the museum’s director. “It’s hard to think of anyone who epitomizes that better than Rebekah Raye. We are thrilled to have her launch the 2023 series, and so pleased that she will be with us in person.”

There is no admission fee, but registration is required online. Please indicate whether you will attend in person or online, and whether you will attend the reception. Sign up at

If you have questions, please contact Melinda Rice-Schoon, director of engagement & communications, at