A rendering shows what the Umbrella Sky project would look like on Cross Street in downtown Bangor, should Bangor city council approve the art installation. Credit: Courtesy of Downtown Bangor Partnership

An international art installation featuring a canopy of multicolored umbrellas hanging over a city street may soon come to downtown Bangor.

The Umbrella Sky Project, created by Portuguese art company Impactplan, is inspired by Mary Poppins and seeks to protect and shade public spaces while bringing a sense of fantasy and whimsy to otherwise mundane, monochromatic city streets.

In addition to bringing color and visual interest to the area, the art installation is intended to draw more attention and foot traffic to a frequently overlooked part of downtown Bangor and the small businesses there.

The multicolored umbrellas would be installed above Cross Street, which runs between Main and Columbia streets in downtown Bangor. The umbrellas would be held aloft by steel ropes mounted in the walls of the buildings on either side of Cross Street, according to the proposal.

Circular planters and benches designed to look like overturned umbrellas would also be scattered along the street as part of the installation.

The Bangor city council business and economic development committee will consider whether to approve the seasonal art installation on Tuesday. If it clears the committee, the proposal will need final approval from the Bangor City Council next week.

Since the first installation of the Umbrella Sky Project appeared in Portugal in 2012, iterations have popped up in major cities across the world including Paris, London, Istanbul and Dubai.

Although installations have also appeared in a few U.S. cities, including Miami and Philadelphia, Bangor’s would be the first in Maine.

The Downtown Bangor Partnership began exploring how to bring the Umbrella Sky Project to the Queen City three years ago but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the initiative, Betsy Lundy, the group’s executive director, said.

Lundy said the organization liked the “Instagrammable” quality of the display and believed bringing the project to Bangor would put the city on the list of major cities across the world that have hung the colorful umbrellas.

In addition to bringing visual interest to downtown Bangor, Lundy said Cross Street was chosen to host the display because it would help draw pedestrian traffic to Columbia Street and the local businesses there.

“It’s a beautiful street, but because it’s a one-way street, it doesn’t see a lot of traffic,” Lundy said. “It would take a place that’s overlooked and create an oasis for people to stop and engage with it. It would give Cross Street its own identity and flavor.”

Cross Street was also selected because it’s across the street from the Maine Discovery Museum, and the multicolored umbrellas would “add to the whimsy of the area,” Lundy said.

The project is entirely funded by Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, though Downtown Bangor Partnership may ask the city to help install the display.

The installation would go up in May and be taken down in October every year for three years, as that’s what Downtown Bangor Partnership has received funding for. After three years, the organization can seek additional funding and install new materials to continue the project.

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...