Biddeford and neighboring Saco are changing fast with the energy Maine’s creative economy inspires. The mills have become homes for creative entrepreneurs. Downtown there are more cafes, pubs, bookstores, restaurants, and other new businesses. That’s why a new Maine artist collective, Autus, choose the town for their base of operations.In Latin, Autus means growth.

Autus formed late in 2014 and recently opened its first exhibition at Engine, a Main Street arts center and gallery.

The recent Autus show, which includes the work of each member of the collective, Keiren Valentine, Sarah Baldwin Julie K. Gray and Tina Guays is up through March 21. They all studied art in college, have other jobs in fields related to their art, and all intend to make their studio practices a part of their professional careers.

They want to add members to their collective and will host a question-and-answer session and portfolio review at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Engine. It’s an opportunity for other artists to meet the collective and receive feedback about their own work. It’s also a chance for anyone, artist or otherwise, to learn more about Biddeford’s art scene.

Autus exhibitions will focus on young artists with active studio practices who have little gallery representation.

Engine formed in 2010 to promote arts, culture and economic development in Biddeford. It was founded on the belief that artistic expression and creativity lead to cultural, social and economic revitalization. In addition to showing art, the gallery hosts workshops, classes and arts-related events. Engine is renovating the former Renys on Main Street and will move into that space later this year.

The work of the art collective works in connection with Engine’s role in the community.Biddeford’s abundant mill space and affordable rents relative to Portland have made it a magnet for artists and creative entrepreneurs.

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