Sculpting a love for art at Lew-Port
Piece by two local artists opens new Center for the Arts

By Angie Lucarini 7 hrs ago


Angie R. Lucarini/contributor Michael Hibbard and Dan Buttery stand in front of the sculpture they were commissioned to do for Lew-Port’s new Center for the Arts.


Sculpting a love for art at Lew-Port
Angie R. Lucarini/contributor Principal Jake Taft, art teachers Cindy Sanchez, Carrie Popielski, Brett Coppins and Michael Hibbard and Dan Buttery, pose with the sculpture that Hibbard and Buttery completed for the school's new Center for the Arts. The group is now working together to create an art gallery at the school which will be open to the public.
“Choose a career path that allows you to do what you love and doesn’t feel like work. This will result in happiness,” says Michael Hibbard, local artist and restaurateur.

Hibbard, owner of The Gallo Coal Fire restaurant in Lewiston, recently joined forces with some former teachers, as he and business partner, Dan Buttery collaborated on a new artistic endeavor to showcase the new Center for the Arts at Lewiston-Porter High School.

The project is a 15-foot contemporary sculpture piece which includes a lancer helmet in the lobby at the high school. The project is now growing beyond a single sculpture.

“We have since installed that piece, and have been talking to the superintendent about an overall art project and expansion of a gallery space open to the public, which he has approved” Hibbard said.

Hibbard and Buttery first met at Lew-Port, where they both attended school. “We really didn’t become good friends until I started construction on Gallo where we really hit it off,” recalled Hibbard.

Though they met before, years earlier, they had never really talked about their work. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that a mutual friend would bring them together again. “We have similar visions with artwork and we can relate with our businesses,” Buttery said.

Hibbard’s restaurant is decorated with Buttery’s metal sculptures because, though Hibbard is passionate about cooking, he also has a love for industrial design.  

Buttery began his love of art long ago as a kid. “Growing up, I always had an interest in buildings, car design and construction, which is reflected in a lot of my work.”

His inspiration came from his father. “As a young kid, I would watch my father who was a mechanic and woodworker,” Buttery said. From there, he went on to welding, metal fabrication, and painting and restoring cars, his favorite being his ‘69 Chevy pickup.

Art teachers Brett Coppins, Cindy Sanchez and Carrie Popielski, all of whom taught Hibbard, are collaborating with Hibbard and Buttery to create the new gallery.

“It’s a really amazing experience to be able to work with two alumni and a former student that come and make such a significant piece and integral addition to our school, as we transition this wing into the Center For The Arts,” Coppins said.  

The new gallery, where students, teachers and local artists will be able to showcase their work, will be part of the new Center for the Arts in the school’s newest renovated area.

With his collaborations with Hibbard now displayed at the high school, Buttery hopes to encourage young people today. He believes that art is everywhere, in clothes, music, even in food. When asked what advice he would give to students, he said “Don’t limit yourself.” “Try to learn everything and anything you can to be a stronger and smarter person. I have learned a lot of different things in order to be able to create art and furniture pieces.”

Unilaterally, these teachers, artists, and administrators have expressed hope about this ongoing project, including the principal, Jake Taft. “For me, it anchors a purpose in terms of creating students that can contribute to society, as our artists Mike and Dan have contributed back to their alma-mater as community members and alumni,” Taft said.

For more information, go to, or call the school at 286-7263.