About the Eastern Prom
by Alexey Pismenny
Portland, Maine is built around a harbor on a hill. The harbor is Casco Bay; the hill is Munjoy. Small islands dot the approach to the harbor. Beyond them there is the open Atlantic and the shortest sea route from the United States to Northern Europe.
A street curves along Munjoy Hill. On the Western side there is a walkway, the steep slope of the hill, railroad tracks, docks, warehouses and a marina, the bay and the ocean. On its Eastern side, Victorian mansions are lined up across the hilltop.
The street is called Eastern Promenade, but New Englanders are people of few syllables, so they call it Eastern Prom.
I arrived to Portland in 1988, among the last that could claim political asylum as a refugee from the Soviet Union. That regime and the Iron Curtain it built collapsed in a few years. These were times filled with hope for so many people. When I needed a name for my software development business, "Eastern Prom Group" came to mind naturally: I liked the hint of "promise" that the name contained, as well as the alliteration with hard work that a Russian ear detects.
Many years later my family and I left Maine. The computer industry changed beyond recognition. My software development business closed, but I did not want to retire the name. I now divide my time between painting and engineering work. The Eastern Prom has changed to an online gallery for the "Eastern Promise". Here, I'd like to showcase the profound, sincere, meditative, rooted in tradition work of the artists I am privileged to know.