Bringing Portland’s Best to You

Portland has such a vibrant art community, and we’ve chosen to showcase some of the local talent here, in Maine, through a rotating gallery in common spaces at The Francis. Each exhibit will either feature an artist or subject from Maine. 

MJ Benson

From an article on MaineToday.com:

“Benson describes her paintings as abstract land and seascapes. Most start and end with the horizon, though the horizon line is not always the most evident piece of the final image. Her inspiration comes from the ocean.

“I’m really looking at the personal manifestation of memory, mine and the viewers,” she said. “I love hearing about what people see in my work. I’m not afraid to play with tension between representation and non-representational. It’s about starting a conversation about how paintings evoke and create memories from the past, in the moment and toward the future.”

She wants her paintings to feel fluid with the ability to change within the mind’s eye, rather than feel specific about a time and place.

Benson grew up on the water in Cohasset, Massachusetts, and moved to Boston as a teenager. Moving to the city at that age opened her up to galleries, street performers and counter-culture. The fuse was lit. She’s been an artist most of her life.

She took photography courses in high school, studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Tufts University. She taught and practiced photography for many years and took up painting a few years ago. She has taken courses at Haystack Mountain School of Craft and Maine College of Art, and shown her paintings publicly since 2016.”


What People Say

We love our guests and they love us back
Gem in Portland!

So glad we stayed at the Francis on a recent weekend getaway to Portland. The hotel is charming, the rooms are large, the service was great, and there are wonderful small touches throughout the property. The surrounding area is less touristy than near those hotels in Old Port, but we found that to be a net positive. There are a number of excellent bars and restaurants within walking distance (try Hot Suppa, Bao Bao, and The Bramhall). Would definitely stay here again.

Lovely Boutique Hotel

Accommodations were great - room was comfortable & clean. Staff was helpful & welcoming. The location was good for sightseeing - we were able to walk around Portland from there.

Perfect getaway

The Francis is a beautiful boutique hotel with friendly and knowledgeable staff. Staff went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable Rooms are very clean and unique , Bose speaker to use while taking a shower. The Francis is so conveniently located close to the downtown Portland shops and just across from a great bakery and coffee shop... this is a must stay ... we will definitely be back.

Favorite place in Portland

Great place to stay. Staff was wonderful. Clean and new accommodations. We were able to get an early check in and a late checkout via text message. I would recommend getting the Terrace if possible!!!

Super friendly staff!

Our stay was during the covid19 pandemic. The staff was super friendly and due to limited numbers of travelers, we felt like we had the place to ourselves. It feels like a hotel meets bed and breakfast. There is a lot of charm and character and it is cozy. Great beds and wonderful showers.