Tag Archives: WPA Murals

Art Conservation at City Hall Gloucester MA

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Catherine Ryan writes-

Hi Joey

SAVING ART CULTURE HISTORY

Besides the Public Art Challenge that is happening as we speak, the Gloucester Committee for the Arts (CFTA) has other exciting news in January 2013!

Part of the work of the Committee for the Arts (CftA) includes mapping the way for appropriate and comprehensive ongoing preservation plans for the City’s art holdings. The CftA is committed to the preservation of Gloucester ’s irreplaceable cultural legacy for future generations.

Art conservation involves the cleaning, preserving, and occasionally the repairing of works of art. Art conservator, Peter Williams, will be setting up scaffolding in City Hall to commence cleaning on some of our stellar WPA murals by Charles Allan Winter (1869-1942). Williams, who has worked with museums and galleries for over 40 years and began his career as conservator with the MFA, was chosen to perform the restoration and preservation work and to complete the work in Phases as funding allows. The restoration work will be a great chance for everybody to see a very cool crossover of science and arts up close, all the while eyeing some of the very best New Deal art in the country. If you’re visiting City Hall, look up, look around! We know art can be a touchstone for so many learning disciplines. Take this chance to get a behind the scenes look at the preservation of our beloved murals. It’s a real joy to be able to look at art like these special murals, learn more about them and now, too, this opportunity to share awareness about the science of conservation.

Before any restoration work could begin, the CftA for several years spearheaded a fundraising effort and applied for grants for the painstaking process of cleaning and restoring these giant murals. Among the contributors were individuals and foundations/grants, including seARTS/Massachusetts Cultural Council, the City of Gloucester CPA funding, and the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation. Perhaps some readers may have purchased postcards at City Hall on Middle Street walk or coasters at another event all of which have contributed to this fund. With over $28,000 raised, the CftA now has the support necessary to begin Phase I for the first few murals, and will continue to raise more funds to finish the projects. We are so fortunate for these contributions. Thank you!

Here are details from two murals. This series by Charles Allan Winter wraps around the doors and architecture surrounding the lobby just outside the Mayor’s office. City Council in Session fills the space above the collector’s windows (approximately 7 feet high by eleven feet wide). City Government covers the opposite wall. Tucked in and around the arch-topped lunettes, the two-part mural, Civic Virtues, spreads across the two other opposing walls. This Winter series focuses on government themes as befitting their location, and the test of time. They offer special glimpses of our community in the 1930s as they include many portraits from life, great detail, artistry and ideas. Note the boys (youth) in the “planning” section of Civic Virtues clasping pieces from a model of the Gloucester High School .

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ABOUT THE GLOUCESTER COMMITTEE FOR THE ARTS

Made up of citizen volunteers appointed by the Mayor and City Council, The Committee for the Arts was established by City ordinance in 2000 to promote and celebrate Gloucester ’s cultural heritage.  The Committee recently has worked to preserve and increase awareness of Gloucester ’s WPA murals and other City-owned art. Additionally, the Committee develops and promotes educational programs and establishes awards and honors to recognize local artists. It implements a city-wide public art policy.

What’s happening around town?

Events showcase Gloucester’s WPA murals

Around Cape Ann
Gail McCarthy

Residents have two chances to view some of the city’s historic murals in the next few days.

Cape Ann Museum is offering the earliest, when it will present “Howard Curtis and Gloucester’s Works Progress Administration Murals,” a walking tour with Susan Erony on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

The second is when O’Maley Middle School opens its doors to allow public viewing of its murals Tuesday evening in conjection with a student art show.

Among Gloucester’s treasures are its collection of murals painted as part of the Federal Art Project of the 1930s Works Progress Administration. City Hall and Sawyer Free Library were two beneficiaries of the marriage between a vibrant local arts community and a federal government program.

The tour will focus on murals in those buildings by Charles Allen Winter, Frederick J. Mulhaupt and Frederick Stoddard, as well as the late Howard Curtis. Years after they were painted, Curtis was responsible for saving the WPA murals when few other people understood their social, historical and aesthetic value.

Saturday’s walking tour includes a visit to the museum’s exhibition of seascapes by Curtis (1906-1989). The tour will stop at City Hall auditorium for a look at the social, political, artistic and historic context for the murals, as well as Sawyer Free Library to view murals by Frederick Stoddard, who was assisted by Curtis. There will be time for questions and discussion.

Erony is an artist and a freelance art lecturer, educator, writer and curator. She has consulted with organizations on issues of art and society, taught and lectured on both art history and art practice. She served on the Gloucester Committee for the Arts, where much of her work focused on Gloucester’s collection of WPA-funded murals. Erony attended Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts College of Art, Lesley University and the University for Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, Holland. Her artwork, focusing primarily on history and the human condition, has been exhibited extensively in Europe, Canada and the United States and is in many private and public collections.

Funding for this program was made possible through a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Reservations are required; call Jeanette Smith at 978-283-0455, x11. The museum is located at 27 Pleasant St. in Gloucester.

O’Maley Middle School in Gloucester will host “Vanilla, Strawberry, Picasso,” a celebration of student work and an ice cream social featuring student masterpieces. As part of the evening’s events, residents can see the WPA murals by Cape Ann’s Mulhaupt (1871-1938), who is best known for capturing the era of the “New Deal.” The paintings, worth an estimated $1.1 million, are open to viewing by the public inside the middle school on Tuesday, April 14, from 6 to 8 p.m.. This event is part of a community outreach plan to promote the school’s commitment to high standards of academic excellence and community involvement.

“This event is centered on the students, staff, and all the great things that they are doing to further O’Maley Middle School as a place where students can thrive and succeed,” said O’Maley Principal Michael Tracy. “This is an opportunity for our school to open its doors to the public and feature exemplary pieces of students’ work in addition to sharing some influential art work.”

Baird performing with jazz quartet

“Singing columnist” Gordon Baird will be the featured vocalist for the Mark Early Jazz Quartet tonight from 7 to 9 at Latitude 43 restaurant in Gloucester.

Baird is known for his Gloucester Daily Times columns, sailing exploits and local TV show and has appeared in musicals at North Shore Music Theatre, Boston’s Lyric Stage and Reagle Players. Baird is also known for his Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett picks as well as selected show tunes.

Early, a member of Roomful of Blues, regularly hosts a rotating cadre of jazz players and singers from Boston to the North Shore. Special guest vocalists are expected.

For more info, call 978-281-0223.

1980s-style prom event with Safety

Gulu Gulu Cafe will present a 1980s-style prom event to raise money for HIV prevention on Saturday with the dance band Safety, featuring several Cape Ann musicians. The band rocks the house at the “Pretty In Pink 1980s Prom” event at the Salem cafe, located at 247 Essex St., starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 each. Those attending are invited to don their rubber bracelets, neon leggings,and prom dresses, and reach new heights with hair spray. In addition to live music from Safety, the event includes DJ Express spinning ’80s favorites, video clips, a special performance from drag diva Blanch Debris, prom photos in front of a vintage ’80s backdrop, raffle, prizes for best ’80s outfit and dance skills, and a buffet. Tickets can be purchased at the cafe in advance or at the door.

Safety covers a spectrum of ’80s dance music, including songs by Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Depeche Mode, Pat Benatar, The Cure, Culture Club, Billy Idol and Prince. The band features Brian King on vocals and keys, Kascia Murray on vocals, Ann Marie Shimanoski on vocals, Guy Fiero on vocals, Tony Goddess on guitar and keys, Daniel King on bass, and Dennis Monagle on drums and vocals. For information, call the café at 978-740-8882 or visit http://www.gulu-gulu.com.

Rockport egg hunt

The Rockport Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the 19th annual Community Egg Hunt for the local children at Millbrook Meadow on Saturday at 2 p.m., weather and meadow conditions permitting. Preschoolers will be grouped in one section, and kindergartners and first-graders in another. In addition to assorted candies, the hunt will feature a number of special eggs to be redeemed for prizes.

Cape Ann Community Cinema

This week, Cape Ann Community Cinema is screening “Wendy and Lucy” from Friday to Sunday, at 5 and 7:15 p.m.

The film, described as a poetic road drama, stars Academy Award-nominee Michelle Williams as Wendy Carroll, who is driving to Ketchikan, Alaska, in hopes of a finding summer work at the Northwestern Fish cannery, and the start of a new life with her dog, Lucy. When her car breaks down in Oregon, however, the thin fabric of her financial situation comes apart, and she confronts a series of increasingly dire economic decisions, with far-ranging repercussions for herself and her dog. “Wendy and Lucy addresses issues of sympathy and generosity at the edges of American life, revealing the limits and depths of people’s duty to each other in tough times,” according to a film description.

This Saturday features “Opera on the Island” with the HD screening of “Don Carlo” by Verdi at 1 p.m.

The version inaugurated the 2008-09 La Scala Opera Season. It is the 1884 four-act version that Verdi reduced and changed into Italian from the original 1867 five-act version in French. The story is based on conflicts in the life of the Prince of Asturias, after his betrothed, Elisabeth of Valois, was married instead to his father, Philip II of Spain, as part of the peace treaty ending the Italian War of 1551-1559 between the Houses of Habsburg and Valois, according to a press release.

The films are shown at Gloucester Stage Co. at 267 East Main St. in Gloucester. For tickets and showtimes, visit http://www.capeanncinema.com.

Local photographers at gallery reception

Photographic works by Rockport Art Association members David Piemonte and Law Hamilton are part of a new show on display at the Mingo Gallery at 284 Cabot St. in Beverly. The gallery is hosting an artists reception Saturday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The artists will be on hand to talk about their works, and wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. The gallery is showcasing the photos of six artists: Piemonte, Hamilton, Jeffrey Trubisz of Salem, whose work has been shown at the Rockport Art Association, Mike Otis of Beverly, and Ed and Dorothy Monnelly of Ipwsich. The works include portraits of jazz musicians, landscape and architectural studies, as well as still lifes. The show runs through May 16. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, or by appointment. More information is available by calling 978-927-5964.

Museum presents Family Free Day

Cape Ann Museum presents a free drop-in program for families on the second Saturday of each month. Family free day includes admission for family members all day, family gallery guides, art and history activities in the education room, and light refreshments served throughout the day. Stop by this Saturday for activities related to “Howard A. Curtis, Seascapes” exhibition. The museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. For information, call 978- 283-0455.

Franklin Fridays

For the “Franklin Fridays” Supper Club,  Gloucester vocalist Linda Amero will be featuring Boston musicians Joe Mullholland on piano and Bronek Suchanek on bass at the Franklin Cafe, 118 Main St., Gloucester, this Friday from  7 to 10 p.m.  There is no cover charge but reservations recommended.

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-283-7000, ext. 3445 or gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com, or fax to 978-281-5748.

Susan Erony: The WPA Murals Lecture

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Friday, October 24th at 7PM, seARTS and the Gloucester Committee for the Arts  will present a talk on the WPA murals featuring Gloucester based artist and lecturer, Susan Erony.  The talk will be held at City Hall and the community is invited to join in celebration of these murals and the program that created them.  It is free and open to the public. Erony’s talk will focus on the WPA City Hall murals and their relation to the social, political and art history of the period. Gloucester was one of the many beneficiaries of the Federal Art Project mural program under the Works Progress Administration. From 1935 through 1942, murals were painted in the Hovey, Forbes, Eastern Avenue , Maplewood and Central Grammar Schools , the Sawyer Free Library and City Hall. They constitute a treasure, and result from the marriage between a vibrant local arts community and a generous program of the Federal Government during a devastating period in American history. Today, we are fortunate to have a group of the murals by Charles Allen Winter, Frederick Mulhaupt and Oscar Anderson on view in Gloucester City Hall .    This program is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, Essex National Heritage Commission, and seARTS sponsors Kristine Fisher and Rick Crangle.