Seasons Greetings from Rocky Neck!
Karen Ristuben writes-
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
I am thrilled to update you about the truly amazing year we have had at the Rocky Neck Art Colony, in support of our mission to preserve the artistic and cultural legacy of Rocky Neck and to advocate for our artists, community and cultural partners. The support of our community has been outstanding and has made our dramatic progress possible. We are very grateful!
The Cultural District
As one of the first five designated Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural Districts, Rocky Neck is at the forefront of the cultural and economic growth of our city and the region. The Cultural District designation has led to strong and growing partnerships with Schooner Adventure, the Gloucester Writers Center, Gloucester Stage Company, Gloucester Marine Railways, Ocean Alliance, and the Cape Ann Forum. These new collaborations are yielding promising new initiatives and expanding the reach of the Art Colony.
The Cultural Center
The Rocky Neck Art Colony has stepped up to purchase and operate the Cultural Center at 6 Wonson St. for lectures, workshops, art exhibitions, performances, a welcome center for the newly designated cultural district and so much more. The Center has had a phenomenal first year. We’ve come far in a very short time, and our Winter Show Opening Reception last night, attended by 300 of you, was testament to the strength of this community project! Six art exhibits, five children and adult workshops, and 22 talks and performances have occurred at the Cultural Center since we began programming in May. The Center has also made it possible for us to develop a Massachusetts Cultural Council-supported outreach program linking our professional artists with the Gloucester Public Schools, just one example of how inhabiting a space can energize a mission.
The Cultural Center enjoys unwavering city and state support from the Gloucester City Council, Mayor Carolyn Kirk, Senator Bruce Tarr, State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante and many others. We have received foundation grants from the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation, a Coolidge family fund of The Boston Foundation, and the Essex County Community Foundation, and financial commitments from the Cape Ann Saving Bank, Rockport National Bank, and Gortons of Gloucester in an exciting and expanding base of support from the local business community. With solid pre-development groundwork completed, we have committed to purchase the building and expect to close by May, 2013 once an additional $50,000 is raised. Details of the Cultural Center financial figures are attached.
The Rocky Neck Art Colony Programs
Rocky Neck Gallery: Our cooperative gallery is rented from May to October at 53 Rocky Neck Avenue and features 30-40 artists each year. This year we again welcomed more than 12,500 visitors to the Gallery.
Goetemann Artist in Residence: Founded in 2004, the Goetemann residency provides a month of live/work space to three invited artists and hosts the renowned Distinguished Artist/Teacher every year. This year, we welcomed three outstanding artists from Brooklyn, Washington D.C., and the Czech Republic—selected from a record fifty applicants.
Historic Art Trail: Hundreds of visitors have walked the “trail” to view the sights seen and painted by the distinguished artists on whose shoulders we stand: Winslow Homer, Nell Blaine, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, and so many others who have lived and worked in East Gloucester.
Nights on the Neck: Our spirited monthly community festival, held on first Thursdays in the summer, features dozens of performances by musicians, authors, and street artists and has attracted hundreds of visitors.
None of what we do would be possible without the incredible volunteers who work tirelessly on all facets of the Art Colony’s offerings. In addition to thanking our dedicated Board and Officers (below), special gratitude goes out to a few unsung volunteer heroes who have gone above and beyond: Roland Baumgartel for installing the Center’s hanging and lighting systems, and insulating and building out the lower level; Peter Lacey for building the Center’s elegant portable walls; Tom Nihan for being a constant bright light of willingness; Pat Conant for leading the Center’s volunteers; Alina Garry for patiently working and reworking our building drawings; Mike Faherty for his sage legal advice and representation through the ZBA process; Vlad and Sergei for their smiles and energy; Paul McPherson for his electrical know-how; and Judy Robinson-Cox for keeping the world informed through the Rocky Neck Newsletter and website. Special thanks go out to a few friends who are moving on from leadership positions: Sharon Bragg (bookkeeper), Mona Faherty (Treasurer), Barbara McLaughlin (Marketing Director), and Judith Monteferrante (Artistic Director) for their many years of service – your hard work has brought the Art Colony to a much more established place from which we can now build a secure future. There are so many more volunteers to thank, and there are new folks all the time who catch the buzz of Rocky Neck and are stepping up to be involved!
Your continued support (yes, including financial support) will make it possible for us to build on the momentum of this stellar year for our stewardship of Rocky Neck as Gloucester’s cultural treasure. Your gift will be a lasting investment in the cultural life of this very special corner of Cape Ann. A pledge form is attached.
With warm greetings of the season,
Karen Ristuben, President
The Rocky Neck Art Colony, Inc.
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