LOVE the pink, green and blue banners announcing Gloucester Public Schools district wide Arts Festival May 13
Gloucester Education Foundation brings the arts downtown to Cape Ann Museum, Sawyer Free, City Hall
Gloucester Education Foundation brings the arts downtown to Cape Ann Museum, Sawyer Free, City Hall
John Ronan presents Taking the Train of Singularity South From Midtown on Saturday, April 8, 2:00-3:00pm in the Friend Room. It’s Sponsored by the Gloucester Lyceum and Friends of the Sawyer Free Library.
John Ronan a poet, playwright, journalist and a National Endowment for the
Arts Fellow in Literature has done so much in Gloucester! Here’s a throwback article from 1978 about the Gloucester Broadside, a monthly 10 cent one sheet of quality poetry.
Ronan developed the website resource dedicated to Gloucester poets, Gloucester Poet Laureate, also for Salt and Light: An Anthology of Gloucester Poetry, published spring 2010. He is the host of the Cape Ann TV program, The Writer’s Block. He was pivotal in establishing the library’s annual Poetry without Paper Contest and poetry columns in the Gloucester Daily Times.
Students are encouraged to submit poems to the Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library’s annual Poetry without Paper contest by April 30th!
April 27 2017 | POEM IN POCKET DAY: It’s free and simple to participate. Carry a Poem. Share a Poem. For more information, search for Poem in Your Pocket Day (PIYP Day) Academy of American Poets (www.poets.org) or New York City’s excellent web site, http://www.NYC.gov/poem. PIYP Day started in NYC in 2002 inspired by the Favorite Poem Project established in 1997 (first events April 1998) by Robert Pinsky, former 3x Poet Laureate of the United States. East Gloucester Elementary School initiated Poem in Pocket Day in 2011 (PTO enrichment).
The Ride of My Life
The signs say sixty
miles an hour, sixty
degree angles, eight
bucks for two minutes,
and Don’t Stand Up!
We pay the eight,
climb in the car.
The Big Guy who draws
down the lap bar
tight as a tourniquet,
says: “Stash the glasses,
the pen in your pocket.
Stuff flies out.”
Cogs catch. The cars
quake, start awkwardly
forward as my wife waves,
safe on West 10th
and others stroll Surf,
Coney Island tourists
not thinking about The Cyclone,
or the comic fate that leads
in the first place to Astroland,
no way not to be
in a roller coaster seat
at the top of the first drop and…
Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!
Up plummet of guts
plunging down, fist
full of fear in the heart-
sick final mind:
I am not on a metaphor,
I am going to die.
Followed by a slow coast,
an arc of confident calm,
balm of Brooklyn below and…
Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!
Death drop and keister
clench! The easy scream!
…and the balm of Brooklyn below.
Ohmygod! horror, and hope…
Ohmygod! horror, and hope…
Slowly, slack in the lickety split.
Speed evens out
and the sine curve dies,
in a fan turn to the ramp.
The Big Guy hovers
above the cars, smiling:
“Second ride’s five.”
-John J. Ronan
Cape Ann TV filmed John Ronan reading this poem, The Ride of My Life
I LOVED the Cyclone and I lost my prescription eyeglasses…and a shoe!
John Ronan’s New Book: Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown
POET LAUREATE: In Gloucester, MA, the Poet Laureate is dedicated to building community through poetry and encouraging a love of poetry among people of all ages. The honorary post for the City of Gloucester was created in 1998. There have been 4 Poet Laureates: Vincent Ferrini was the City’s first, then John Ronan served from 2008-10, Ruthanne Collinson served 2010-14, and Peter Todd served 2014-15. The Committee for the Arts helps to select a new Poet Laureate.
Saturday, April 1st, at 2pm author and art historian Judith Curtis is giving an illustrated lecture to accompany the “Charles Movalli: Cape Ann and Beyond” exhibit currently at the Cape Ann Museum. To reserve seating and read more about the event go to the museum’s website here.
Cape Ann Museum docent Margaret Bernier spoke about Honor Moore’s biography of Margarett Sargent, Moore’s Grandmother. The Cape Ann Museum Book Group is reading The White Blackbird: A Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent. Sargent’s painting Women and Mirror was acquired by the museum in 2002 and is on current temporary display to coincide with the book group and women’s history month. A beautiful Nell Blaine, a diptych by Pat Lowery Collins and two works by Juni VanDyke are also featured. Contact Kate Bibeau to learn more about the book group and other special events like the museum’s second recent on line photo competition, At the Water’s Edge, deadline April 30.
Don’t you love the fabulous and recently gifted Paul Manship “Tortoise” ❤
The bronze “Tortoise” was modeled in 1916 and cast in 1999. The gift was made possible through the generous donations of Arthur N. Ryan, Henrietta Gates, Heaton Robertson, and attendees of the 2015 Women’s Luncheon. Read more about Paul Manship’s work at the Cape Ann Museum here.
* * *
Perhaps Manship’s most well known work, it’s interesting to see how the plaza surrounding “Prometheus” has changed through the decades.
Winslow Homer “The Berry Pickers”
Forum on the Cape Ann Landscapes
A thoughtful and thought provoking forum was held this morning at the Cape Ann Museum. The discussion was led by Ed Becker, president of the Essex County Greenbelt Association, with presentations by Mark Carlotto from Friends of Dogtown; Tim Simmons, restoration ecologist; Mass Audubon’s Chris Leahy; and Cape Ann Museum representative Bonnie Sontag.
Today, the undeveloped areas of Cape Ann look much as it did when Champlain arrived in 1606, a mostly verdant forested peninsula, with some land management of grasslands conducted by the Native Americans that farmed and fished the landscape. In the coming months, the community will be examining how to restore very specific areas of Dogtown to the years when the landscape was at its most productive and richest in biodiversity, approximately 1700 to 1950. Most areas will remain forested and others will be returned to grasslands, moors, meadows, and pastures, similar to how it appeared when 19th and 20th century artists such as Homer, Hopper, Hartley, and Brumback painted Dogtown Common.
Tim Simmons charmed the audience with his “Blueberry Metric,” a formula whereby prior to grassland restoration, it takes approximately one hour to pick four cups of blueberries. After a blueberry patch has been restored, the time to pick a pie’s worth of blueberries is reduced to just 20 to 30 minutes. Here is Tim explaining how fire management helps blueberry bushes become more productive:
Not only blueberries but many, many species of wildlife, especially those in sharp decline, such as Prairie Warblers, Eastern Whippoorwills, native bees, and nearly all butterflies, will benefit tremendously from restoring native grassland and meadow habitats.
This is an exciting time for Cape Ann’s open spaces and a great deal of input from the community will be needed. A facebook page is in the making. It takes time to effect positive change, but the alternative of doing nothing is not really an option at all. Eventually a fire will occur and when landscapes are not managed well, the outcome may well be cataclysmic.
From the Cape Ann Museum: The once open landscape of Cape Ann, a mosaic of glacial boulders, pastures and moors, has given way over the past century to a uniform forest cover. Through short presentations and public engagement, this forum examines the issues, methods and benefits of restoring this formerly diverse and productive landscape. Can Cape Ann once again include the open, scenic terrain that inspired painters, writers, walkers, bird watchers and foragers of wild blueberries? Come and lend your voice to this exciting and important conversation moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association. The forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon.
Successional forest regeneration graphics and images courtesy Google image search
Gloucester Stage new season opens May 19 2017. Heidi Dallin also revealed a Gloucester Stage world exclusive premiere announcement!
EX LOVERS, a festival of 10 minute plays is coming on April 28th!
Founding director Israel Horovitz asked 8 dramatists to contribute an original 10 minute play
seArts Art Loan @ Bass Rocks 2017
seArts Wearable Arts updates http://wearableart.org/
Cape Ann Plein Air II is scheduled Oct 8-16, 2017- artist applications are due by April 30, 2017
Marty Morgan Empty Bowl Open Door seeking volunteer artists to help guide painters
Lovers of Cape Ann scenes and vistas, don’t miss the exquisite Charles Movalli exhibit “Cape Ann and Beyond,” opening today at the Cape Ann Museum. The reception is free and open to the public. Cape Ann’s landscapes seen through the eyes of Movalli are simply gorgeous. GO today!
From the Cape Ann Museum: The Cape Ann Museum will host a special exhibition of paintings by Charles Movalli, opening on Saturday March 4 and remaining on display through May 21, 2017. Cape Ann & Beyond will be drawn from private collections throughout the region and will be complemented by gallery talks and lectures exploring Movalli’s career and the Cape Ann School of painters.
For over forty years, Charles Movalli was a pillar of Cape Ann’s year-round art community, a distinguished landscape and marine painter, a prolific writer and advocate for the arts, and a widely respected teacher. His paintings have been showcased in solo and group exhibitions throughout the region and showered with awards; his writings on art and artists have been published widely and his editorial skills earned him a 25 year stint as contributing editor of American Artist magazine. Often referring to himself as “the luckiest man in the world,” during his long and successful
The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to announce that the extraordinary hats made by longtime Annisquam resident, friend of the Museum and avid knitter, Grace Murray, will be on display throughout the day on Saturday, March 18 in the CAM Auditorium and the Folly Cove Designer Gallery. At 1:00 p.m.owners of Grace’s beloved hats will have the opportunity to share their thoughts during “Story Time” in the auditorium. A selection of hats will remain on view in the Folly Cove Designer Gallery through April 2.
Each of Grace’s hats is an original. She was inspired to create her well-known style of hat by the patterns in “Andean Folk Knitting: Traditions and Techniques from Peru and Bolivia”, by Cynthia Gravelle Lecount. By the time Grace had purchased the book in 1992, she had already been knitting for 60 years; however, the colorful motifs kept her attention, and she created over 300 hats, all lovingly tagged “From the Knitting Needles of Grace Murray”.
“This Saturday morning forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon and held at Cape Ann Museum. The forum will be moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association.”
UPDATE: Cape Ann TV is scheduled to film the event!
Chris Leahy gave a presentation at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library on February 23, 2017: Dogtown- the Biography of a Landscape: 750 Million Years Ago to the Present
A photographic history through slides presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Friends of the Library. Mary Weissblum opened the program.
Chris broadly covered the history of the local landscape from an ecological bent with a bias to birds and blueberry picking, naturally. New England is a patchwork of forested landscapes. He stressed the evolution of bio diversity and succession phenomenon when the earth and climate change. “Nature takes a lot of courses.” He focused on Dogtown, “a very special place”, and possible merits of land stewardship geared at fostering greater biodiversity. Perhaps some of the core acres could be coaxed to grasslands as when parts of Gloucester were described as moors? Characteristic wildlife, butterflies, and birds no longer present may swing back. There were many philosophical takeaways and tips: he recommends visiting the dioramas “Changes in New England Landscape” display at Harvard Forest HQ in Petersham.
“Isolation of islands is a main driver of evolution”
“Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester has the highest concentration* of native butterflies in all of Massachusetts because of secondary habitats.” *of Mass Audubon’s c.40,000 acres of wildlife sanctuaries statewide. “The fact that Brook Meadow Brook is in greater Worcester, rather than a forested wilderness, underscores the value of secondary habitats.”
“1830– roughly the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)– was the maximum period of clearing thus the heyday for grasslands…As farmsteads were abandoned, stages of forests return.”
Below are photos from February 23, 2017. I added some images of art inspired by Dogtown. I also pulled out a photograph by Frank L Cox, David Cox’s father, of Gallery on the Moors (then) compared with a photo of mine from 2011 to illustrate how the picturesque description wasn’t isolated to Dogtown.
Louise Upton Brumback (1867-1929), Dogtown- Cape Ann, 1920 oil on canvas
Congratulations Essex Heritage on 20 years of leading Essex County by helping us connect, celebrate, and preserve our exceptional cultural and natural resources!
Essex Heritage established the Essex County Scenic Byway and annual Trails and Sails weekends. They bring stakeholders together as they did with Scaling Up at Peabody Essex Museum. They have partnered, supported and funded dozens of ideas and projects in Essex County including in Gloucester and on Cape Ann. Let’s do something easy that they’re asking in return.
Please help Essex Heritage narrow down that big, big list of worthy Essex County contenders for a special shout out at the 20th Anniversary Gala. It’s up to us to choose which 4 Trailblazers will get a toast at the Essex Heritage’s milestone 20th Anniversary Gala on April 5, 2017. This idea is a very Essex Heritage thing to do: reflecting on what’s fine and good and sharing it around.
No surprise, I’m going all in Gloucester for this ballot.
Yes, they are all wonderful and deserving nominations, and you’ll recognize favorites throughout the county. BUT this isn’t an everyone gets an award type of deal. You have to narrow it down to one in each category; – thankfully else Joey might need to add an arts rant 🙂 post.
Here’s the rundown as I see it. For Category 2 “connecting people to place” it has to be Kim Smith. She is a one of a kind and exceptional artist. Kim is inspired by the people, wildlife and the natural world all around us. Right here. We are so, so fortunate that she shares her visual experiences and art every day.
And she has memorably captured nearly ALL of the other nominees in photo or film!
Here’s the crib sheet breakout through a Gloucester lens:
Schooner Adventure, Gloucester
Cape Pond Ice, Gloucester
Good job to Cape Ann Trail Stewards, Essex County Greenbelt, Great Marsh Coalition, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Thacher Island Assoc…
Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce
Cape Ann Museum
Schooner Thomas E Lannon
Stage Fort Visitor Center
Also love Trustees, Ipswich Visitor Center (go Kerrie Bates :)), Rockport Art Association, North of Boston Convention and Visitors, but …go Kim!
Maritime Gloucester, Gloucester
Kestrel Education Adventures, Gloucester
also love Essex Shipbuilding, Buttonwoods, and Wenham Museum
Vote YMCA of North shore (includes Gloucester)
also love Peabody Essex Museum, Brooksby Farm, Russell Orchards, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Essex County Community Foundation, and Community Preservation
Read more about it in the Boston Globe David Rattigan article
by Dennis Flavin at Trident Gallery, 189 Main Street Gloucester
Gloucester’s former poet laureate John Ronan will read from his most recent book, Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown (Backwaters Press, 2017) and discuss its connections to Gloucester, including “Good Harbor, Home,” which was written for and read at John Bell’s first inauguration as Mayor of Gloucester. Through Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown Ronan hopes to convey that love and language create community.
John Ronan is a poet, playwright, movie producer and journalist. He has received national honors for his poetry and is a former National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Ucross Fellow, Bread Loaf Scholar and Poet Laureate of Gloucester, MA. In 2010, his volume of poetry,Marrowbone Lane, won Highly Recommended honors from the Boston Authors Club. As a playwright, Ronan’s works include The Yeats Gameand The Early Bird Special. John is also founder of the media production company American Storyboard, a teacher of film and host of Cape Ann Television’s The Writer’s Block with John J. Ronan which celebrates its 27th anniversary in the 2016–2017 seasons.
Booth 418 February 10-12 — Look forward to hearing their report
Kate Bibeau Cape Ann Museum and Steve Douglass Cape Ann Harbor Tours
John Orlando Harborview Inn and Elizabeth Carey Discover Gloucester (photos sent to GMG from the floor!)
David Hockney’s exhibit opens at the Tate on February 9th as the fastest selling show in Tate exhibition history. It will come to the Metropolitan Museum of Art November 2017-February 2018.
In 2013 I wrote about “A major retrospective of David Hockney’s work completed over the last decade, A Bigger Exhibition (San Francisco, de Young Museum), has generated voluminous press and praise, mostly for his legacy of embracing new technology. Oh, and how old he is now, somehow compelling him to create before time runs out…(See a good overview of the de Young exhibit on Newshour but listen at 4:24 dispensing this cliché while introducing another. When hasn’t Hockney investigated any series, media or pursuit without daunting and constant focus?)”
The first Whitney Biennial presented at the new Whitney opens March 17 – June 11, 2017. Although there are no working artists residing in MA that are on the checklist, two artist filmmakers born in Massachusetts were selected: Robert Beavers and James N. Kienitz Wilkins.
The curator’s job sounds relatively simple: just surprise us. Show us something we haven’t seen before, or lately, or in such depth, or with such clarity. Try to avoid the predictable and familiar, the market approved or academically sanctioned, or what other curators have already done. Try to step outside your museum’s comfort zone or carefully manicured institutional persona with something eccentric, an intuitive leap. After all, there is plenty of art out there.
—Roberta Smith, “Museums Embrace the Unfamiliar” New York Times, September 16, 2016
The current exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum would be music to Ms. Smith’s ears. Voicing the Woods: Jeremy Adams, Instrument Maker is the unpredictable, eccentric delight she calls for. Indeed, the Museum has leaped forward with its intuition that Mr. Adams’s peerless craftsmanship has exactly the genius and beauty for the rapture of an unsuspecting public. And from all accounts, its public has agreed!
A formal lyricism in this exhibition commands attention to more than one art form. From the fabrication of brass hinges to bone keys (not to mention the skunk-tail sharps and cow-toenail couplers!), to sculptural stands and the exacting, exquisite joinery that must move unerringly to create music, the show reveals the prodigious skill and artistry of Jeremy Adams, one of the most gifted musical instrument makers in the United States. Meticulously presented in the Museum’s largest gallery, the exhibition showcases an impressive selection of harpsichords inspired by Flemish and French designs of the 17th and 18th centuries, a chamber organ, a clavichord, a demonstration organ chest, and a beautiful, witty silent keyboard, all built in their entirety by Adams in his Danvers, Massachusetts atelier. Curated from over 40 instruments built since the 1960s, these works reside in public and private collections around the world. The exhibit’s centerpiece is the stunning French (Blanchet) double-manual harpsichord with its very modern stand, which emerged from the Adams workshop this summer and is featured in events for the duration of the exhibit, sometimes in tandem with other instruments in the room. Also in the gallery, Paul Cary Goldberg’s elegant photographs, commissioned by the Museum, document the Adams workshop—the tools, details, atmosphere and the droll, quirky personality from which the instruments come. Read more
Part of the Family Series at The Cabot in Beverly, this show is at 10:30 on Saturday. Doors open at 9:30. Tickets cost $8.50 for children and $13.50 for grown-ups.
Vanessa Trien has been performing music for kids and families since 2005, many of those years in collaboration with her lively folk/roots/pop band, the Jumping Monkeys. She has three Parents’ Choice award-winning CDs for kids and families and is currently working on her fourth album, due out this winter. Vanessa packs concert halls, preschool fundraisers and outdoor venues with dancing kids and families.
She is known for her highly interactive shows, featuring plenty of group singing and movement. One of her most requested songs, “Tickle Monster” has families sneaking around on tip toe and then on queue, all start tickling each other!
In addition to performing, Vanessa teaches as an early childhood music specialist in preschool and pre-K classrooms in Brookline and has also taught parent and child group Music Together classes for ten years. Originally from New York City.
Vanessa moved to Boston in the nineties to attend Harvard’s Graduate School for Education and has stayed ever since, first diving into the Cambridge folk music scene and festival production and then eventually jumping with her whole heart into the wild and wonderful world of children’s music!
Tickets are available for different tubing sessions. You can choose either from 10:00-2:00 or 2:00- 5:00, or 5:00-8:00 (Saturday only).
We are so fortunate that the Cape Ann Museum is free to all Cape Ann residents for the month of January! This is the time to go! What a wonderful escape from the winter blues.
Be sure to enjoy one of the Winter Shorts during your visit.
Join the docents of the Cape Ann Museum on a variety of themed mini tours. Several twenty minute tours will be offered, beginning on the hour and on the half hour. Each tour will touch on a particular area within the Museum’s collections. Docents have created tours around their favorite topics, including Gloucester Fishermen, Women Artists of Cape Ann and 19th Century Selfies, among others. Participants are encouraged to spend the entire day at the Museum, enjoying one, two or all of the mini tours.
Tours are free for CAM members and Cape Ann residents or with Museum admission. Tours are “first come, first served” (space is limited – no reservations).
As always, for a comprehensive list of family activity please visit our friends at North Shore Kid
After a year of monthly programming by the libraries and community partners, the Cape Ann Reads original picture book contest is in full swing and has moved into the jury processing stage. The contest is hosted by the 4 public libraries of Cape Ann. They will publish the first edition printing for one book from entries that were submitted by December 15, 2016. The jury selection panel includes representatives from each of the public libraries: Justine Vitale Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library; Carol Bender, Children’s and Teen Librarian, Rockport Public Library; Kate Strong Stadt, Head of Youth Services, Manchester-By-The-Sea Public Library; Anne Cowman, Young Adult Librarian, Manchester-By-The-Sea Public Library; and April Wanner, Assistant Librarian at the TOHP Burnham Library, Essex. Joining these talented library participants are three artists and award winning children’s picture book authors and illustrators: Pat Lowery Collins; Giles Laroche; and Anna Vojtech. Bob Ritchie proprietor of Dogtown Book Shop will provide another crucial area of book world expertise. Cape Ann Reads is grateful for their time and considerable talents to help the participants and the process. A second jury of children will select their favorites and is chaired by Liza Browning from the Cape Ann Museum, a Cape Ann Reads partner.
About the Cape Ann creates for Cape Ann Reads Children’s Picture Book Contest:
The 4 public libraries hosted a one of a kind call for entry seeking new and original children’s picture books showcasing local artists and writers.
Cape Ann residents of all ages, students attending school on Cape Ann, and people who work on Cape Ann were invited to create part or all of a picture book for consideration to be published, and to submit their entries by December 15th, 2016. A first edition printing of one of these submissions will be published in 2017 by the 4 public libraries and with the support of various sponsors. The copyright is timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of a Caldecott award for the children’s book, “Little House”, by Virginia Lee Burton, eminent Gloucester artist, author and illustrator.
Watch Open Studio tonight at 8:30 on WGBH for a profile of Jeremy Adams and the Voicing the Woods exhibition. Jared spoke with curator Martha Oaks in the gallery and with Jeremy Adams in the gallery and at his workshop. Adams even plays a little harpsichord music!
“No finer place for sure, downtown.”
Seeing double? Yes, you’re supposed to. The Sawyer Free Library addition was designed to mirror Cape Ann Museum as a balanced and nuanced architectural symmetry in deference to City Hall, and catalyst for a graceful center.
Sawyer Free Library has announced a public meeting January 11th for discussions of a new building. (See the flyer at the end of this post.)
City Hall may have some upcoming construction on the Dale Avenue side as well.
Both projects are largely in the name of accessibility of a physical nature. Can they be cost effective, worthy of our history and culture, protect our significant buildings, and address current and future needs? The following are some of the issues, local coverage, links to resources, and archival material for your interest.
Although there are several new handicap parking spaces along Dale Avenue by City Hall, carving out the landscape on the left for more spots is in the cards because of grant money. Why? Several people told me that Dale Avenue parking spaces are hazardous for anyone exiting on the street. Although I do not want to minimize any pressing needs, I still ask, “Really?” Have we become so car dependent we would rather a thoroughfare here than the elegant streetscape we have (once a tree lined walk from the train station.) I was also told that it will increase visitation counts. It is an unfair advantage that historic sites with access to more funding (Monticello, Smithsonian, Colonial Williamsburg, and more) are better equipped to face these seemingly no-win situations. But there are creative retrofitting options for Gloucester, too. Universal design is about balance, not chasing funding sources at the expense of preservation and beauty, nor backwards planning.
Before the current 2015-16 library outreach, the library hosted extensive visioning sessions throughout 2013. I went to a couple, and I was invited to take part in a focus group (on schools and the library.) A completely new library and jettisoning of the historic Saunders library building was not an expressed community value. What were some common discussion points? A strategy for digitization of historic archives and newspapers, more staff, more hours of operation (Sundays), better bathrooms, parking issues, air conditioning, electrical work, maintenance, security, maximizing technology/ content access with schools, ditto Cape Ann TV, and attendance (see this great video from Lisa Smith by kids for kids ) were some goals that were mentioned.
So it was a surprise to see the unveiling of new architectural renderings that did not showcase the Saunders house. It’s like the White House not featuring the White House. I think the Saunders house should be key and central to any building overhaul, not tossed aside. Providing universal access should preserve the intended awe factors if there are any, FOR EVERYBODY–such as the architectural details, proportion, welcoming entrance and unique heritage of a historic building. In this proposal, with Saunders severed there is zero physical access to the main event. What a missed opportunity. And for a library. What do you think?
Today’s paper mentioned that the Saunders house could be used for other purposes instead of the library. Why can’t that be the case and the library maintain its #1 asset? The downtown cultural district (which is not going forward in the same capacity) and other organizations could use the library meeting spaces. Do we really need to conjure up another stand alone endeavor?
Back in 1973, the Trustees of the Library began a fund drive for the new library addition; the city of Gloucester paid 2/3. As the Library’s General Chairman, Joe Garland led that campaign. Not surprising, the text of the brochure is a good read! The architect was Donald F. Monnell. (In 1971 Monnell was quoted in the papers speaking about the attributes of Central Grammar. One likes him more and more.) The population served was 27,000–nearly what it is today.
A quip about the concept of Scaling UP that I remember from a conference this past September at Peabody Essex Museum and hosted by Essex National Heritage was to “think about the farm not just a barn”; in this case a downtown, or an entire city and region. I like thinking this way in general–architecture and planning, art, and schools. But this conference pushed me to add overlays beyond my areas of expertise or focus like wildlife and waterways. Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts–there’s so much! Mayor Romeo Theken is committed to working together and feels that planning is important and broad. One example, see Gloucester Daily Times Dec 19, 2016 Officials: City to Prioritize Its (competing) Needs
Every era has choices. The prior library expansion plans began well before 1972. Possibilities swirled as they do now. (Back then, Central Grammar was also in the news, may or may not have been razed, and possible uses favored senior housing, commercial development, an annex to City Hall, and a courthouse police station.) Today there are competing building needs and uses floated for properties as diverse as: the Cape Ann YMCA on Middle Street, the post office on Dale, the Gloucester Fire Department, police headquarters, St. Ann’s, and the elementary schools–and that’s just to name a few. Let’s celebrate enviable architectural strengths, and not fuss with buildings that should be venerated, unless it’s to help them be accessible and healthy. Let’s get the balance right.
The prohibitive costs of best practice historic preservation (ADA compliant, temperature and humidity controls, security, sustainability, in house scanning/OCR/audio transcription, etc) is impossible for all the worthy collections in town, and pits them as foes when vying for funds. Let’s flip that impediment on its head and make Gloucester a model for the state. Its treasures would be available worldwide if they were truly accessible –digitized.Two words may help accomplish this goal and free up cash for individual operations: shared overhead. It’s one hope I continue to stress–the need to share necessary resources for a state-of-the-art research and warehouse repository. This universal hub should be large enough to encompass any holdings not on view. There could be a smaller downtown central site combined with a larger off site location, such as at Blackburn. The list of sharing institutions could include and is by no means exhaustive: our municipal archives that date back to 1642; Cape Ann Museum; Sawyer Free Library; North Shore Art Association; Beauport; Hammond Castle; the Legion; Amvets and other social clubs; Sargent House; several places of worship; Gloucester Daily Times; Annisquam historical building collections; Lanesville; Magnolia’s historic collections; artists/writers estates; Veterans office; our schools; Isabel Babson Memorial Library, and perhaps businesses such as Cape Pond Ice and Gortons. The library plans don’t appear to retrofit their site(s) for this goal.
If incentives and policy supported neighborhood character over less generic construction
that would be wonderful. It’s not just Gloucester.