Tag Archives: Joan of Arc
There’s a monumental outdoor mural behind Prince Insurance at 3 Washington Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts, that changes every year. It’s sited on private property.
Thanks to the Greeke family who own Prince Insurance and let him have at it, artist and writer Danny Diamond has expressed his ideas and showcased his can command on this same outside wall annually since 2011.
My favorite sight line is from Middle Street heading to the Captain Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3 and the Joan of Arc sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington. It’s in a tight spot, and so is the kid with the green, green eyes staring back from the latest mural.
Diamond is using his talents to bring awareness to homelessness and the economy. Here’s an excerpt from his statement about 21st Century Orphans: “The windfall of green-backs that flies from my letters gives way to dingy news-print and beggars’ placards–this orphaned child’s currency. It’s rarely discussed, in our scenic little fishing town, that the homeless population has increased in Massachusetts by 40% since 2007, even as the national average was in decline. This in part due to the fact that the cost of living here in Mass is among the highest in the country; the cost of housing continues to increase now that the market has come back, and there is no relief in sight… Fifteen percent (over half a million) of our children here in the Bay state live in poverty; of the over seventeen-thousand homeless people here, thirty-eight percent are children.” – Danny Diamond, 2016
A Gloucester native, Diamond is busy with commercial art and commissions on both coasts. I had a chance to ask him more about his art and writing after I did a post about the sea monster fence he painted. He brushed off the street artist description: “I consider myself a graffiti-writer and sometimes a mural-artist, but not a “street-artist” (semantic distinction).” I asked him about Gloucester connections and if he went to the high school. Did any teachers influence him? He wrote back swiftly:
“I studied art under Jackie Underwood, who was “Jackie Kapp” at the time, as well as theatre and set-design with Krista Cowan and Kim Trigilio. I went on to earn a cum laude BA in English Lit and Creative Writing at UMass Boston, class of ’06… I spent a lot of time at Artspace on Center St. as a kid, and so Gloucester’s sub-cultural grandmaster Shep Abbott had a big effect on me by bringing punk rock and mural art into downtown. I was mentored in the world of graffiti art by the late Jed Richardson of Manhattan who was a major figure in the NYC subway-train art movement of the 1980’s; he moved to Gloucester in 2001 or so and remained here until his passing in September of ’09… ”
Diamond created a tribute chalk mural to his mentor at Minglewood Tavern. I worked in New York and saw first hand the 1980 era kings (and not so kings) of subway and club graffiti. I didn’t know Jed Richardson’s work and wondered if Diamond had an image to share for this post.
I also thought about the owners who turned over their wall for Diamond’s art. I learned that the building is owned by Peter Greeke who founded Prince Insurance. Aha! A creative family that understood and allows Danny Diamond the use of a large wall to practice and express his art. The Prince Insurance company is on Washington Street between Middle and Main and directly across from the Legion. It is a second generation family business that has specialized in personal insurance for more than 35 years. It’s now co-owned by sisters, Melissa Moseley and Wendy Prendergast. A third sister, fashion designer Jennifer Greeke, operates Harpy Fashion out of the back office. The Prince Insurance storefront stands out with such original picture window displays.These windows are an entire family affair. Melissa doesn’t remember a time before the windows. Their mother creates them; Jen has made clothing, sculpted papier-mâché creatures and mermaids. “Of course because of the community we live in, over time artistic customers and friends joined in…like Richard Harding and the built boat. They’re just a lot of fun.” Prince Insurance has a beautiful new website.
I hoped Danny Diamond had a record of his devoted wall mural project, which he obliterates and repaints every year. He did. Photographs below are from Diamond or his website, www.skribblefish.com. His Instagram is @pyse117. I added one showing a work in progress he is completing for a new restaurant opening in Salem in February and other local commissions.
Dusting of snow along the back of Anna Hyatt Huntington’s superb Joan of Arc WWI memorial, such a multifaceted muse and Gloucester landmark.
Whatever brings you there– artist, subject, sculpture, setting, history –its surplus of qualities alone and together reward gaze and inquiry. I took several photographs early December 30th, careful compositions against a gift of blues and vault of morning sky. For this one, I roughly edited out the telephone wires for my thoughts. Shake off 2016 and frame up a fresh start for the year ahead!
(See Joan of Arc HarborWalk story moment for more information.)
Cat Ryan submits-
As a reminder, there will be 20 temporary mixed media crosswalks throughout downtown by artist, Justin Desilva (Rhode Island School of Design alumnus). Each one features different HarborWalk story moment content. Special thanks to Ben’s Paint.
Here’s the TS Eliot work along the intersection of Washington Street and Main by Tallys. The HarborWalk Story Moment marker #2 featuring TS Eliot is further down on the path by St. Peter’s and Cape Ann Brewing.
Comments included how the images change depending upon where and how one is looking (viewing the images through a lens, or viewfinder, from a distance, or up close).
This man thought it was fun to compare Justin’s ideas and process with Seurat and other Pointillists. The pug is unfazed by the new surface over his frequent path past Joan of Arc. The HarborWalk Joan of Arc story marker is #37. We’ll ask Justin about his ideas in another post.
Today’s intermittent rain slowed down the process, but not the speed of the cars! (Drivers fly past Joan of Arc heading to the Boulevard).
Thanks to Phyllis Cucuru for spending time with us and supplying a barney trash bag. Feeling fortunate that Café Sicillia, Building Center and other businesses are open on Sunday as we had to make a couple of trips. Desilva was planning to complete Hammond Castle and one in tribute to the Dory (on Main Street by Café Sicillia and Short and Main).
Here’s the Hammond Castle site BEFORE looking down to the Boulevard and out to the harbor. There’s also a photo looking back in the direction of the Joan of Arc memorial.
The 2013 Gloucester HarborWalk Public Art Challenge was a competitive, two-stage, open process established and administered by the Committee for the Arts (CFTA) on behalf of the City of Gloucester, and at the direction of Mayor Kirk and the City’s Community Development Department under Sarah Garcia. Funding for the purchase of public art was provided through a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council. The awards reflect discussions, community development, planning and determination to remember and work towards incorporating the creative arts broadly alongside other city efforts. Gloucester hearts art! For further information Gloucester Committee for the Arts
I have been looking at some of the commemorative statues that there are around Gloucester. There’s art and history in so many places. One is a WWI memorial and is a large statue of Joan of Arc on a horse in Legion Square at the intersection of Washington and Middle streets. The imposing bronze statue, which was dedicated in 1921, is one and a quarter times life size, stands on top of a large carved granite base. There are bronze plaques on either side listing “The Sons of Gloucester Who Gave Their Lives in the Great World War” and decorative plaques at either end. Wrapping around the base is a granite bench; perhaps designed so people might sit there with friends and family, and reminisce. There are beach stones surrounding the monument, and set into the ground like cobblestones.
Designed by Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), her original Joan of Arc statue won an honorable mention at a Paris art show. There were four other Joan of Arc statues cast by her that were placed in either New York City, San Francisco, Quebec, Canada and Blois, France. Huntington was 34 when she made the original plaster statue in her family’s studio in 1910 which was near Annisquam. It has been reported that the horse was modeled after one of the East Gloucester Fire Station’s horses, and that “Joan” was actually Anna’s, niece who was sitting on a barrel.
For those who have never looked closely at this imposing statue and monument, I suggest they park, and carefully walk to the center of the square. It is truly an artistic masterpiece!
Joey: I did write to congressman and suggested a re-dedication of the statue . I will include his response.
Also I did find some additional information on Anna Hyatt Huntington the scupltress.Anna was born in Cambridge which was our second home also ! See http://www.bronze-gallery.com/sculptors/artist.cfm?sculptorID=75
If some want to see more of her work in a breathtaking location, some of the GMG readers may appreciate especially learning about her beautiful garden in South Carolina – BROOKGREEN GARDEN/zoo in Myrtle Beach area http://www.brookgreen.org/ and for some images-
What a treasure we have in Joanie.
Regards Bob Lindberg
Joey: it’s Mike Lindberg’s brother BOB (the dentist)writing. Recently we had family from Tampa in town and showing them around Gloucester and I wanted to show them the
very nice Joan D’Arc statue . When asked “why does Gloucester have this statue ?” I thought, you know I do not know but I will find out ; I did know the artist was from the area. Much to my surprise I learned many very interesting facts besides that the sculptress Anna Hyatt Huntington came from causeway studio at “hole in the wall” at Goose Cove where we passed a million times as kids heading out to the Annisquam and the Bay.
I do know some refer to her as Joanie on the Pony affectionately and somewhat naively irreverently ( goodmorninggloucester) and always wondered why French statue and not Swedish,Portugese or Italian.
Among the surprising facts I have found thanks to internet:
1) horse was modelled from the biggest Gloucester firehorse at the time in pre WWI days
2) her studio was the house at the hole in the wall as we called it;family owned the house aka first marine biology field station there ;she designed plaque on the rock
3) figure model of Joan was her niece
4) in the art contest many liked her worked but she didn’t win because it was thought a man must have helped her -it was so good
5) Joan is holding up sword before battle asking for God to help her in leading the men in the quest to rid France of the English;later burned at the stake at 19,later sainted
and wore men’s clothing because as she said “no voice told her to not wear men’s clothing”
6) There are several copies of statue one other in NY and 3 in France -Gloucester’s is #2
7) It was given to Gloucester after WWI as a special thank you to all US forces who helped France kick Germany out of France
particularly men from Gloucester in the Battle of Belleau Woods 1918 where the marines fought so bravely they earned the nickname said to have been given to them by
the Germans ” teufelshunden-hound devils or hellhounds ” for their tenacity and where a famous marine corps officer ‘s response to request from the French fighting alongside to retreat under the heavy fire from the Germans was “Retreat?We just got here!”
8) at that Battle which was greatest battle since Appomattox where US soldiers fought includes men from Gloucester- local Gloucester man Lester Waas seehttp://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/30873-show-tell-wwi-5th-marine-co-cdrs-kia-group-dsc-navy-cross/who was last surviving officer none the less led a fatal charge of marines to capture a German machine gun and won several medals for bravery see following and the first Medal of Honor for WWI was given to a marine for bravery surprisingly for helping wounded while under fire a dentist Alexander Gordon Lyle from Gloucester won the medal of honor for bravery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Gordon_Lyle also veteran A Piatt Andrew who name is on 128 bridge .
So after learning this I will look at Joanie on the Pony with well earned affection and appreciation and gratitude . Regards Bob Lindberg
Check out the page from distinguished women from the past-