Tag Archives: PUBLIC ART

Liz Sibley Fletcher art sale to benefit two local organizations

Save the date- meet the artist. June 3, Rocky Neck. Dozens of sculpture and wall works by local artist Liz Sibley Fletcher will be available for a  special one day sale to benefit Maritime Gloucester and Pathway.

Liz Fletcher

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALiz Fletcher – Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio Annual Sculpture Walk around the pond and through the woods

http://www.liz-fletcher-sculpture.com/

Since graduating from Mass. College of Art in 1970, Liz Fletcher has worked in clay as a sculptor, potter, and teacher. She is an exhibiting member of the NH Art Association and the League of NH Craftsmen, showing her work around New England and as far as Georgia, Texas, and the state of Washington. Living in the woods, Fletcher became concerned about human impacts on the land. After getting a Masters degree in Resource Management at Antioch New England, she assisted the Nashua River Watershed Association with open space planning, coordinating their Greenway program to protect the rivers of the region. “The wonders of the natural world inspire me, as do the absurdities of the human condition, which is often not beautiful but sometimes humorous! People often sense a narrative quality in my work — the images speak, telling stories. Life forms fascinate me. I love to shape clay into creatures and strange beings whose combinations of human, beast, and bone embody the interpenetration of the natural and human worlds, of geologic time and daily life. We’re all in it together — voyaging in this great mysterious universe.”

Past exhibits, installations and commissions

Adam Curcuru’s daughters reading the names on Stacy Boulevard flags

Sweet voices lifting on the wind. Video from Adam Curcuru, Director Cape Ann Veterans Services, 2017 installation Stacy Boulevard Flags, Gloucester, MA.

 

Bridgette Matthews beautiful installation photographs

Amazing Gloucester High School trip to Spain and Portugal

Over the April 2017 school vacation, Gloucester High School students and chaperones traveled to Spain and Portugal. Report from the trip:

Mr. Celestino Basile, World Language Coordinator at the High School, led the group through visits to Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Costa del Sol, & Granada, as well as many other fascinating spots in Spain before heading to Lisbon, Portugal. Basile has brought many groups of GHS students to Europe over the years. While in Seville, on Easter Sunday, some of the Spanish exchange students who had visited Gloucester in September 2016 (staying for 3 weeks with GHS students and their families, and attending GHS with their hosting student) were able to meet up with and visit the Gloucester group. What an amazing opportunity for these kids, thanks to Mr. Basile! Highlights included a flamenco evening, an evening cruise, visiting the beach at Costa del Sol, and re-connecting with the exchange students who had visited Gloucester.

In Gloucester,MA, one must experience Fisherman at the Wheel,  the iconic bronze memorial by Leonard Craske installed in 1925. While in Madrid one must visit Oso y El Madrono– the bear and strawberry tree– the 1967 monument to the symbol of Madrid by artist Antonio Navarro Santafé.  Bears are common symbols worldwide but a bear leaning on a strawberry tree and eating the fruit heralds solely Madrid. Before that sculpture commission, Santafé modeled Madrid’s Bear of Berlin as well as sculpture gifts for dignitaries based on Madrid’s memorable coat of arms. Madrid’s bear was modeled on a local one* captured in the Picos de Europa mountains and sent to the zoo in El Retiro. “The bear, more than Difficult, it is ungrateful, because it is animal in a heavy way, and the sculptor has to guess its anatomy through its imposing fur coat. Anyway, like everything done by God, and for Nature, it is beautiful.” 

“My bear, which is the Bear of Madrid, in the fabulous wheel of the Puerta del Sol!” Antonio Navarro Santafé

The Gloucester High School students were there! And the Prado, and…

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Antonio Navarro Santafe, Parque de Berlin Oso de Berlin, Madrid

 

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Spanish language teacher and chaperone, Heidi Wakeman, sent two photos and summarized the trip for Good Morning Gloucester:

“37 students, 6 chaperones, 2 countries and 1 Spanish tour guide = ONE AMAZING TRIP! The GHS trip to Spain and Portugal was an exciting, educational and exhausting excursion!  We landed on Wednesday, April 12 and started sightseeing right away (El Prado museum, to see Las Meninas, el Greco, among other masterpieces).  There were cathedrals, churches, plazas and palaces.  A highlight was the reunion with Spanish students that lived here in Gloucester last fall. Students spoke and listened to a lot of Spanish, then Portuguese as we finished in Lisbon.  As a middle school Spanish teacher at O’Maley, I was so grateful for the experience: my first time chaperoning an overseas trip, and my first time to Spain! The kids will never forget this trip, and neither will I!”- Heidi Wakeman

Sevilla, Spain from Heidi

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Chaperones, Toledo Spain, from Heidi

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*Local inspiration:

Anna Hyatt Huntington modeled Joan of Arc at her Annisquam home Seven Acres in part from poses of her niece, Clara, and Frank, a ‘magnificent Percheron’  from the Gloucester fire department. The Gloucester cast is a monument to the WW1 heroes of Gloucester. Leonard Craske’s Gloucester Fisherman at the Wheel is a debated composite.

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oral history transcript 1969 A Hyatt Mayor Adores his Aunt Anna Hyatt Huntington (read by Marie Demick)

Stacy Boulevard expanded garden plans Tulip Fest May 6

IMG_20170504_052040Saturday May 6, 2017 is the official ribbon cutting re-opening of Stacy Boulevard by Mayor Romeo Theken. Thanks to the Mayor, Mike Hale and all Gloucester DPW, GZA, Essex County Landscape Assoc, Gloucester Community Preservation Act, Ann Giraldi Johnson, GFWA, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and groups like the Seaport Economic Council and Dir Carolyn Kirk, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Joe Lucido, Ed Parks, Mike Linquata, Donna Ardizzoni and One Hour at a Time Gang, Ringo Tarr, Bobbie Turner, YMCA and summer help, Wolf Hill, Generous Gardeners, and other volunteers!

Tulip Festival and bonnet parade Saturday 10AM

Ribbon Cutting 11:30AM

Party at Mile Marker Restaurant 6-10PM

Enjoy a closer look at the engineering and landscape plans for the expanded gardens and before/after comparisons.

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Stacy expanded gardens

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Gloucester HarborWalk Summer Cinema 2017: the dates and titles for the free outdoor movies are…

Rob Newton, Cape Ann Community Cinema and Stage, announces the 2017 summer line up:

Save the dates! Six free movie nights begin Wednesday July 12th!

July 12 ::: Jaws
July 19 ::: Disney Moana
July 26 ::: Rogue One Star Wars Movie
August 2 ::: Lego Batman Movie
August 9 ::: The Princess Bride
August 16 ::: Sing!

July 12, 19, 26 and August 2, 9, 16. Rain dates  August 23, 30.

Over 5000 Cape Ann residents attended the HarborWalk Summer Cinema series in 2016.

Awesome North Shore 104.9 amps the pre-show festivities!

Contact Rob for 2017 partnership options.

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Globe critics pick their 42 favorite upcoming New England arts: 2 from Cape Ann

Boston Globe

Boston Globe critics –Kate Tuttle (books); Zoe Madonna (classical music); Karen Campbell (dance); Loren King (film); Michael Andor Brodeur (pop music); Don Aucoin (theater); Malcom Gay (visual arts)– published an arts preview:  “Globe Critics survey of 42 Essential art events in New England that you won’t want to miss this spring and summer.”

Congratulations to Rockport Chamber Music Festival and Clara Wainwright for making the list! Rockport Chamber Music Festival is June 2-July 9 at the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Clara Wainwright, artist and First Night Founder, is one of 8 artists selected for the  21st round of Art on the Marquee, the “massive three sided, seven screened, 80 foot tall marquee at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center” public art project. Look for that exhibit March 16-April 17.

Here’s the geographic tally:

Boston area, MA arts events: 19
Western, MA: 8
North Shore, MA: 2 –Rockport/Chamber Music Festival and Lincoln/Thoreau. (Clara’s work will be shown in Boston)
Cape and islands, MA: 4
ME: 4
RI: 3
VT: 1
CT: 1 (could be New Bedford…)

Most of the MOTT seasonal round ups and e-blasts are light on North Shore listings.

 

 

Art from Kristen Visbal Fearless Girl and Arturo Di Modica Wall Street Bull to Morgan Faulds Pike, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Judith Sargent Murray, Rusty + Ingrid, and Willow Rest

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Photo by Federica Valabrega. Temporary public art bronze sculptures: Kristen Visbal Fearless Girl installed for International Women’s Day March 8, 2017 faces off  Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull installed December 15, 1989. Fearless Girl was commissioned by State Street Global Advisory Stuart Weissman and part of McCann’s creative campaign

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Robert D. McFadden coverage in the New York Times about the Wall Street Bull by Arturo Di Modica the day after it was stealthily installed (and removed then reinstalled, evermore)

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Morgan Faulds Pike, Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial, Gloucester MA

 

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The Fisherman’s Memorial screen print by Rusty + Ingrid Creative Company on the cover and featured in North Shore Magazine’s April 2017 issue– which also includes articles on Cape Ann’s iconic sculptors, plus Manchester by the Sea and filming on Cape Ann

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October 2013 Willow Rest, 1 Holly Street, Gloucester, MA, window filled with Rusty and Ingrid Kinnunen screenprints –the first time I saw their work. I love how so many stores and restaurants feature creative arts. This one is a great case study and success story for creative exposure.

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Sargent House Museum, 49 Middle Street, Gloucester, MA. Judith Sargent Stevens Murray (1751-1820)

 

wikipedia art feminismLook for Wikipedia-edit-a-thons (especially this week surrounding International Womens Day)  encouraging everyone to add content and push women to be contributors. No previous Wikipedia experience is necessary –training help at the events or editing Instructional videos at your convenience

street art Gloucester: 21st Century Orphans by Danny Diamond graffiti writer and mural artist

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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.

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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.

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artist Jed Richardson c.2008 (photo from artist Danny Diamond)

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.

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The 4 Cape Ann public libraries announce the Cape Ann Reads jury panel

See the 2016 Cape Ann Reads selection panel  

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.

Oh, what a doll! “Have a Heart Dolls” public art from Rose Baker Senior Center is global

There’s always something happening in the art sessions at Rose Baker Senior Center. With help and direction from the indomitably positive and dedicated artist,  Juni VanDyke, participants in the art program share their talents and collaborate. Participants join in an amazing amount of creative work and activity and have the opportunity to exhibit their creations. Often they work together as a group toward a final outcome. Three quilt series became monumental and cherished works of public art. (See Kim Smith’s beautiful coverage on Good Morning Gloucester.) When you visit the art studio at Rose Baker you’ll see floor to ceiling examples of their creations. For the past few years, dolls have been blooming up the studio wall and steadily and similarly building into a kind and social public art project. Now it’s a mission for art and healing that’s reached beyond Gloucester and Cape Ann.

Juni Van Dyke shared the photographs in this post and writes about the iteration of this project:

“Two years ago, Lois Stillman, a regular participant in the Art Program at the Senior Center, shared an idea with our Monday art group.  The idea became known as “The Endearing Doll Project” — “endearing” because the hand-made doll that Lois introduced to us was just that…endearing.  By way of Lois’ initial instruction, the dolls began to multiply with a serious purpose:  the dolls would be created for the comfort of children undergoing cancer treatment at Dana Farber.  Later, more dolls…(baskets of dolls!) would be delivered to elderly residents at Golden Living and SeaCoast.  Still later, more dolls…(armfuls of dolls!) would join volunteers headed to The Dominican Republic where children who have little in the way of playthings would receive them. The “Endearing Dolls” became known as “The Have a Heart Dolls”. To accurately describe the artwork attributed to each individual doll, (over four hundred dolls to date!) one would have to exhaust every synonym in a thesaurus under the heading “beautiful”.  Indeed, the dolls are beautiful with exquisite individual attention given to detail:  lace trimmings, velvet ribbons, eyelet petticoats, knitted caps, stylized tresses, etc.  But the “Have a Heart Dolls” are so much more than beautiful works of art.  These dolls, with their purpose of bringing comfort and cheer, are a definitive source of love.”  Participants in the “Have a Heart Doll Project” are: Lois Dench, Judy Menicocci, Mary Noons, Maggie Rosa, Carmella Scola, Emily Soule, Ida Spinola, Lois Stillman, Teddy Talbot, Connie Troisi, Juni VanDyke, and Susan Wright

To help with the dolls or other projects and learn more about the art program: Council On Aging (COA) Rose Baker Senior Center Art Program. The mission statement under the direction of Juni VanDyke: To connect Gloucester Senior Citizens to their community through worthwhile art projects while encouraging artistic individuality and collaboration. 

When good fences make good neighbors, and Robert Frost was here thanks to Walker Hancock

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Photo without irony. For irony scroll down to see the poem, Mending Wall, by Robert Frost, and for Hancock’s portrait of Frost.

Update: shortly after posting and thanks to Good Morning Gloucester facebook feed and readers, there may be more information coming on the outside-r artist who built such a great fence design. Please send in more information soon. And here is some! Danny Diamond writes: “I painted this octopus (and the rest of the fence) back in October. It belongs to  Jon Just Jon and Lisa Bouchie. The octopus was painted entirely with low-pressure spray-cans.” And Lisa Redbird adds:  “…conceived by Lisa Bouchie, built by Mark (Girard) of Spotless Monkey and spray painted by Danny Diamond. A true artist collaborative…”

Mending Wall

1914 poem by Robert Frost, American poet  (1874-1963), first published in anthology North of Boston

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To  please the yelping dogs. The gaps I made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door-game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines,  I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.”  I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go beyond his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

Robert Frost sat for Walker Hancock, Gloucester resident, esteemed sculptor and one of the country’s Monuments Men. Frost walked our local woods.

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Artist: Walker Kirtland Hancock, (b.1901-December 30, 1998)
Sitter: Robert Lee Frost, 26 Mar 1874 – 29 Jan 1963
Date: 1969 bronze sculpture cast after 1950 original (collection Amherst)
Dimensions: Without socle or mount: 16 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 10 inches
Collection: National Portrait Gallery

The Robert Frost Farm, Derry, NH (home 1900-1911)

Friends of Robert Frost, So. Shaftsbury, VT

Frost Place in Franconia, NH

Robert Frost Society established in 1978

Robert Frost collection at Amherst College (on the faculty for 40 years; also University of Michigan, Middlebury, Columbia, Harvard, and Yale, among other places) Hancock’s sculpture is in this collection. Sculpture of Frost by artist Penelope Jencks was unveiled in 2007

Robert Frost collection at Dartmouth College (alumnus)

A Frost Bouquet: Robert Frost, His Family, and the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, a digitized rendering of the 1996 exhibition at University of Virginia

Victor E. Reichert Robert Frost Collection, University at Buffalo

Audio of Frost reading poems, Part III includes Mending Wall or here read and listen to Frost’s voice as he recites Mending Wall:

Happy New Year! Onward

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!

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(See Joan of Arc HarborWalk story moment for more information.)

First Night Boston Copley Square: top crowd at Man At Wheel ice sculpture…by far! And Boston Public Library

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There were also large ice works of a lighthouse, clipper ship and sea serpent (live sculpting work in progress while we were there)

Across the street a favorite spot with more public art and large crowds– the ever stunning Boston Public Library. An art post for another day: for now some interior details. Here are a Kitson marble bust of Longfellow and a tease detail from the Sargent murals. (My sons said they like the Sawyer Free teen room more but this Boston Library was something to be proud of, too.)

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A Lobster Trap tree mini buoy from Cape Ann Art Haven goes to the State House

More public art and heart-

Thanks to Janice Lufkin-Shea, Pauline Bresnahan, Hannah Morris, David Brooks Cape Ann Art Haven, Senator Tarr and others,  Gloucester and its lobster trap tree and traditions  have a place in the Massachusetts Senate President’s Office. Here are photos of Senator Bruce Tarr with Stan Rosenberg, the 93rd President of the Massachusetts Senate, in the Senate President’s Office. First two photos from inside the State House were from Senator Tarr.

David Brooks writes that he hopes the buoy will be a permanent ornament, “but I’m not sure how long it will last. Its made of a small plastic net buoy and plaster. We made it as an Art Haven team and tried to make it look like a kid did it so it fit the character of the tree.” Perhaps a bronze version may be commissioned from Cape Ann Art Haven one day.

There were special ornaments to discover on the tree in City Hall, too, in the rotunda outside the Office of the Mayor.

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Gloucester: Dancing in the street Aug 13 and

Dancers from American Travelling Morrice perform twice August 13th- once at St. Peter’s (2:30pm) and later Harbor Loop (6:15pm). They’re on their 41st tour which you’ll read on as you wander; this poster I snapped was displayed at Jalapenos. I wonder who created the woodcut? I also wondered if multi-talented Rose Sheehan, Cape Ann Contra Dance, was involved. Yes. And her son Colin de la Barre (another name befitting a pursuit!)  Gloucester Daily Times has the story.

You might fill your Aug. 13th  dance card. Whether audience or participant, one could make it a daylong celebration of beauty, sport and nature. Not 41 years, but pretty darn close, the Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swimis 38 years young and scheduled earlier that morning. Reminds me: check the GMG calendar for options. Every weekend in Gloucester is like First Night. A few of the other special events planned for August 13: Cape Ann Museum has a walking tour and White Ellery contemporary installation. Cape Ann Community Cinema features two films. Gloucester Stage has a live theater show for kids in the morning and 2 shows for Songs For A New World (one is pay what you wish).

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I bet you can reel off  a few of the chart topping rock groups circa late 1970s.  Who knew that there was a 1979 American folk dance held in St. Ann’s parish hall? The dances were started by Patricia and Norris Marston who hoped to build interest for regular square dances in Gloucester and perhaps raise funds to hire bands. One night Roger Whynott was a featured caller. On another evening it was Charlie Webster calling out folk, square and contra. – Gloucester Daily Times  

Gloucester street art is an all star

Worcester, the host city for the Ma Smart Growth Conference, is Massachusetts’ second largest city and pretty pumped with a 500 million investment in their ‘city square’ area. The city invested 8 million dollars into their ‘streetscapes’, including a skating rink. “10,000 came out for themed skate nights!” I’ve heard skating rink wishes mentioned once or twice in Gloucester: discussions pro I4C2 or somewhere on Middle Street (“a scene nearly Currier and Ives!”) and why isn’t the O’Maley skating rink used by the students? “We used to use it for gym? It’s an amenity right there.”

Other conference talks focused on investment in public space and public health. Worcester aims to earn the distinction Healthiest Community in MA by 2020. They have the first and only accredited public health department so they’re investing in a core culture.  The conference speakers spoke about housing, planning, walk-ability, return of multi-generational family households, and diversity. Millennials say: “Where do I want to live?” and then go. Their parents’ said “Where is the job?” and relocated. We were told many times that millennials are different than boomers: they don’t like traditional offices and buildings for work. They would rather walk, bike or commute by train. Ideally their life radius would fall within one mile, a neighborhood scale. How does that affect consolidating schools vs neighborhood schools and other debates ensued.

From a planning perspective: “Does the investment action help to encourage sprawl or does it invest in your community?”

 

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The session “Is Housing a Municipal Budget Buster” was led by Mayor Donna Holaday of Newburyport and panelists included former Gov. Glendening and Umass Dartmouth Director of Public Policy, Michael Goodman. Most questions went to Mike Hogan, who gave a talk about Oceanspray’s residential venture in Plymouth, Redbrook Village. Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce brought him here to speak to our communities a couple of years ago.  He said to say hi to Peter Webber :).

The second session I attended focused on arts and planning and was led by artist (ceramicist) and planner, Jennifer Erickson with Kenneth Bailey, Design Studio for Social Intervention (D24SI) and others.  A projected slide loop featuring model national art projects scrolled continuously. I was so caught up in the briefs that I nearly missed one picture from Gloucester: the monumental Parsons Street mural by James Owen Calderwood. Congratulations James!

Cruz Ferreras took the photograph during a block party; there’s a Cape Ann Art Haven painting in progress and kids leaping. Since that photo, street lighting and more art was added, a second monumental mural, painted by children, under the direction of Cape Ann Art HavenThe Gloucester Fish Net mural was a temporary commission that is lasting because the road is primarily used for walking. (Also, the artist painted it over a second time, and widened it.) With funding, Cape Ann Art Haven art center  or an individual artist like Jason Burroughs (who assisted James Owen Calderwood) could re-paint the mural. With funding and fresh sealcoating, we could issue a Call for a new work of art. There are several more walls along Parsons Street that could be a wonderful matrix for murals, or the streetscape for a dance or theater production. 

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Google street view FISH NET 300 foot street muralIMG_6891

Art and money: Boston Creates chaos and Clara Wainwright Boston Globe op ed

A draft of the coveted 10 year master arts and culture plan for the City of Boston dropped in May a dud, despite– or because of –its $1.2 million price tag.  There’s a lot of pressure riding on Boston Creates final report, postponed until this coming Friday, June 17th. Boston is not alone in its struggles over funding and competing demands. Boston Creates and the ‘Art Czar’ fever did contribute to a climate of planning mana mania that found its way into Gloucester and other cities and towns. Boston Magazine writer Patti Harrigan profiled the year of Boston Creates, warts– no all in the article, “Boston’s Creative Crisis”:

Marty Walsh’s $1.4 million Boston Creates plan was supposed to turbocharge the city’s arts scene. A year after its launch, are we ever going to get anything other than a series of kumbaya sessions and generic platitudes?” 

She does a good job covering some of the reasons. I can add more.  Another perspective was an op-ed piece penned by Clara Wainwright for the Boston Globe. You may know her work with the celebrated 1998 quilt series: “Protecting the Oceans That God Has Created,” by Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association members including Lena Novello, Angela Sanfilippo, Fino Sanfilippo, and Nina Groppo. I am confident you have heard about another iconic project she established.

First Night founder and artist with Gloucester ties,  Clara Wainwright, weighs in on Boston Creates. Her column “A Way Forward for Boston Creates” was published on June 2, 2016, excerpt below:

Clara Wainwright

“Members of the arts community are praising Mayor Walsh’s Boston Creates, a 10-year master plan for the city’s cultural life, but are concerned about funding. The result of interviews with leaders of large and small arts organizations, and of community brainstorming in Boston’s neighborhoods, the Boston Creates report was directed by Julie Burros, the Mayor’s new cabinet-level chief of arts and culture. In presenting a draft of the report (the final is due to appear June 17), Burros pointed out the broad, rich scope of the plan, but warned that there was minimal funding to carry out some of its goals. I was again reminded of the recent Boston Foundation report that placed Boston last of 10 major cities’ support for the arts. Why such a sad warning, when Boston’s arts organizations and artists have been so clever and resourceful over the years?

In 1970 the Institute of Contemporary Arts invited city agencies and community organizations to come up with projects. The parks commissioner wanted a huge bell on Boston Common, which children could ring by swinging on its rope; a community health center wanted a mural for its waiting room. Artists were invited to choose one of many project ideas or submit a dream of their own. A large array of their ideas were exhibited in City Hall, which then had an art gallery. Mayor White’s Office of Cultural Affairs and the city’s financial community were encouraged to fund those selected. Boston Gas saw Corita Kent’s proposal for a billboard and commissioned her to paint a mural on one of its tanks.

Currently, Artists for Humanity provides instruction and small salaries to 200 high school students in a state-of-the-art building in South Boston. Zumix gives East Boston children musical instruction, the opportunity to perform, and a recording studio and a radio station. Both organizations were initiated by dynamic young women in the 1990s on minimal budgets. Some of their funding today comes from corporate commissions for murals, graphic work, and performances.

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2016 Smart Growth conference #MSGA16

I’m in Worcester, MA, attending the 2016 Smart Growth Alliance conference (I was an invited speaker at a prior conference.)  The conference brings city planners, transportation and civic innovators, real estate and housing professionals, business leaders, non-profits, architects, Great Neighborhood and gateway cities, and –well, let’s just say a wide range of (primarily) policy folk.

It’s surprisingly enjoyable.

This year, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito is the key note speaker and we’ll hear from Worcester the host city. Other headliners include Michael Hogan President & CEO of AD Makepeace Company; Mayor Donna Holaday of Newburyport; Dan Burden the ‘walkability guru’; Parris Glendening former MD Governor and President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Inst; Veronica Eady, VP Conservation Law Foundation; and Monica Tibbits-Nutt, Executive Director 128 Business Council. There will be more than 70 speakers. Attendees often fan out in groups to cover more panels.  I’ll report back where I’ve landed.

One topic that will swirl in the background concerns housing and a landmark bill S.122 proposing changes to planning, zoning and permitting. The organizers support this in a big way. Director Andre Leroux writes, “We believe that the (legislators) have done a thoughtful job balancing the needs of municipalities, developers, and the environment. “

With two-thirds of Millennials desiring to live in walkable, transit-accessible places at the same time that seniors shift to apartment living, suburban communities have a real test before them.  Communities like Newtonville need to decide between planned growth and unplanned growth. For its peers like West Concord village, Winchester Center, Andover and Newburyport, the future is already happening.” Quite a dishy prompt.

The Boston Globe endorsed the bill, you may have noticed the title: “Make Room for Granny, and other zoning fixes.” Granny does live longer than Grandpa.

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