Don’t you love happy news! Virginia Lee Burton’s actual studio was saved and painstakingly and faithfully rebuilt and relocated to its new permanent home at Lanesville Community Center, Gloucester, Ma, with the help of many. “The rebuilding process of the Virginia Lee Burton (VLB) writing cottage has started with the much-needed help of volunteers, a Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant from the City of Gloucester, private donations and corporate donations from Dore and Whittier of Newburyport, MA, DMS Machine and Fabrication of Barre, VT and the Gloucester Building Center.”
Mark your calendars for upcoming events beginning this weekend!
The Lanesville Community Center Board of Directors invites you to
“A Celebration and Preview of the Restoration of the Virginia Lee Burton Writing Cottage: An opportunity to thank funders, donors and many community volunteers, Sunday, October 21, 1pm
Family Event: “First Reading” of Virginia Lee Burton’s books with Avis Burton Demetrios and Eleanor Demetrios, Saturday, October 27, 1pm
Children’s Drawing on October 27, 1-3pm to be displayed at the Cape Ann Museum children’s room
The Virginia Lee Burton Cottage was designated a historic building by the Gloucester Historical Society. Reconstruction was funded by a grant from the Gloucester Community Preservation Act.”
Learn more and enjoy before and after photographs by visiting the VLB writing cottage website. Don’t miss the 2018 interview with Lee Natti
Gloucester’s Stage Fort Park playground and glorious natural setting spark imagination and exciting adventures. The gigantic truck play sculpture was re-built and resited and it’s been tricked out with a slide and an official Cape Ann license plate. Hoping a sea serpent returns with a few Virginia Lee Burton icons one day soon.
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“Although Gloucester’s 400th Anniversary is five years away, we know that those years will go by quickly. 400 years deserves a year long celebration in 2023 and a steering committee has been meeting for the last six or seven months to get the process started. Three Captains have been chosen to lead the group: Bruce Tobey, Bob Gillis and Ruth Pino. The Committee is sponsoring a public meeting on Saturday April 28, 2018 in City Hall Auditorium…What should happen during 2023? What would you participate in? What would you miss if it didn’t happen?”
With so much advance notice, it’s fun to ruminate. Three words come quickly to mind for one idea: Virginia Lee Burton. Burton was one of the most influential children’s book author-illustrators of the 20th century and Folly Cove textile designer and founder. She received the Caldecott medal in 1943 for The Little House. Whether for the 400th Anniversary or not, I hope one day that there are tribute commissions for Virginia Lee Burton’s beloved characters Katy from Katy and the Big Snow and Mary Ann from Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel at Stage Fort playground. Life Story and Song of Robin Hood were also informed by landscape and her life in Gloucester. (The Burton tributes could be massive, interactive and accessible bronze sculptures. Tom Otterness commissions were completed at this scale. Why not Burton? They don’t have to be. Also bring back the monumental sea serpent and the big truck. These memorable imaginative expressions were wood in the past and maintained for years. Perhaps they could be recreated with modern decking materials. And add in Burton’s Little House! )
Gloucester has a history of producing major anniversary celebrations which makes looking back through archives* inspiring for future plans. Here are a few I’ve pulled:
*digitizing Gloucester Daily Times and Gloucester’s municipal archives is another oft repeated plea of mine and others–am sending that one along to a 400th dream wish list…
August 16, 1942– the city’s second (!) Tercentenary Celebration.
1923 Fighting for public art – the Fisherman at the Wheel memorial commission
On May 21, 1923, the Gloucester Daily Times published an article about the appropriations and planning for the city’s 300th Anniversary which is remarkable in content and its late date–the celebration was just months away! The idea itself and related costs concerning a public art commission –the one that would become Gloucester’s renowned Fisherman at the Wheel Memorial– were hammered out at a heated City Council meeting. Here’s the nearly complete transcription:
COUNCIL RECONSIDERS AND VOTES $5000 TO CELEBRATION: Equal Amount Will Be Reserved for Permanent Memorial Fund–Executive Committee Held Prolonged and Animated Session Saturday Evening. May 21, 1923 (*note ______ indicates illegible copy)
After three hours of discussion and a conference of the municipal council behind closed doors lasting about three-quarters of an hour on Saturday evening, it was voted to reconsider their action whereby the $10,000 appropriated for the anniversary committee should be alloted for a permanent memorial and voted for _____ committee to expend a sum not exceeding $5000 for the celebration, and the other $5000 to be used for the creation of a permanent memorial.
The agreement as finally reached is ______________ provide for the dedication in whole or in part of a permanent memorial to be erected and paid for jointly by the _______ city of Gloucester. “The municipal council agrees that a sum of $5000 of the amount appropriated by the city for the celebration will be for the general purposes of the committee if necessary, with the understanding that all expensea for additional police protection incurred by the committee on public safety will be paid for by the anniversary committee. And with the further understanding that the anniversary committee will do all possible to have this sum of money applied to the permanent memorial in addition to the sum reserved ____ by the municipal _____ surplus after the celebration is over, this surplus also to be for the purpose of a permanent memorial.” The meeting opened at 8.15 o’clock, with a reading of the records by Secretary Harold H. Parsons, and following this there came without hesitation_____ ing of the celebration from those present, and for a time, one was reminded of the old town meeting days. ___________ A Piatt Andrew ___________ carnival parade by members of the art colony of the city were accepted and adopted.
Plain Talk by Chairman Barrett- Chairman Barrett then arose and addressed the members present and said: “I sent a communication to the municipal council some time ago to find out just what standing this celebration had with them. The letter I received was not
A photo journal after the storm documenting and comparing a few iconic and sweeping Gloucester vistas on January 7, 2018, when all was white ice frozen, and again after the Great Thaw on January 13 2018.
Gloucester Motif- the house boat in view just before the turn off at Nichols
The Little House boat in the great frozen salt marsh reminded me of a mash up of two of Virginia Lee Burton’s children’s picture books inspired by Gloucester — Little House and Katy and the Big Snow. Here’s the little floating houseboat after the thaw at low tide January 13, 2018.
At high tide earlier in the day, January 13
Good Harbor Beach drive by three days after the storm
Good Harbor Beach salt marsh drive by one week after the storm and great thaw
Below the read more break: additional winter comparison photos (icebergs on the marsh by Lobster Land, Good Harbor Beach parking lot, Good Harbor Beach salt marsh, Stoney Cove pier at Little River & Annisquam River)
Live Theater Performances at Gloucester Stage for Young Audience Members Age 2 and Older
Gloucester Stage Company proudly announces A Celebration of local author Virginia Lee Burton at Playtime Stories, on Saturday, July 15 at 10 am at Gloucester Stage, 267, East Main Street, Gloucester. An engaging combination of children’s stories and live performances for ages 2 and older, Playtime Stories offers young children the unique opportunity to experience the fun and magic of live theater as they watch their favorite books come to life onstage. Following the performance audience members will be invited to join the Playtime Stories Company in fun and interactive workshops relating to the story. Each Saturday the Playtime Stories Company, consisting of members of Gloucester Stage’s apprentice company, veteran Youth Acting Workshop students and special guest narrators will perform a children’s story against the backdrop of the story’s illustrations as well as create a dynamic weekly series of interactive events related to the story. Saturday, July 15 the stories are Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel The Little House narrated by Danvers native and 2016 Education Apprentice Sarah Vandewalle and performed by Youth Acting Workshop students and members of the 2017 Apprentice Company. According to Youth Acting Workshop Director and Teacher Heidi Dallin, “We had a great response to the Playtime Stories program over the past two summers. It is a terrific way for YAW to reach out to younger audiences to spark their excitement in live performance. Many of the veteran YAW students in the Playtime Stories Company have been involved in the YAW program since they were 5 years old and now they will inspire the next generation of YAW students!” Each week through August 19Playtime Stories explores different stories ranging from classic fairy tales to new stories to works by local authors. July 15 is a A Celebration of Cape Ann author Virginia Lee Burton with the books: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House.
Playtime Stories at Gloucester Stage, 267, East Main Street, Gloucester runs throughSaturday, August 19. Upcoming books to be read and performed by the Playtime StoriesCompany include; July 22: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Doctor De Soto, The Little Mouse, the Ripe Red Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear ;July 29: Where the Wild Things Are andCorduroy ; August 5: Dr. Seuss Celebration: Oh, the Places You’ll Go and Green Eggs and Ham with more stories to be announced for August 12 and August 19. All Playtime Storyperformances are held at 10 am at Gloucester Stage, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Admission is $5. For more information or tickets, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com
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After a year of monthly programming by the libraries and community partners, the Cape Ann Readsoriginal 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; andAnna 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.
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