Excerpt from ‘The Uncertain Future of Places That Preserve America’s Past’
“Thanks to the City’s infamous witch trials, the historic homes and gardens on the Salem, Mass., waterfront usually get about a third of their annual visitors in the Halloween season. But the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lock-downs have created a scary situation for these places: most of the rest of their visitors arrive in the spring and summer. Thanks to the pandemic, this year’s busy time has been a wash, and it’s not looking like the fall will be much different. At the site of Salem’s The House of the Seven Gables and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace…” Read the full article TIME magazine here
Peabody Essex Museum has reopened with a modified schedule:
“Thursdays through Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm. To allow for safe physical distancing, a limited number of visitors will be allowed inside the museum and its galleries at any time. Reserve your tickets in advance at pem.org/tickets or by calling 978-542-1511.”
In Gloucester, both Beauport Museum and Hammond Castle are open. While Cape Ann Museum is not open, its on line, virtual fare has increased. Check out “CAM connects”- the most recent July 23, 2020 Cape Ann Music
Hammond Castle- Advance purchase of timed tickets is required to enter the museum. Purchase your tickets here. Guest are also welcome to explore the Museum grounds including the Bell Tower, Drawbridge, Look Out Point and our iconic arches. The grounds are open from 9:30 am to 4 pm daily. Face masks are required and social distancing should be maintained as recommended by the State of Massachusetts and the City of Gloucester.
Beauport Museum – Historic New England property details: “The tour has been altered to maximize social distancing, and each tour is limited to four guests. Please read the “Know Before You Go” section below for more information on safety requirements. Advance tickets are required, and admission is free for Historic New England members. Buy tickets now.”
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Last Chance! These must see 2019 shows are closing soon: Don’t miss ICA Watershed Purple (installation view above) closing September 2; DeCordova New England Biennial and the Provincetown Art Association & Museum’s 1945 Chaim Gross exhibition close September 15; and catch Renoir at the Clark before it’s gone September 22nd.
A few of the listed upcoming exhibitions to note: the NEW building and exhibits at PEM are opening September 2019; Homer at the Beach is on display at Cape Ann Museum thru December 1 (and catch a Richard Ormond lecture on John Singer Sargent’s Charcoals Sept.28 at Cape Ann Museum (ahead of the Morgan exhibition opening October); three new shows opening at MFA; Gordon Parks at Addison; and Alma Thomas at Smith. A Seuss-focused experience was pronounced destined for Boston, ahead of its TBD venue, by the LA entertainment company co-founders. Some shows I’ve already visited and may write about, mostly from a dealer’s perspective as that is my background. Exhibition trends continue to evolve and reveal new directions. A few patterns I see in the exhibition titles: what’s annointed for display and how it’s contextualized (corrective labels); immersive exhibits; revisiting colonial methodologies and themes; major solo surveys; women artists (and this upcoming season boost underscoring womens’ suffrage and 100th anniversary of the ratification of women’s right to vote); illustration; environment; and issues of humanity and migration. The list is illustrated with images of the sites. All photographs mine unless otherwise noted. Right click or hover to see info; click to enlarge. – Catherine Ryan
The guide – Massachusetts Museum Guide, Fall 2019
Note from author: The list below is alphabetized by town, and details upcoming exhibitions at each venue as well as some that are closing soon. Click the word “website” (color gray on most monitors) for hyperlinks that redirect to venues. For a list alphabetically sorted by venue, see my Google Map (with a Candy Trail overlay) “Art Museums in Massachusetts” hereand embedded at the end of this post. I pulled the map together several years ago. No apps to download or website jumping. Easy scroll down so you don’t miss an exhibit that’s closer than you think to one that you may already be exploring.A few are open seasonally (summer) or weekends only–call first to check before visiting. Major new architectural building projects are underway at BU (closed) and MIT. The 54th Regiment Memorial on Boston Common will undergo restoration. Get ready for close observation of conservation in process. – Catherine
1. John Greenleaf Whittier historic Home and Museumwebsite
18. Boston Harbor Islands National and State Parkwebsite
(photos show info gateway on the Greenway near the ferry access to Boston Harbor Islands)
Summer 2019 public art: Boston Harbor [Re]creation The Project: Artists Marsha Parrilla; Robin MacDonald-Foley; Brian Sonia-Wallace more(Jury: Luis Cotto MCC; Lucas Cowan, The Greenway; Celena illuzzi, National Parks; Caroly Lewenberg; Denise Sarno-Bucca DCR; Courtney Shape, City of Boston; Rebecca Smerling Boston Harbor Now; Kera Washingon; Cynthia Woo, Pao Arts Center)
Unveiled 2019 – Super A (Stefan Thelen) Resonance, 2019, latex and spray paint
Note to Greenway (see photo notes below): food trucks by the stop should be relocated to other food truck areas (and maybe one tree) to optimize and welcome sight line to the Greenway and public spaces from streets, sidewalk, and South Station. There are pauses elsewhere along the lattice park links, and a generous approach past the wine bar. The temporary commissioned mural could extend verso (or invite a second artist) so that the approach from Zakim Bridge/RT1/93North is as exciting as the approach from Cape Cod.
Skip the app AI download– swamped my phone battery despite free WiFi on the Greenway.
See complete list of 2019 public art currently on view at The Greenway here
The Greenway packs a lot of punch in a compressed area; its lattice of dynamic public spaces and quiet passages are an easy stroll into the North End or along the HarborWalk to the ICA, roughly similar in size and feel as walking Battery Park and Hudson River Park in New York City.
24. Innovation and Design building (aka Boston Design Building makeover in process in winter 2016 photos posted here) website
Through September 2, 2019 at The Water Shed, ICA Boston John Akomfrah: Purplemore
What’s coming in 2020 to The Water Shed? Still TBA
Through September 22, 2019 ICA Less Is a Bore: Maximilist Art & Designmore
Nice installation with a few surprises and thoughtful connection to other exhibtions on view. (The LeWit and Johns selections triggered what about that work or artist? I wish May Stevens and Harmony Hammond were included and my list grew from there. That’s part of the fun of the exhibit.)
September 24 – February 7, 2021 ICA Yayoi Kusama: Love is Callingmore
September 24 – February 7, 2021 ICA Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art after Kusamamore
October 23, 2019 – January 26, 2020 ICA When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Artmore
Through December 31, 2019 ICA 2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize Boston area artists: Rashin Fahandej; Josephine Halvorson; Lavaughan Jenkins; Helga Roht Poznanskimore
Through October 20, 2019 Ship of State…Paintings by Robert Henry
Through December 21, 2019 Interpreting Their World: Varujan Boghosian, Carmen Cicero, Elspeth Halvorsen and Pual Resika
71. The Art Complex Museum (Weyerhaeuser collection) website
August 18 – November 10, 2019 Steve Novick: Approximation
September 15 -January 12, 2020 Draw the Line
September 15 – January 12, 2020 Rotations: Highlights From the Permanent Collection Nocturne including Lowell Birge Harrison (American, 1854–1929), Suzanne Hodes (American, b. 1939), Kawase Hasui (Japanese, 1883–1957), George Inness (American, 1825–1894), Johan Barthold Jongkind (Dutch, 1819–1891) Martin Lewis (American, 1881–1962), and Henri Eugene Le Sidaner (French, 1862-1939)
November 17 – February 16, 2020 George Herman Found Paintings
72. Thornton W. Burgess Society Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen website *may join Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster to combine and become the Cape Cod Museums of Natural History
Peabody Essex Museum features Loren Doucette teaching pastel drawing in the garden for the museum summer 2019 July 31 and August 7th
LOREN DOUCETTE IS NEW OPERATIONS MANAGER AT ROCKY NECK
Announcement from Rocky Neck
Dear Rocky Neck Community,
The Board of Trustees is very excited to announce that art colony artist member, Loren Doucette, joined the organization as RNAC Operations Manager. In this newly formed position, Loren will co-ordinate and implement the various programs of the Art Colony, schedule and supervise the Cultural Center space, provide administrative support, and communicate with both members and the public.
Loren brings positivity, warmth and a fresh new energy to the Art Colony. She is passionate about being a creative catalyst and looks forward to promoting the artists and galleries of the Rocky Neck Art Colony, collaborating with local arts and business organizations, and helping to generate a new youthful vibrancy to the art colony.
A life-long artist who focuses on painting, drawing and collage, Loren has been an exhibiting artist and teacher on Cape Ann since 2000 and a member of the Rocky Neck Art Colony for over ten years. During this time she became widely known for her appealing style and was featured in several popular shows including those at Flatrocks Gallery and Gallery 53 in Gloucester and the Tusinski Gallery in Rockport. She was recently awarded the People’s Choice Award from the show Rocky Neck Now 2019, Looking All Around.
With a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Loren was recently Interim Director of Continuing Education at Montserrat where she also taught classes in pastel, drawing and painting.
She loves living by the ocean and being a part of the Cape Ann art community. In Loren’s words: “I continually fall in love with this amazing place—the people, the culture, the diversity, the natural beauty—all truly magical. I feel honored to have this position of leadership at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center and look forward to helping bring together many talented and inspired people to exhibit, perform, and tell their stories. In addition to honoring the rich artistic history that Rocky Neck holds, I am excited to be part of the next wave of artistic innovation!”
Loren may be reached during her office hours on Thursday and Friday by email: email@example.com and by phone at the Cultural Center: 978-515-7004.
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“Brian Kennedy, the Toledo Museum of Art’s ninth director since its founding in 1901, will leave his post in June to lead the nation’s oldest continuously operating art museum.
Mr. Kennedy, who has been with the TMA since 2010, is moving to become the director of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., it was announced Thursday. His last day with the Toledo museum is June 30, and he admitted during an interview with The Blade in his office that the decision has a bittersweet quality.”
The Massachusetts Whale Trail“is a special collection of museums and attractions, whale watching, and historic sites and tours with a connection to whales.” Capt Bill & Sons, 7 Seas Whale Watch, and Cape Ann Whale Watch are included.
Naturally, Gloucester had created a version on the HarborWalk which you can find on line or on the trail at marker #36 right by Tonno Restaurant, Gloucester, MA. Whale watching is beloved here in town. The Gloucester HarborWalk has whale watch information, points of interest and a tab to all the local whale watching companies.”Most offer daily whale watching trips from April through October.”
SEVEN SEAS WHALE WATCH +1 (888) 283-1776
CAPE ANN WHALE WATCH +1 (800) 877-5110
CAPT BILL & SONS +1 (800) 339-4253
YANKEE FLEET +1 (978) 283-0313
When O’Maley 6th graders study Gloucester and visit the HarborWalk, the student thank you drawings featured whale tails and spouting whales. It’s common for local kids to be invited to birthday parties on whale watch trips. Donna Ardizzoni photographed and wrote about her Right Whale sightings from shore spring 2018, and more whale sightings around town. Parsons Street wall Mural (by the Fish Net HarborWalk street mural) was painted by local kids under the direction of Cape Ann Art Haven and features a great whale.
How did the Berkshire Museum brouhaha wind up in the highest court under SJO (Single Justice) review by Justice David A Lowy?
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, deemed it necessary to alter an original historic building and sell off its priceless core art collection in order to build a dream and survive. This controvertial move garnered attention and divided opinion. The Trustees of the Museum explained that they hired a consultancy firm which confirmed this new direction (“New Vision”), via extensive public outreach* no less, so what gives? (*22 focus groups involving over 200 people is hardly extensive.) Opponents cried, “Foul!”, and pointed out questionable and perhaps shady fodder, i.e. would museum members and the Berkshire community have voted YES had they been told that the best works from the permanent collection must be sold off to make it happen? Also, the art was consigned to Sotheby’s June 13, 2017, but the Trustees altered the museum’s Charter after the consignment date and only then informed the “public”. Timing is everything. There was even an infamous email with a ‘loose lips sink ships’ subject line. We know these details because of dogged reporting by the The Berkshire Eagle, notably Larry Parnass, and a wide network. The story is urgent and compelling, the art world equivalent of a Spotlight-All the President’s Men-Pentagon Papers type investigation.
The first auctions were slated for November 2017. Shuffleton’s Barbershop by Norman Rockwell was to have been the Berkshire Museum star lot. Its presale estimate alone was 20 to 30 million. By the Fall of 2017, the museum was hit with multiple lawsuits, sued by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Norman Rockwell descendants, and various plaintiffs. Eventually, all were folded into #TeamAGO vs. the Berkshire Museum. On November 8th, the Lower Court ruled in favor of the Museum, clearing the legal right of way to auction. The Attorney General Office appealed to the State’s supreme judicial court to block the sale for more time to evaluate and investigate the case. Attorneys for the Museum fought that request vigorously, but were denied. On November 10, 2017, the AGO procured an injunction from Judge Trainor of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, scuttling any scheduled auction prior to December 11, 2017. Allowances for extensions to build the case were granted. On February 5th, the AGO switched teams and filed jointly with its former adversary, the Berkshire Museum, petitioning the court to apply cy pres and maintaining its opinion that indeed all the art is restricted:
“As detailed elsewhere (e.g., in its filings in the litigation referenced above) the AGO believes that all of the works of art deaccessioned and proposed for sale are subject to one or more restrictions that limit the Museum’s ability to proceed with its planned sale and use of proceeds to fund an endowment, pay for operating expenses and fund renovations. The Museum continues to believe no restrictions (beyond the Museum’s charitable purposes) apply.”
This alliance left many scratching their heads and interested parties formerly #TeamAGO adrift. Although the Rockwell plaintiffs backed off and dropped their case, law firms Sullivan & Worcester and Foley Hoag with Barker, Epstein & Loscocco solicited amicus status on behalf of their clients.
Immediately, the AGO and the Berkshire Museum filed opposition papers. They weren’t persuasive. The Justice granted the participation of the law firms which means that the SJ-2018-065 docket was vastly enlarged and enlightened on February 27, 2018, and I had to see. And share. (Although everything I was looking for and questioned was not there.) The attorneys disagree with the AGO and Berkshire Museum proposal, and request oral argument. The AGO and Museum responses were filed after I visited. Justice David A Lowy will make that decision. He can act on filed papers related to Docket SJ-2018-065, order a hearing, or pass the case back to the full court. What will he do? I’m crossing fingers that arguments will be heard, and with the full court (which meets the first week each month and is open to the public), especially after I considered the material in person. The Berkshire Museum could inspire a Frank Capra-esque courtroom movie treatment one day.
In the meantime, the art remains in Sotheby’s possession and the auction house stands down as the case is sorted. The docket includes Sotheby’s contract.
For armchair lawyers and detail detectives: I offer a blizzard of documents, on the eve of the next Nor’Easter blizzard and hope I’ve peaked your interest. (Leaving my analysis aside for now.) Scroll past this post’s “read more” indicator to see interior architectural photos I took of the stunning John Adams Courthouse, and to read some of the complete and unfiltered new filings and documents related to the Berkshire Museum case, specifically-
AMICI CURIAE Sullivan & Worcester LLP law firm on behalf of ‘Berkshire Museum Member Plaintiffs’: James Hatt, Kristin Hatt, and Elizabeth Weinberg, filed Feb 26 2018, case SJ-2018-065 (52 pages)
AMICUS CURIAE Foley Hoag and Barker, Epstein & Loscocco – attorney Michael B Keating of Foley Hoag with attorney Daniel Epstein of Barker, Epstein & Loscocco on behalf of clients: Tom Patti, who completed two commissioned installations for the Berkshire Museum entrance and reception areas–spaces that will be gutted if the historic building is disfigured for the New Vision; Marilyn Holtz Patti – resides and works in Berkshire County as does Tom Patti; Jean Rosseau and Jonas Dovydenas- residents of Stockbridge and Lenox; James Lamme, resident of Egremont; and Donald MacGillis, resident of Pittsfield, MA. (21 pages)
Sotheby’s Contract with the Berkshire Museum (9 pages)
Affidavit from Dan Monroe, Director of the Peabody Essex Museum opposed the Berkshire Museum sale (4 pages)
Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) provided major facility funding since 2000. Some related construction was completed by a board member and warrants scrutiny
gorgeous Stanley Spencer, panel from Titanic, and so much more!
CLOSES OCT 9. There’s still time to catch one of the best shows of the year before it sails to London! Forget the theme and be ready to be continually swept off your feet by a who’s who of 20th century art and design, history, and one of a kind surprises (spoiler alert photographs of the installation below). This exhibition is high art with loans from important collections worldwide, well curated, and supremely installed. Its genesis stems from collector Stephen Lash and curators from the Peabody Essex Museum and London’s Victoria and Albert. I was reminded of great design shows at MoMa and influential Modernism fairs during the 1980s at the Armory.NEWS FLASH – More than 1000 works of art from the collection of Stephen Lash, Peabody Essex Museum overseer, were gifted to the museum and announced this week through this exhibition.
If you only have time for one work…
STANLEY SPENCER Riveters from the epic cycle Shipbuilding on the Clyde, 1941, in the collection of the Imperial War Museums, London. I have never seen one of these Spencers in person–what a surprise to find it here!
The photo above illustrates the left corner of the Spencer mural: it’s so vast you need to use a video to capture its mind boggling composition and entirety. (Spencer’s studies included field sketches unfurled on toilet paper–useful, cheap, and lengthy matrix):
FINEST EXTANT TITANIC CARVING FRAGMENT (arch at the threshhold of the recital lounge), ca.1911, from the collection of Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax Nova Scotia Museum. Spotlighting in this post for artist, Morgan Faulds Pike
Shout out to David and Susan Goode – was thrilled to see the Jan Matulka from Norfolk Southern collection!
OCEAN LINERS exhibition was co-organized by the Peabody Essex Museum and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and closes October 9, 2017. The exhibition opens at the Victoria & Albert in February and continues through June 10, 2018. There are many standouts in this exhibition, photographs September 2017 (click to enlarge and see descriptions)
Photographs/short video clips from my visit September 2017. Gloucester’s Zach Gorrell is a participating musician for the LIVE pianist performances. Alex Olsen playing when I was there.
Together with the Essex National Heritage’s 20th anniversary celebration, 131 Trailblazing organizations where honored at last night’s grand gala, held at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. Over 300 Essex Heritage supporters were in attendance.
Very special guest Secretary John Kerry, who helped craft the legislation in 1996 that designated the area (and worked with Senator Kennedy over many years to secure funding), gave an inspiring speech highlighting the fact that the past twenty years of this unique public-private partnership has created the tremendous success that is the Essex National Heritage area.
Congratulations to the Essex National Heritage and all the Trailblazers!
The best fun seeing these four at the gala!! Captain Stefan Edick of the Schooner Adventure, Captain Tom Ellis of the Schooner Lannon, Mayor Sefatia, and Tom Balf, Director of Maritime Gloucester.
A special toast was given to the following Trailblazers:
Preserving this Special Region: Essex County Greenbelt Association; Connecting People to Place: The Trustees of Reservations; Building & Growing Our Future: Peabody Essex Museum; Advancing Our Educational Mission (tied for first place): Lowell’s Boat Shop and The House of Seven Gables. Of special note to Cape Ann residents, Maritime Gloucester came in second place and Essex Shipbuilding Museum came in third place in the category Advancing Our Educational Mission.
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Elizabeth Carey shares photos and a note with GMG:
“Today is Tourism Day at the Massachusetts State House. Each year tourism leaders from through the Commonwealth gather together to celebrate the tourism industry. There were many in attendance including Ann Marie Casey Executive Director of the NBCVB. Kate Fox of Destination Salem. Corey Atkins State Rep. Tom Kershaw of Cheers with Steve and Rhonda of Woodman’s.”- Elizabeth Carey, Discover Gloucester
Thanks so much, Elizabeth for sharing your photos from the State House. Many of the participants attended last evening’s 20th Anniversary gala at Peabody Essex Museum for Essex National Heritage. Ann Marie was there despite revving up to MC this annual State House conference–she was selected by her many colleagues for that role.
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Secretary John Kerry reconnected with Mayor Romeo-Theken before he took to the podium to address more than 300 guests attending the Essex National Heritage 20th Anniversary gala at the Peabody Essex Museum. They go way back. Essex National Heritage was designated in 1996 with key support from John Kerry and Ted Kennedy.
Here’s a star, Emily Levin from Essex National Heritage. Everyone who hosts programs over Essex National Heritage fabulous annual Trails & Sails enjoys working with Emily.
The temporary Essex National Heritage illumination is projected above the Halo sculpture by Anish Kapoor.
ANNOUNCING THE TRAILBLAZERS
4000 votes helped select a few Trailblazer nominees for a special champagne toast representing their mission and all the wonderful cultural resources across 34 towns. Kim Smith was in good company! We toasted the following 2017 Essex National Heritage Area Trailblazers:
1)PRESERVING THIS SPECIAL REGION
1st place | Essex County Greenbelt Association 2nd place | Ipswich River Watershed Association 3rd place | The Cabot
2)CONNECTING PEOPLE TO PLACE
1st place | The Trustees of Reservations 2nd place | Mass Audubon 3rd place |Essex Agricultural Society
3)BUILDING & GROWING OUR FUTURE
1st place — Peabody Essex Museum 2nd place — YMCA of the North Shore 3rd place — Valley View Farm
4)ADVANCING OUR EDUCATIONAL MISSION
1st place (tie) | Lowell’s Boat Shop and The House of Seven Gables 2nd place | Maritime Gloucester 3rd place | Essex Shipbuilding Museum
Nice detail: the second festive beverage for the reception featured the trio of colors in the Essex National Heritage logo.
Gloucester organizations and partners were featured in the slide loop including: City Hall for Community Preservation, Discover Gloucester, Lannon, Rocky Neck, Schooner Adventure, HarborWalk, Cape Ann Museum.
On April 5 2017 we’re celebrating all of the incredible organizations and people that we’ve spent the last two decades working with to preserve and enhance the significant historic, cultural, and natural places that make Essex County like nowhere else. We are also THRILLED that Secretary John Kerry will joining as the celebrate. Secretary Kerry played a key role in the federal legislation designating the Essex National Heritage Area in 1996!
Who are the Trailblazers and which will receive a toast? The public nominated 131 Trailblazers. While all Trailblazers will be recognized at the Gala, only a few will be honored with a special toast! The public was invited to vote for which Trailblazers will receive a toast, and the results will be revealed only at the event; toasts will be made at the Gala!
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Essex National Heritage is celebrating their 20th anniversary. To mark this special occasion, Essex Heritage is recognizing organizations and people that make the Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County) so exceptional and I have been nominated in the category Connecting People to Place. The 130 nominees are all stellar and most are businesses and very large organizations, for example, the Peabody Essex Museum, Mass Audubon (statewide), and Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, so it is really quite an honor to be nominated.
The voting process is very simple, you don’t have to provide your email address or any other personal information. Please vote for me in the second of four categories, second Connecting People to Place (center column, halfway down). Here is the link to vote: surveymonkey.com/r/TrailblazersVote
Voting ends today, March 14th. Thank you for your vote!
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American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isle of Shoals at the Peabody Essex Museum closes today. It’s one of the best exhibitions I saw this year. Go — there’s still time today. You will come nearly as close as any observer can to feeling the rapturous meeting of an artist’s take with the shimmering world.
Hassam’s paintings don’t reproduce well in books, or photography. They need to be addressed– sized up, walked towards. Inhaled.
This approach is beneficial even if you study just one. But my, what luxury seeing so many in one place at one time. Again and again, the show brought forth connections and insight.”Funny, I hadn’t seen that before,” I found myself thinking. Artists Howard Hodgkin and Lucian Freud came to mind.
The exhibition features more than 40 Hassam oil paintings and watercolors of the eastern seaboard dating from the late 1880s to 1912–an Isle of Shoals painting reunion, with secrets revealed. The Peabody Essex Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art co-organized and partnered with marine scientists at Shoals Marine Laboratory, Cornell University, and the University of New Hampshire. Their new research examined all the sites on the island, and Hassam’s painting process. I liked the research, the pacing of the installation, and the thoughtful viewshed. Besides the two museums, loans came from near and mostly far such as: private collections from coast to coast (which I’d never see); the Portland Museum of Art; Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis; Yale (Sinclair Lewis gifted that one to Yale!); Wichita Art Museum; Toledo Museum of Art; Smith; Smithsonian; and the National Gallery of Art. Basically all painting is abstraction: I relished the chance to study so many in one spot.
I was not a fan of the piped in sound, nor all the wall paint choices as my senses were already acutely challenged by observation. My disdain for the canned ambient sound was so distracting, I had to leave. On my second visit, the scent of coconut wafted out the entrance. My goodness, have they piped in fake scent like a boutique hotel or experiential attraction, too? They hadn’t. It was my overreaction in the wake of another visitor’s adornment, a lingering fragrance, perhaps sunscreen on a summer day.
Tucked away within the Hassam exhibit was a good photo installation of Alexandra de Steiguer’s work as the Isles winter keeper– for 19 years! For anyone who wondered more about life as a keeper after reading The Light Between Oceans, de Steiguer wrote about her real experiences here, http://connected.pem.org/alone-on-an-island/. It’s beautiful!
Annie Harris Essex National Heritage opens Scaling Up conference
Artists Leslie Bartlett and Susan Quateman on the program–their exhibit at the NPS Salem visitor center through the end of November). Local attendees include Essex Shipbuilding Museum, Patti Amaral Clean City and Gloucester Cape Ann Trail Stewards.
For those interested in conservation right where people live, Essex Heritage and Peabody Essex Museum are co-hosting a daylong conference focused on the big topic of Scaling Up. Local, national and international experts interested in conservation planning and policy will have a chance to share, learn and network. Register on line. The conference will take place on Friday October 7th from 8-5PM at the Peabody Essex Museum and will finish up at the Salem Visitor Center. Who will be there from your town?
Speakers and symposium participants include: Keynote P. Lynn Scarlett, Global Director Public Policy, Nature Conservancy; Bob McIntosh, National Park Service; Brent Mitchell, Atlantic Center for the Environment; Stephanie Toothman, National Park Service; Emily Bateson, Practicioners’ Network for Large Landscape Conservation; Ed Becker, Essex County Greenbelt; Amanda Babson, Coastal Landscape Adaptation, Northeast Region, National Park Service; Robert O’Connor, Director of Land and Forest Policy, MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Janey Winchell, Sara Fraser Robbins Director, Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center, Peabody Essex Museum; Eric Hove, Metropolitan Area Planning council; Colin Novic, Greater Worcester Land Trust; Wayne Castonguay, Ipswich River Watershed Assoc; Kathy Abbott, President and CEO, Boston Harbor Now; Tim Abbott, Director Litchfield Hills Greenprint, Housatonic Valley; and Rebecca Stanfield McCown, Director, National Park Service Stewardship Institute.
Call to order, welcome, and/or moderating by: Annie Harris, CEO Essex National Heritage Commission; Mayor of Salem Kimberly Driscoll; Jay Finney of Peabody Essex Museum; and Jessica Brown, Executive Director for the New England Biolabs Foundation.
Happy travelers are such a joy! Meet Dean and Cathy King from Adelaide. They went to Washington and New York where they caught this Holland America cruise to Canada. They said the entertainment director outlined the demographics: 110 Aussies, 700 or so Canadians, 700 or so Americans, many countries represented by 10+ passengers and 13 New Zealanders, “to be precise.” They were squaring away their plans in Cruiseport until an 11:45AM tour to Rockport, and later walking downtown Gloucester. Their friends signed up for an 8AM tour. I spent time in Adelaide and loved it. I hope they have as great a time here, and memorable trip all around.
Before reaching Cruiseport, passengers like the Kings are shuttled ashore by tender boats.
The tenders hold more people than you think!
As they came ashore they were greeted with soaring vocals of Three Sheets to the Wind.
What a reception! Many visitors stopped to take their photo.
Passengers stream upstairs to happy greeters.
The lines ebb and flow with every tender.
Maps and brochures are selected as passengers head outside to enjoy a day in Gloucester and Cape Ann.
Happy helpful greeting at the CATA table. How could it be otherwise–Heidi Dallin!
Passengers heading downtown on the CATA trolley while others stand waiting for a CATA scenic bus.
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Kate LaChance of the Cape Ann Museum sent in a few photos from new options for touring the collection.
Do you have summer guests who may not be regular museum-goers? Do you love museum tours, but would like to connect with the collections at a different level? This new tour may be for you. Designed for groups of 6 to 14 people, ages 10 and beyond, the CAM Off the Wall Tour challenges its participants to problem solve, to act out, to use their imaginations, and even to photograph works in the Museum. Similar to a standard tour, a trained guide will lead participants to particular works of art and artifacts, but unlike the standard tour, participants will be assigned an activity at each stop. This is not so much a guided tour as a personal adventure through the Museum. Call ahead to organize an Off the Wall Tour for your family or group. Remember to bring a smart phone or digital camera, and of course, a sense of humor! For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (978)283-0455 x12.
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Black rocks are slippery and demand respect. Dreaded barnacles may be near. For the uninitiated, advice helps: Tread slowly. Crouch low. No flip flops. Maintain 3 or 4 points of contact. Walk like a crab. The rocks feel sticky, maybe dry. Caution: things change quickly if you’re wet.
Still, people fall. Hard. I have witnessed spectacular slides down cliffs, torn and stained swimwear, bruised backs, skin scraped raw and red, stubbed and bloody toes, one gashed head, and a fractured wrist.
I have a copy of The Sea is All About Us in a guest room for family and friends. I can’t say that it will ward off all evil falls, but it’s helped. The granite galvanizing, seaweed section quoted below is one of the oft read passages I share. What a teacher! She lived in Gloucester and wrote about it.
If you read it once, I guarantee that it will change how you see the colors of our rocky coast, and sea all about us.
From 1973 The Sea is All about Us by Sarah Fraser Robbins and Clarice Yentsch. Back cover: Yentsch and Robbins (first author-holding horseshoe crab)
The Rocky Shore
The Black Zone
Plant and animal life on the rocky shore can be separated into six general zones, beginning with the Black Zone, which marks the average high point that the sea reaches upon the land. The Black Zone is covered by microscopic blue-green algae, which are so dense that they make a black line of varying widths along the rocks. These blue green algae exist at high-tide level all around the world wherever the sea meets the land on the rocks.
Just below the Black Zone lie
The Periwinkle Zone and The Barnacle Zone.
named after the dominant animals. There is no definite territorial line for these animals, and indeed the zones often intermingle with each other. Barnacles and periwinkles can be found penetrating the Rockweed Zone (the next zone seaward) and sometimes into the edge of the Irish Moss Zone. Both periwinkles and barnacles are equipped to withstand desiccation (drying out), and can live very successfully in an area that is dry up to 70 percent of the time.
The Rockweed Zone
lies in the middle intertidal area, and is characterized by the brown seaweeds that live there, such as the sea wrack, Fucus, and the knotted wrack, Ascophyllum, which are long, brown seaweeds with conspicuous float bladders that are firmly attached to most of the rocks. They hang limply when the tide is out and float upwards as the tide rises until they are completely erect at high tide. They sway back and forth, dampening the effect of wave action, and providing a sheltered environment for many intertidal plants and animals.
The Irish Moss Zone
is down lower from the high tide line and is exposed only during the very low tides which occur twice a month. The short, dark red tufts of Irish moss, Chondrus Crispus, cover the lower rocks like a carpet, in sharp contrast with the brown Rockweed Zone, the white Barnacle Zone, the Periwinkle Zone and the Black Zone above.
The Laminarian or Kelp Zone
is exposed only at the very lowest tides, which occurs four times a year. This zone extends down as far as light usable for photosynthesis can penetrate–about 30 meters in Folly Cove, and 200 meters in very clear tropical water. The Kelp Zone is the dwelling place of many animals that can survive only continually submerged in water; sponges, hydroids, anemones, certain mollusks, echinoderms, arthropods, tunicates, and fish. Many of these animals may be found higher in intertidal zones, but only in pools that never dry up.
On tide pools- “AT TIMES IN AUGUST THEY ARE REDUCED TO A CRUST OF SALT CRYSTALS”
Tide pools occur in all zones. The upper pools in the splash area or Periwinkle Zone are sporadically replenished with sea water, and consequently are subject to variations caused by land temperatures. They may freeze long before the ocean does. They evaporate in hot sun and strong winds, and thereby concentrate their salinity, that is, become saltier than the sea. At times during August, they are reduced to a crust of salt crystals. After heavy rains and floods they become much less salty. Some tide pools in the middle zones will contain animals and plants characteristic of a deeper zone because the conditions present are similar to those in the zone below. Tide pools in the Irish Moss Zone often contain kelp and associated animals. Tide pools are always a good place to explore.
The edge of the tide is a fragile environment which in its delicate natural balance can easily be destroyed by interference. The building of piers, jetties, and sewage outfalls, and the dumping of trash or industrial wastes into the ocean can be devastating. Overcollecting can be destructive. In the intertidal areas, look and touch only. Examine plants and animals carefully. Overturn stones to see what is clinging to them or living underneath, but always turn that stone back. To leave it overturned alters the environment completely and needlessly kills many organisms. Take photographs or make careful drawings for your notebook, but collect only dead material. Use unbreakable plastic containers from which to observe the organism and then return them to the tidal pool.
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While Rio welcomes the 2016 XXXI Olympics, Gloucester will host the “38th Annual Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim” on August 13, 2016 at 9AM on Niles Beach. A 500 meter course for children ages 8-12 was added last year; any parent and child registering at the same time will receive a promotional discount. I find that incentive extra symbolic because a mother and daughter, Sarah Fraser Robbins and Sarah Robbins Evans, together with Philip Weld, Jr., got this all going! MassAudubon facilitated the annual swim the following year and many years after. More recently it’s been produced by the New England Ocean Water Swimming Association (NEOWSA). Many partners with the City of Gloucester continue to work hard for clean water. I’ll write more about the history of the swim in another post, but in this post I want to delve a bit into the biography of Sarah Fraser Robbins.
They swam for clean water because the Clean Water Act was not being enforced in the Harbor. Today participants swim to celebrate clean water.
There are 2.5 centuries of conservation efforts and notable naturalists in Gloucester. Sarah Fraser Robbins was one.
Sarah Fraser Robbins was 68 at the time of the first swim, a long time Gloucester resident, environmentalist, author, scholar and museum educator. She worked at the Peabody Essex Museum for 25 years. In 1961, she and others helped persuade the Raymond family to donate land to Mass Audubon, now Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary. Robbins was friends with Ivy LeMon who was active in banding monarchs to trace their migration wintering in Mexico–had to be with that wonderful name. I have heard that together they helped to secure habitat and urged people to garden using the plants butterflies liked. Kim Smith continues on that Gloucester path.
Robbins published articles in regional journals, the journal of the New England aquarium, and for close to 30 years a regular column- “The Curious Naturalist” -for Mass Audubon publications. The Sea Is All About Us: A Guide to Marine Environments of Cape Ann and Other Northern New England Waters, the 1973 book Robbins wrote with Clarice Yentsch, was an influential touchstone about wildlife at our shores. The lengthy title opens with a nod to the T.S. Eliot poem Four Quartets: The Dry Salvages. What other could it be? That glorious landmark seamark poem is all Water, art, legacy and nature. And the paradise that’s Cape Ann.
Read an excerpt with Robbin’s curator, scholar and naturalist’s eye in mind. (Her father was an amateur geologist.)
The river is within us, the sea is all about us; The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses Its hints of earlier and other creation: The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone; The pools where it offers to our curiosity The more delicate algae and the sea anemone. It tosses up our losses, the torn seine, The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,
The ‘savage rocks’ are two groups of rocky ledge off our shores nearby Straightsmouth and Thacher Island. The bigger ‘Dry Salvages’ are a mile and a half out and the little salvages are a mile out. Growing up, including when he came home from Harvard, Eliot sailed from his family’s summer home on Eastern Point. He could clear the Dry Salvages or thread past Avery Ledge and Flat Ground and back home to Gloucester.
… the ragged rock in the restless waters, Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it; On a halcyon day it is merely a monument, In navigable weather it is always a seamark To lay a course by: but in the sombre season Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.
Check out who wrote the forward for the new edition of The Sea is All About Us:
None other than Deborah Cramer, author of The Narrow Edge, another Gloucester conservationist ( and still looking for horseshoe crab sightings)
The Peabody Essex Museum and Maritime Gloucester memorialized Sarah Fraser Robbins. Be inspired!
In 2003, Peabody Essex Museum established the Sarah Fraser Robbins Directorship for the Art & Nature Center, currently held by Jane Winchell.
In 2014 the Center was dedicated in memory of PEM honorary trustee, Dorothy “Dotty” Addams Brown, Sarah’s good friend and Eastern Point resident.
Maritime Gloucester’s education center was dedicated in 2008 as the Sarah Fraser Robbins Marine Science Center.
In 2014, Maritime Gloucester also established the Sarah Fraser Robbins Environmental Award.
Philip Weld’s father, Philip S. Weld Sr., was a newspaper publisher, editor, writer, environmentalist, veteran, and record breaking sailor. The year after the first harbor swim Phil Sr won a transatlantic race sailing “Moxie” and wrote about that crossing. He grew up in Manchester and raised his family in Gloucester.
You can see Sarah’s daughter, Sarah Robbins Evans, interviewed in a great 2010 GMG video by Manny Simoes. Make sure to watch his terrific mini doc overview of that 32nd Clean Harbor Swim run by Richie Martin. There are brief and peppy participant interviews. Swimmers came near and far- Tewksbury, Beverly, Boxford, Boston, Bedford NH, Essex, Portland ME, Falmouth ME, Swampscott…watch to find out more!
This image is from the “Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery”, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University
There are 1100ft’ of commercial space available within the historic brick building — one small structure in the industrial complex that is still going strong, as in the Cutter family’s
Strong Leather Company.
In business since 1932, Strong Leather is a major player in producing essential gear for law enforcement such as leather belts, holsters, wallets and accessories. They wholesale to police and military suppliers. They have made local products for Gloucester and Rockport police and fire departments and sometimes Essex and Ipswich. Besides the leather factory, offshoot businesses on site for three generations of the Cutter family include advertising and product and promotional projects. Prior to the leather business, the historic factory was built and incorporated in 1884. Gloucester Net & Twine quickly ramped up as a major ancillary supplier for the fishing industry. It’s one of the largest oldest factories still standing and was placed on the National Historic Registry in 1996. Eight volumes of historic plan books for Gloucester Net & Twine Company are in the collection of Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.
Gloucester Net & Twine Company is included in the National Park Service maritime history trail in MA. Gloucester is one of the cities with the most sites–only Boston has more. Besides this historic factory building, other Gloucester sites on the maritime trail include: Our Lady of Good Voyage, East Gloucester Square Historic District, Man at the Wheel, Schooner Adventure, Ten Pound Light, Eastern Point Light Station, and Annisquam Harbor Light Station.
People interested in the rental space:
This is office space and hours. Not residential. There is no living space.
Two offices and open bull pens, storage closet, and bathroom
No artist studio space (I write that because I have been asked to look for an industrial space that could work for a glass artist–blow torch, glass kiln, etc.There has to be a space in Gloucester somewhere for that sort of artist request!) I wish Maplewood school was artist studios.
ask for Brian (978)281-3300
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As I frequent museums and collections for work, and Gloucester art abounds, I suffer bouts of ‘Gloucester acquisition affliction’ . Relative newcomers at PEM include a St. Peter Fiesta scene by Gifford Beal and one of Portuguese Hill by Olga Itasca Sears. As much as I am fond of PEM– and I mean no disrespect to this august institution– I sorely wish the Cape Ann Museum had received the art or funds for acquisition. There are few major historic paintings of Gloucester (and the greater region) which remain in private hands. They include works by Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. I’m trying.
While at PEM for special exhibits, I often check the permanent installation. Are the Frank Benson works and Norman Rockwell on view? Check. I make a point to spend time in front of the Philip Reisman 1951 Tuna Shed, another Gloucester painting and one that Wicked Tuna fans may like to scrutinize. Reisman was a masterful, versatile painter, and a smart gentle man. I was lucky to know and work with him. The Cape Ann Museum has examples of his Gloucester paintings in their collection and a binder of slides, photographs he took, many Fiesta. I remember labeling some.
I paused more than I ever have at the John Trumbull portrait of Alexander Hamilton. (Hmm. Have museums tagged works representing Alexander Hamilton? It would be a mastery of quick edits matched up to the Lin Manuel Miranda song.)
#Hamilton, @ Lin_Manuel, #PEM John Turnbull, Portrait of Alexander Hamilton, 1792, oil on canvas, gift of George A Ward, 1918, collection Peabody Essex Museum
I am looking forward to the upcoming Childe Hassam show opening July 16th at PEM. I went to see the Rodin exhibit.