AROUND CAPE ANN: Art association launches national, experimental shows | News

The Rockport Art Association & Museum, 12 Main St. in Rockport has launched its national juried show, showcasing artists from across the country as well as local artists.

The exhibition features drawing, mixed media, collage, photography, painting, digital art and sculpture. The exhibition may be viewed online at https://www.rockportartassn.org/raam-national. The show runs through Dec. 31.

Jurors Teresa Oaxaca and Mark Boedges chose the works from nearly 1,000 entries from artists throughout the United States. The art association organizers also view this exhibition as a cultural exchange opportunity, which introduces new artistic influences from beyond Cape Ann as its showcases regional talent.

The associations’s Experimental Group opens its 16th exhibition, “Unexpected No. Sixteen” at the museum this Saturday. The exhibition also can be viewed online at www.rockportartassn.org. Works on view are all under the size of 20 by 20 inches and feature paintings, mixed-media, graphics, sculpture, digital art and photography.

The exhibition runs through Dec. 31. The group was founded to present a creative forum with a mission to increase public awareness and to foster self-expression. For more information, visit https://experimentalartgroup.com.

Although there is much to celebrate artistically, the historic art association is mourning the recent death of one of its long-time members, past president and well-respected teacher David Curtis of Gloucester, an award-winning artist.

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“Words cannot capture the true scope of David Curtis’s life and its positive influence on others,” said Heidi Caswell Zander, acting director and president of the Board of Governors. “He was a beloved leader of the Cape Ann art community. He embodied art, visibly enjoyed living it and sharing it.”

She recalled how Curtis could be found at the Cox Reservation in Essex on Saturdays, surrounded by artists eager to learn from him and receive critiques in an atmosphere of camaraderie within the group he established.

“I, as many, many others, was a beneficiary of David’s generous inclusivity and his artistic intelligence, his kindness, and perceptiveness,” said Zander. “I will ever be grateful treasuring the exchanges with him, and knowing of the many he encouraged, taught, and gave a lift forward to, accepting everybody as he found them. His wealth of knowledge flowed from him with ease.”

Elks host holiday fair

The Elks Lodge, at 97 Atlantic Road, Gloucester, is holding a holiday fair, open to the public, on Sunday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring 35 vendors in the function room.

The items are varied and include Christmas décor, hot chocolate bombs, jewelry, sea glass art, pottery, handmade dresses, fine art, doll clothes, blankets, photography, quilted items, mini lobster traps, blown glass art, home décor, beauty and wellness items, candles, books, plants and more. The fair also features three 14-year-olds who have homemade crafts to sell, including painted signs, homemade slime, and homemade earrings. Elks clothing also will be on sale.

Concert of holiday classics

Back by popular demand, Rockport Music presents Quiana Lynell on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 5 p.m. when the vocalist from New Orleans returns to Rockport. She is the 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition winner, and she performs with her full band singing Christmas tunes from the American Songbook. Tickets start at $19.

Sunday, Dec. 11, brings the Back Bay Ringers to the Shalin Liu Performance Center at 2 and 5 p.m. Under the direction of Griff Gall, the group regularly performs at Boston-area landmarks such as Faneuil Hall, Symphony Hall, the Boston Children’s Museum, among others. For information and tickets, visit rockportmusic.org.

Tote to support families

Sarah Fris, a painter and illustrator member of Local Colors Artists’ Cooperative in Gloucester, proposed an anniversary tote bag as part of the gallery’s 32nd birthday celebration, and the idea came to fruition. The limited-edition bags are $15 and all proceeds will go to the Cape Ann Kids Holiday Fund, which provides gift cards to local families in need.

“I wanted to create a design that not only represented our unique seafaring community, but also each of the wonderful members who are currently a part of the cooperative. We have all been through so much this past year and a half, and each of these individuals pulled together to keep the gallery alive. I am inspired by their craftsmanship, determination and spirit every single day,” said Fris.

The gallery, at 121 Main St., Gloucester, offers fine art, photographs, jewelry, woodworking, stained glass, pottery, fiber arts, clothing, mixed media and note cards. Call for hours at 978-283-3996, or visit www.local-colors.org. For more information on the Cape Ann Kids Holiday Fund or to donate, visit capeannkids.org.

Second show at the castle

A second performance has been added for the Firebird Pops Orchestra, which will perform at Hammond Castle Museum, at 80 Hesperus Ave., Gloucester. After the Dec. 11 show sold out, a second concert has been added for Sunday, Dec. 12, at 5 p.m. Chamber ensembles will perform classic and contemporary holiday works for brass quintet, string quartet, string orchestra and piano.

Brendan Kenney, the conductor, said the musicians are excited for this holiday show.

“I have long admired this building, and the opportunity to present this program in this space is a dream come true. I could not imagine a more exciting and magical setting for the return to orchestral holiday music,” said Kenney.

Since the orchestra was founded virtually in 2020, the concert will be the orchestra’s first in-person holiday event.

“Our museum’s founder, John Hays Hammond Jr., was a passionate connoisseur of classical music,” said Linda Harvey, the museum’s executive director. “In fact, he designed the Great Hall specifically for public performances.”

For tickets, go to hammondcastle.org or firebirdpops.org.

Backyard Growers open pop-up

The Gloucester-based Backyard Growers’ pop-up shop is now open at www.backyardgrowers.org. The online-only shop offers unique garden-themed gifts. Proceeds support the nonprofit’s school, backyard, and community garden programs. All items come “ready-to-give” in a craft paper gift bag and are available for pick-up at 103R Maplewood Ave. The last day for holiday pick-ups is Dec. 23.

Rockport Legion Holiday Concert

The Rockport Legion Band, under the direction of Bob Rick, will perform a free Holiday Concert this Saturday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. at the Rockport First Congregational Church, 12 School St. in Rockport. The entrance to the sanctuary is on Main Street.Masks are required. and distancing is encouraged.

Among the selections to be performed are “Fantasia for Christmas,” “A Hanakkah Festival,” “The Polar Express,” and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”

Annual holiday pottery sale

Cynthia Curtis Pottery will hold its annual holiday sale on Saturday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the wood stove burning, hot spiced cider and homemade cookies. There is an array of new pottery. The gallery is located at 80 Pigeon Hill St., Rockport.

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706 or [email protected] at least two weeks in advance.

Robert G. Mull

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