Gloucester Sea Serpent Sighting | Cape Ann Museum unveils new public art

CHRIS WILLIAMS_Sea Serpent bronze glass granite Cape Ann Musuem commissioned sculpture tribute to Ronda Faloon_unveiled July 20 2019_Gloucester MASS_©c ryan (2).jpg
photo caption: Chris Williams, Gloucester Sea Serpent, 2019, 9 feet tall mixed media metal sculpture (bronze, glass, granite), collection Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., a 2018 commisioned gift of CAM and donors in honor of Ronda Faloon, Cape Ann Museum Director (2006-2019). Chris Williams resides and works in Essex, Mass. © c ryan

Gloucester Sea Serpent

The Gloucester Sea Serpent is like a Massachusetts Loch Ness monster though an ocean rather than freshwater creature. Alleged sightings date back to 1638; see excellent research by Lise Breen for the HarborWalk marker #19 “The Sea Serpent”.

In 2017, the Cape Ann Museum (CAM) celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Sea Serpent’s peak folklore moment when hundreds of accounts were published in newspapers. (In comparison, the first written record of a monster in Loch Ness dates way back to 565, picks up popular speed by 1802, and on to global recognition by 1933). Swampscott and North Shore sightings surged as competition with Newport and other summer tourism hotspots increased.  Sea serpent inspired art across media continued into the 20th and 21st centuries.

Sea Serpent exhibition banner_Cape Ann Museum Gloucester MA_20171028_©c ryan
photo caption: Cape Ann Museum – street banners heralding Sea Serpent Exhibition 2017

 

Below: A Sea Serpent at Cressy Beach Stage Fort Park in Gloucester was originally painted by fine artist Robert Stephenson circa 1960 and is kept fresh by adoring community. Many moons ago, a free standing climber serpent was a favorite element at the Stage Fort Park playground. My photos in this post span years/seasons, roughly 2011-2019. Hover for descriptive details or double click & enlarge.

 

July 20, 2019

The new sculpture commission, Gloucester Sea Serpent, by Chris Williams at Cape Ann Museum was dedicated July 20, 2019,  to honor Ronda Faloon, distinguished Cape Ann Museum Director (2006-2019) who retired in 2019.

CHRIS WILLIAMS_Sea Serpent bronze glass granite Cape Ann Musuem commissioned sculpture tribute to Ronda Faloon_unveiled July 20 2019_Gloucester MASS_©c ryan (7)

 

Before

Look for the serpent’s nocturne visage: the Williams sculpture is the first one on museum grounds to incorporate light amidst its mixed media.

The Gloucester Sea Serpent at the entrance joins other sculptures on view in the Cape Ann Museum Courtyard and Sculpture Garden, a special public space dedicated to the memory of Harold Bell, President of Cape Ann Museum (1979-2003).

ALBERT HENRY ATKINS (1880-1951) Spirt of the Sea 1915 bronze [fun fact courtesy Alex Monell: architect (Cape Ann Museum & CAM board) Don Monell held this sculpture on his property until the best re-siting]

ALBERT HENRY ATKINS_ 1880 to 1951 _Spirit of the Sea_1915 bronze_Arion_Cape Ann Museum_Gloucester MASS_sculpture courtyard _20180830_©c ryan.jpg

 

ROBERT AMORY, Reflection, 1970 gift of the artist

ROBERT AMORY sculpture_Cape Ann Museum courtyard sculpture garden_20171028_© cryanLooking back to city hall through ROBERT AMORY sculpture Cape Ann Museum courtyard_Gloucester MA _20180830_©c ryan

 

KEN HRUBY Uneasy Crown, Uneasy Chair, Uneasy Piece, 1986 (cast 2008) Gift of Judith McCulloch in memory of Harold Bell

KEN HRUBY Uneasy Crown Uneasy Chair Uneasy Piece 1986 cast 2008 _Cape Ann Museum courtyard sculpture garden_20171028_© cryan

 

And dappled today, GEORGE DEMETRIOS bronze fountain, Spring

dappled GEORGE DEMETRIOS Spring bronze fountain_Cape Ann Museum_sculpture courtyard_Gloucester MASS_©c ryan _20190721.jpg

Across the street, the Cape Ann Museum sculpture park and gardens designed by Clara Batchelor, CBA Landscape Architect Principal, opened in 2011. Its centerpiece features

JOHN RAIMONDI sculpture, Dance of the Cranes

Two more days and Stage Fort Park becomes Gloucester’s shoreline amphitheater for Country Fest. @cassadeepope headlining, also Houston Bernard Band and Southern City Band

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Apparently and not surprisingly Ringo helps Boston Fence set in the fences at Stage Fort for Gloucester’s first country fest,  coming this Saturday noon -5 (gates open 11 AM). I didn’t stop to chat or take more photographs because we were in the middle of a Gloucester beaches challenge. What an unforgettable venue to listen to Cassadee Pope (big single out right now and Voice Season 3 winner. Who was her coach?) and Boston bands Houston Bernard Band and Southern City Band ! Cassadee Pope’s twitter photograph features beach/dune background. Wonder where it was taken? Everyone will have some good photos from Stage Fort. You can listen to Ringo and Emily talk to Joey about the Country fest on the podcast.

 

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Cool stuff reminders and a rising star video

Amid the flood of info that washes over us every day, it’s often refreshing to get a reminder of some cool stuff we might have missed.  Here goes:

  • Espressos has jumped into the live music scene.  Check out their lineup.
  • Live music starts at 6 tonight and 11:30 am tomorrow (see schedule here).  Plenty of good shows you can take your kids to all over Cape Ann.
  • Seasonal wine and beer licenses kick in on Monday (April Fools Day — seems fitting somehow).  So The Cave, which is usually closed Mondays is having a wine tasting 4-6pm (more about that here).
  • You can help support Cressy Beach Restoration at the CPA meeting on Tuesday (4/2) 6pm at City Hall First Floor Council Conference Room (more on that here).

Here’s a very good music video by rising star Brendan James.  You can see him at Crowell Chapel tonight with guests Brian Jarvis, Charlee Bianchini & Dave Brown.  Tickets & details here.

Elephants on the Beach? Check out this 1950s photo and help restore Cressy Beach on Tuesday, April 2 @ City Hall

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When the circus came to town in the 1950s, their elephants bathed at Cressy Beach (click photo to enlarge)

Bob Ryan, President and General Manager of CATOC (Cape Ann Transportation Operating Company) has applied to the Community Preservation Committee for funding to restore Cressy Beach to the way it was when this photo was taken.  As you can see by this photo, Cressy Beach was once a sandy beach, on which parents sunbathed while their children chased elephants.  Bob says it can be a sandy beach again and he’s done his homework.  In a nutshell, here’s what he says about the project,

The project involves the Gloucester Conservation Commission, Mass DEP, the Army Corps of Engineers and Endangered Wildlife and Species Agency. In addition, the “Beach Nourishment” project includes site preparation, topographical survey, engineering plans and bringing in 3,500 tons of sand to cover the beach above the “mean high water area.”

Letters of support are pouring in for this project, including one from Janeil C. Rey, PhD, who also sent this photo.  So if you’d like to see Cressy Beach full of sun-bathers, come to City Hall next Tuesday, April 2 and support this project.

PLEASE NOTE: There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to chase elephants into the water once the beach is restored.