Thanks to all involved in today’s lovely and meaningful graduation ceremonies. Mayor Romeo Theken shook hands with each and every student; I have not seen that with a middle school before. President of BankGloucester, Patrick Thorpe, helped with the presentation of certificates. The student speakers and the O’Maley chorus were awesome. Allison Cousins played a pivotal role in the lives of these 8th grade students through all three middle school years. Now she’ll begin again with the incoming 6th grade class. Thanks to all the 6th, 7th and 8th grade O’Maley educators! Double congratulations to Principal Debra Lucey who is retiring and to her family who welcomed a new baby grandson just before the event.
Since two Stanford graduate students (product design) invented the fastest growing e-cigarette JUUL, I was surprised to read that there was a ban already in place in San Francisco.
Here’s a link to the article: “San Francisco Voters Uphold Ban on Flavored Vaping Products: The measure is considered the strictest in the nation. Voters backed it despite an expensive advertising campaign…”
1623 Studio Cape Ann TV taped (on their jazzy new equipment) visiting scholar, Ruth Potee, MD, at O’Maley discussing vaping and marijuana and impacts on the adolescent brain. Fortnite is another hot topic.
Gloucester public schools have stellar community partners and locales
Mass Audubon Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary
Two+ centuries of naturalists in Gloucester is quite a legacy. Here’s a partial list from Robbins to Cramer and Smith to Smith–there have been notable champions most every decade.
- Mason Walton (Hermit of Gloucester)
- Alpheus Hyatt, principal founder of world famous Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole– from 1880-1886 the school was on Goose Cove and later off Lobster Cove
- BH VanVleck (wrote book with David Starr)- instructor at Annisquam seaside laboratory
- Samuel Sawyer land conservation
- Alfred G. Mayor (Hyatt’s son in law) marine zoologist- his studies on marine life led to 1905 book Sea Shore Life
- Prince Mahidol of Thailand “Sanitary Survey of the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts 1921 by M. Songkla” in city archives- Includes brief history of Gloucester and description of public health activities
- Roger Babson land conservation and watershed
- Dr. Ralph Dexter, began his studies on marine life in 1933 (later Kent State) and chimney swifts
- Ivy LeMon banded monarch butterflies to trace their migration wintering in Mexico
- Sara Fraser Robbins curator of education ( the title of her classic book The Sea is All About Us was a nod to Gloucester summer resident TS Eliot’ Four Quartets)
- Betty Smith
- Dan Greenbaum
- Sara Evans
- Philip Weld, Jr
- Jane Benotti
- Deborah Cramer
- Chris Leahy
- Harriet Webster
- Martin Ray
- Kim Smith
- Ian Kerr
organizations such as Gloucester Civic and Garden Club, Essex County Greenbelt, Mass Audubon, Ocean Alliance, Martime Gloucester, UMASS Marine Station…
The O’Maley Innovation Middle School campus setting is rather bucolic. There’s a line of apple trees that still bear fruit and suggest the original farm, playing fields are stepped down surrounded by marsh and pond, Dogtown stretches along one edge, and Pole Hill rises up across the way. Community volunteers and students have created lovely decorative gardens. Yes, the track needs work and the playing field could be upgraded to turf like Gloucester High School’s New Balance-Newell Stadium. But it’s a beautiful spot to walk or catch a game. Ed Tedesco designed O’Maley in 1971. Although I believe the architect was quite sensitive to the setting, I understand how people criticize the exterior as harsh, or worse. “It feels like a prison!” exclaim some (and others joke. It is a middle school afterall.) You know what I see on the exterior when I come to O’Maley? Beautiful walls. Interesting shapes. Expansive public space ready for art and ideas.
O’Maley walls, photos from 2015
You can’t judge a book by its cover. OR can you? O’Maley has the potential for its shell to match the creative arts and legacy at its core. There are stunning historic murals from the 1930s and 40s in the Commons. The arts curriculum is valued and celebrated. The arts teachers are amazing. If there is any school in Massachusetts that sings out arts and legacy, let it be here. Monumental public art and street art abound in Gloucester.
Parsons Street before, after, and after
public art in Gloucester, MA and context collages
And not just for flat surfaces. Artists have suggested creative responses to Americord’s striated surface like a piano keys mural along the wall (a motif you may have seen elsewhere); others proposed a changing light installation when the cultural district designation was underway.
Stephanie Benenson’s temporary installation Harbor Voices at City Hall
Street art has become big business. Cities and towns around the world vie for renowned muralists in a competitive commercialized market with varying degrees of success.
I vote Former Alumni
O’Maley Innovation Middle School has the perfect walls for showcasing creative voices of former alumni who are art school grads (or currently enrolled)– professionally trained and inspired to leave a mark. Ever since the dynamite 18UP and Under 30 exhibition, supporters hoped to catalyze possibilities for these emerging artists. Murals taken to this scale warrant investments of $15,000 per artist per wall.
just a few of the grads…Chris Budrow | Kate Bresnahan | Jason Burroughs | Lexi Chipperini |Jon Cooney | Jeff Cluett | James Curcuru | Nicole Dahlmer | Leon Doucette | Alessia LoGrasso | Avery McNiff | Micah O’Conner| Mary Sullivan
Before I saw walls of possibility. I still see that, but now I imagine specific artists and I hope you do, too. There are plenty of walls to go around at O’Maley.
a few more international street art mural examples
Gloucester Public School 10th Annual citywide arts festival held at City Hall, Sawyer Free and Cape Ann Museum May 12, 2018. Thanks to the fantastic teachers, all the parent and community volunteers that pull this beautiful event together, and the special host venues. The Arts Festival is strongly supported by the Gloucester Education Foundation.
A full program of performance and music is underway as well.
O’Maley & GHS students at City Hall | elementary schools at Cape Ann Museum | Gloucester High and elementary school at Sawyer Free
Here are some scenes from City Hall starting with linocuts created by the first 8th grade printmaking classes to use the historic Acorn press on temporary loan from generous supporters of the Manship estate and thanks to Mayor Romeo Theken and O’Maley’s art teacher Brett Dunton. The invited special guest instructor was Mary Rhinelander.
Fantastic display from Gloucester High School cabinet design and innovation– Celebrating 50 years!
More children’s art from O’Maley classes displayed at City Hall
News from O’Maley Innovation Middle School:
O’Maley Academy Proudly Presents
A Spring Showcase
*A benefit for The O’Maley Academy after school program which consists of 18 free clubs for students
Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 6:30 PM
FEATURING: Song & Dance Club performing 10 musical numbers & Drama-Rama Club performing 14 More Ways To Screw Up Your College Interview by Ian McWethy Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. (www.playscripts.com)
Tickets: $5 (with a $20 family cap). O’Maley Auditorium
Beautiful colorful banners on Dale Avenue announce GPS 10th anniversary annual ARTS festival, Saturday May 12th 11-4pm, at City Hall, Cape Ann Museum, and Sawyer Free Library! Sponsored by Gloucester Education Foundation; what a milestone!
Another great event in Gloucester, Mass. tomorrow: Dr. Jung Lin Lee to present and discuss “Women in STEM” April 26 O’Maley Innovation Middle School
Julie Smith, Director of Athletics, shares great news about the Gloucester High School Cheerleading team:
“Please take a moment to watch the amazing Gloucester High School Cheerleading team and their winning routine, out of a field of 18 teams, at the NEW ENGLAND championships yesterday at Southern New Hampshire State University. According to Coach Erica Mitchell, yesterday’s competition was the “Super Bowl of the New England competitive cheer world.” The team captured back-to-back State Titles in the Fall and Winter seasons. The New England Championships are a culmination of the two seasons and only occur at the conclusion of the Winter season. This is the program’s first New England Championship since 2007. The team departs for Florida where they will compete in the National Championship this weekend.”
All the Cape Ann Big Band Holiday Swing concert musicians, the special guest vocalists, and the O’Maley school Band students were remarkable. And that cheery festive set was amazing– great job setting the vibe: Doreen Wonson, Kim Sayess, AnnaLee Meezes, True Sayess, and Carlos Menenzes Sr! Little sound snippet video captured below.
You can join in Stephanie Benenson’s fascinating big vision, Harbor Voices, a public art and cultural piece that’s made from light, sound and community participation. Part of the project is a large-scale and temporary LIVE light & sound installation which will happen on ten minute loops from 4-8pm on Friday December 8th, and Saturday December 9th, one of many featured events for the 2017 Middle Street Walk. Harbor Voices will be held inside the Kyrouz Auditorium in City Hall , 9 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, MA.
Come experience a sweeping ocean of sound, stories and light, drawn by the voices and acts of generosity of neighbors and friends.
Benenson, a Rockport native and North Shore based fine artist, received a prestigious and competitive RISD grant to create Harbor Voices. Benenson collected over 100 stories in eight languages of recent and ancestral immigration to Cape Ann. For the past year she led (and continues to lead) practical and creative storytelling sessions and workshops at area schools like Veteran’s Memorial and Gloucester High School, as well as community organizations and centers such as Sandy Bay Historical Society. Students talked with Benenson about “their ancestors* and families bringing cultural heritage to Cape Ann.” She said that kids mentioned “family members that started businesses here (like Jalapenos, Sclafanis, and other cultural destinations on Cape Ann)…and how meangingful that was to them…and people that they had deep respect and admiration for…” They discussed “family recipes, music, food and how immigration historically has made American art and culture come alive.” Mayor Romeo Theken was the first story collected. Other Cape Ann storytellers outside of the schools and non profit partners include: Jean Testaverde (Portuguese fishing ancestry), Ingrid Swan (Swedith quarrying ancestry), Heather Lovett (descendent of Roger Babson), Sal Zerilli (Awesome Gloucester and Rockport), Jan Bell, Buddy Woods, Susannah Natti (Finnish and descendent of Folly Cove designer), Rich Francis (GHS teacher), and Celestino Basille (GHS teacher).
Depending upon age and preference, stories were written, recorded, or drawn. All were mixed into materials and audio that will choreograph connections directly into the light installation, and an enlarging community. At first, Benenson thought the light might guide any audio. Instead voices continue to guide the light.
Every story and act of generosity is linked to the installation and transformed into light.
Blurring the lines between public art and social sculpture, LIVE happening and virtual action, Harbor Voices emblematically presents stories, shared connections and actions. Participants of all ages are encouraged to interact with the project www.harborvoices.com and its installation– to bathe so to speak in a community of vibrancy and waves of interconnectedness and support. Benenson adds that from 4-6PM during the two days of this installation iteration, “children will be offered a small flashlight to engage with this artwork, allowing them a tangible moment to consider their part in this interconnected network of community and local history by creating their own beam of light.” Also, before the installation opens to the public, one hundred Gloucester High School students –including some who have already added into the piece– will come to City Hall to experience Harbor Voices.
Benenson’s promotion for Harbor Voices launched in September. Leveraging attention for this remarkably ambitious project is an essential component as more involvement means more impact. Straight away it fostered community and brought opportunities. For example, Benenson spoke about the project and shared audio of the stories with Rose Baker seniors, Gloucester Rotary and the Cape Ann Museum’s Red Cottage Society. Someone from Beverly has already underwrittten support for a class at Veteran’s Memorial Elementary School. She spoke about the project with Joey as part of GMG podcast #253
As a third generation Cape Ann artist, Benenson is especially excited to “create art and conversations around our cultural heritage and our contributions to the vibrant mix of people that live on Cape Ann.”
See more pictures and read more about the artist
Thanks to Mayor Romeo Theken, teacher Brett Dunton, Principal Lucey, and the extreme generosity of Manship Artists Residency & Studios (MARS) under the direction of Rebecca Reynolds, the O’Maley Innovation Middle School ramped up in a powerful fashion with an amazing and enviable addition to the art department:
a rare loan of a Folly Cove Acorn fine art printing press for the art room!
Acorn printing presses were used by Gloucester’s legendary Folly Cove guild of artisans, most notably Virginia Lee Burton, an internationally renowned artist, children’s picture book author-illustrator, dancer, teacher and Folly Cove co-founder. O’Maley students study Gloucester, printmaking, and the history of Folly Cove artists through a myriad of units in each grade and subject, often in partnership with Cape Ann Museum, local artists and other community partners. And now, to have this pedigree press, … Wow! Enjoy some photographs from Brett Dunton from the exciting installation day.
teachers Brett Dunton and Ashley Doke with 8th grade students admiring the newly installed famous Acorn press O’Maley Innovation Middle School, Gloucester MA
The O’Maley press is one of the last actual Folly Cove presses remaining on Cape Ann. It was owned and used by Elizabeth (Libby) Holoran and Isabel Natti, eventually taking up Holloran’s floor space in the Sarah Elizabeth Store which she opened in 1974. Superstar sculptor, Paul Manship, was Isabel Natti’s grandfather. Aino Natti, Natti’s uncle, was one of the Folly Cove co-founders and the original owner of this particular press. Acorn printing presses were fabricated and distributed by companies like the Adams Brothers in Boston circa 1830-1870. The name “Acorn” comes from the cut away which resembles the shape of an acorn; the presses are RARE and beautiful. One is on view at the Cape Ann Museum.
Mayor Romeo Theken was hopeful that MARS would consider the schools and Gloucester’s students when determing a most suitable location. Teacher Brett Dunton knows Natti and all about this famed press. He was thrilled to build a print room around it and get going. Natti had already given him some of her drying racks. This opportunity would not have happened without MARS working with donors to rescue the press and Mr. Dunton’s expertise and enthusiasm for taking it on. This has to be one of the nicest feel good full circle art stories coming home ever! I look forward to sharing some of the results from the inaugural student printmaking classes, original print editions from this stellar art room addition.
On November 7, 2017, 19 children from Gloucester performed with Dawn’s Studio of Dance at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World in Florida. The Gloucester dancers did a fantatstic job performing with Disney Performing Arts under the direction of Gloucester’s instructors, Dawn Koller and Tiffany Smith. The 2017 dancers were a multi-age group, includingseniors from Gloucester High School as well as students from O’Maley and some of the local elementary schools. Many friends and family from Gloucester watched the performance and were thrilled to see Gloucester “sparkle on the Disney stage.” Dawn’s has been bringing dancers for years and some of these kids have performed at Disney World many times before. About 4 years ago, they were chosen to lead the parade at Magic Kingdom over all the other dance studios that were there to be in the parade.
Congratulations to all the dancers! A couple of more photos:
Continue reading “👏 #GloucesterMA: Dawn’s Studio dance students sparkled on the Walt Disney Stage @WaltDisneyWorld FLA”
Reminder just a few days left to see amazing Rockbound exhibition! Upcoming collaboration among the museum, GPS, and teachers at the Cape Ann Museum:
“The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present the November 2017 Student Art Gallery exhibit. Projects by Beeman Memorial Elementary School (Gloucester) students will be on view in the CAM Activity Center throughout the month. The show is curated by Art Specialist Anne Pieterse BFA/MAT and student teacher Lindsay Smith who is earning her BFA in Art Education at Montserrat.
Grade 5: Drawings inspired by their sail on the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon
Grades 3-5: Pastel pumpkins
Grades 3-4: Positive and negative designs
Grade 3: Paper tree sculptures
Grade 2: Totem poles
Grade 1: Walk with a Line painting
Kindergarten: Line Explosions sculptures
The second Saturday of every month is free for families with school-age children and special youth programs take place from 10:00AM to 12:00PM. Join us Saturday November 11th to view a new exhibit of WWII Veterans portraits by photographer Jason Grow. In the CAM Activity Center create a self-portrait and make a kind craft for a veteran. Drop into the Activity Center anytime for hands on play and art activities, updated monthly.
The Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester.”
WOW! Son of a gun we had big fun on Middle Street Friday September 8, 2017.
There was an ensemble mix from Cape Ann Big Band self dubbed ‘Jambalaya Horns’ at Gloucester’s famous UU Church for the last Friday Night concert of this popular summer series. “Music on Meetinghouse Green” passed the hat for the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation (GMF) fire sprinkler project, part of the UU restoration efforts.
Middle Street was alive with the sounds of New Orleans thanks to the Cape Ann Big Band players:
Gary Wolsieffer – Tuba/bass
Carlos Menezes Jr. – Saxes/Vocals
Zach Gorrell – Keys/Saxes
Rick Geraghty – Drums/Vocals
Jon Persson – Trumpet
Tom Bones – Trombone
Joe Wilkins – Guitar/Vocals
Anthony Rocco – Trumpet/Vocals
sound snippet solos:
Jon Persson trumpet (9 sec)
Zach Gorrell sax (19 sec)
Joe Wilkins guitar (13 secs)
I missed hearing the students from Gloucester’s O’Maley Innovation Middle School jamming with the Cape Ann Big Band. Carlos Menezes has to be among the coolest school music directors in the country.
There was a soccer game at Gloucester High School, a short walk and many pleasant route options away. I marvel at Gloucester’s amazing public spaces.
About the concert series
FREE! “Nine Friday Nights. Nine Great Outdoor Concerts to benefit nine local non-profits.”
Mayor Romeo Theken likes to remind everyone that “There’s always something going on in Gloucester!” including all the free performances for most every Gloucester Summer Night. Gloucester MA Free Outdoor Performances Daily…
photos from Boys Coach Armando Marnoto- thanks for sharing!
Thanks to the City of Gloucester, Google and HP- 8th graders received their brand new chrome books tonight. Gloucester O’Maley Innovation Middle School was buzzing with excitement.
Assistant Principal (and beloved former social studies teacher), Mr. Jeff Destino, explained the rules and responsibilities.
From there, parents and the 8th grade students headed to the sky high, skylit, art adorned hub, the Commons, set up tonight with temporary tables stacked high with tech.
The traditional end of summer ‘welcome back’ notice for parents from the Gloucester Public Schools Superintendent has great news for the whole community! I’ve noted funding sources, like Applied Materials, when they were listed, and will add in any that were missed!
- Back to School / Open House dates
- JOHN BARRY, KURT LICHTENWALD, DAVID SCHNEIDER – amazing teachers’ program receives #1 state and national engineering awards and recognition
- BACH IS BACK Gregg Bach has returned to GPS, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
- JODIE GRENNODIE new Principal at Beeman
- GHS – FULL ROOF REPLACEMENT great details about the construction project and an earlier update from July
- DEADLINE INFO for BUS PASS applications and FREE/REDUCED LUNCH applications
- GHS ERIC LEIGH AND DAVID ENOS write and secure $109,154 biotechnology grant
- GHS $499,000 WORTH NEW FAB LAB AND EQUIPMENT – Grant awarded for a brand new Fabrication Lab/Maker space and state of the art, industry level equipment for advanced manufacturing and pre-engineering program in Career and Voc
- O’MALEY ACADEMY aka after school offerings, directed by the amazing counselor Allison Cousins, have been extended and funded for a 4th year as the program deemed exemplary ($140,250 grant )
- O’MALEY new BioLab space thanks to Applied Materials and MA Life Sciences Foundation
- O’MALEY band and chorus music room to be souped up acoustically thanks to $136,980 from Gloucester Education Foundation
- ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS – BUILDING BLOCKS exciting new elementary science program
- ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS new teacher collaboration opportunities
Gloucester Public School teachers shine through the North Shore Magazine September 2017 issue with exemplary projects helped in part by one of Essex Heritage grant programs: “A Park for Every Classroom”. Essex Heritage supports local initiatives in a big way.
Congratulations to Gloucester Public Schools dynamite O’Maley Innovation Middle School 6th Grade teachers: Pat Hand, Mary Beth Quinn, and Jessica Haskell!
“O’Maley 6th grade students collaborated with the Cape Ann Museum and a local cartographer to create maps of their diverse Gloucester neighborhoods. Part of an effort to get the entire 6th grade community to come together as they experience their first year of Middle School, the project aligned with the curricular focus on geography. A collection of the students’ maps, called “Gloucester Through My Eyes,” is on display at the Cape Ann Museum.”
Congratulations to Veterans Memorial Elementary School teachers Laura Smith and Mary Housman! Their “students worked with Backyard Growers and Black Earth Composting to understand the benefits of composting, created posters and presentations to share their knowledge, implemented and monitored lunch-time cafeteria composting, and used the compost they created to enrich the soil in their school garden.” We were lucky to hear about this project during a pitch night at Awesome Gloucester.
photo: SFL parking lot foreground and City Hall- ADA compliance work to be completed inside and construction in the parking lot
Information about the closure week from the library:
“The Library will be CLOSED the week of Monday, June 5 through Saturday, June 10 for renovations associated with ADA compliance. Materials may be returned during this time, however, we encourage you to return them when we reopen as the parking lot will also be under construction and there will be minimal staffing. Due dates and fines will be adjusted and waived for materials during this time period. Items may also be returned and checked in at other libraries within the NOBLE system. Please plan to pickup any holds or museum passes before we close on Saturday, June 3 at 1pm.”
Save the dates
June 12 Annual meeting proposed building changes
June 15 Poetry without Paper annual awards ceremony and poetry reading