“The Mass Cultural Council is sponsoring our second annual Traditional Arts Showcase at the Shalin Liu on September 8. We would love for you to join us! Please share this invitation with your networks (via your newsletters, social media, online calendars, etc.) See details below regarding performers and ticket info. $20 general admission”
Event will celebrate music and dance: Gund Kwok Asian Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe; recent immigrants from Nepal will perform music of the Gandharvas; indigenous music of Greece led by Vasilis Kostas; salsa lesson from Eli Lady Pabon; and music from Latin Logic (photo above).
I wonder if Carlos Menenzes (Cape Ann Big Band;Jambalaya horns, O’Maley), Zach Gorrell, Docksiders, and other area artists and musicians know these groups and vice versa?
Continue below to see more information about the upcoming event and videos of the performers from MCC Press release:
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.
What a celebration of pubic art and community! And such a stunning experience in City Hall. Don’t miss Stephanie Benenson’s Harbor Voices public art installation happening now at City Hall, Gloucester, MA. Open until 8pm tonight. Tomorrow 4-8pm. Participate remotely anytime. Read more about Stephanie Benenson and Harbor Voices.
photos – We went back twice and saw all ages visiting and myriad reactions and interactions. Julie was there from Open Doors, one of the non-profit partners in the project.
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.”
GloucesterCast 253 With Stephanie Benenson, Kim Smith and Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 11/19/17
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Timestamped Topics (click the timestamps to go directly to that topic on the podcast) include:
Stephanie Beneson www.harborvoices.com Dec 8th & 9th At Kyroz Auditorium Follow Harbor Voices on Instagram @HarborVoices
01:01 Free Tickets To Cape Ann Community Cinema – Share this post on Facebook for a chance to win two free tickets to Cape Ann Community Cinema, The Cinema Listings are always stickied in the GMG Calendar at the top of the blog or you can click here to go directly to the website
Paula Ryan O’Brien Winner of Last Week’s Cape Ann Community