Monday, June 23, 2008

This and that (or where the heck did this month go?)

Well I had great intentions to post to this blog more often this month and suddenly here we are at the end of the June. I got to go see my friend Erin's work (http://www.freebird-designs.com/index.html) at an artists/craft show at the new art center in Yarmouth, MA. Her work is very delicate and pretty - not sure how well it was appreciated at the show - but she does well over on the Vineyard. Hoping to catch up with her there in about a week as I hope to go over and visit with my friend Betsy for a day while she is staying at the family "farm" (which sounds more like a vacation compound).

Erin telling me about this show - Celebration of the Arts Festival - reinforced an issue I have with arts and crafts shows down here. The Cape, which prides itself on having a great artist community, continues to fail those artists in getting word out about these shows. Most of them you almost have to stumble over to find.

Last year the Cape Cultural Center http://www.cultural-center.org/ was still in the midst of a multi-year adaptive reuse preservation process from its neglected past as an abandoned old bank building. The work they did on the place is amazing! I got to see some before and afters and the work they have done there is amazing. Last year's Celebrations of the Arts Festival was held under a tent with money from it used to help continue the restoration work. This center is a wonderful venue for artists privately mount a show of their work for a reasonable fee in a fabulous space. The Center's staff and volunteers help man the shows with the artist recommended to be there for the weekend. If a group of artists rented the space it could be one really fabulous place to have your art seen and even possibly sold! Yet, even my art friends who have friends in the various art guilds here had no idea about this show or about the space.

The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and their Cape Cod Arts Association have tried to make the arts here a part of the reason to come to the Cape. However, when they want tourists to spend $20 on a book - current only for that year - to find out about artists, artisans, shows and galleries they are missing the point. Even the Massachusetts' Artist Trail has books for $10 and a banner on members shop doors that can't be seen until you stop and go into the gallery or store. I know there is a better way and I am hopeful that Betsy will be able to put into play this summer a better method for tourists to find artists and events (yes we have a theory on how to do this and when she gets it going you will hear about it here). In the meantime, the shows and galleries here are left to pay fees to the Chamber for little results.

The Hyannis Artist Shanties are back - and you would be surprise at how few people who live here - let alone visit - know anything about them. Called "Harbor Your Arts" http://www.harboryourarts.com/ it gives juried artists and artisans a place to show and sell their work at the Harbor docks during the summer. They have most shanties with a single artist for the whole season but have one shanty with weekly rotating artists. If you are here on the Cape - living, summering or just visiting - make sure you go check them out.

- Gale

Note: See Clare's comments below regarding the artist trail books. When I went to purchase the book from the Chamber at an event last summer they were asking $19.95 (I was shocked) and the MA Artisan's Trail Guide book was on sale at Collections just last month for about $10, so I would be really pleased if tourists can easily find these books for $5.

1 comment:

Clare on Cape Cod said...

The Arts Guide from the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and its partners is $5, not $20, and is the only one in the State. Flags and banners, somewhat restricted in how they're hung by town or state regulations, are provided free to the artists on the trails. The Cape Cod Art Assn. is a separate organization listed in the book. Go to www.capeandislandsartsguide.com for more information.