You can see a sandbar and someone walking on the flats, but the artists on the Provincetown beach in this late 19th century antique postcard are focused on painting a portrait of a seated woman wearing a yellow straw hat. There were several art schools in Provincetown at the time this postcard was published. Artists, who often supplemented their income by teaching were attracted to the northern light reflected off the water, sand dunes, and beaches in the picturesque town located on the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Today the town is still filled with art galleries plus the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Plenty of writers have also made Provincetown their home. One of them just wrote a book, a mystery novel set in the 1990’s titled Remaining in Provincetown, which has been getting some very good reader reviews. Have you read it yet? You can buy it at Amazon.com online or if you are making a visit to Provincetown, there are signed copies at the Provincetown Book Shop. The novel by S.N. Cook is available also as an ebook on kindle. Like us on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you.
The caption on the top of this vintage postcard sent in 1940 says “Provincetown Art Gallery” but those old timers familiar with the town will instantly recognize this photograph as the interior of the Provincetown Art Association founded in 1914 the way it used to look before various renovations and additions. The organization is now known as the Provincetown Art Association and Museum or PAAM for short. If you are in Provincetown this weekend, you still have time to catch the “Art in the Garden” exhibit which includes work by Will Barnet, Mona Dukess, Pasquale Natale, Sideo Fromboluti, and Judith Shahn. You can also attend the opening reception of the Jim Peters exhibition this Friday ($10 admission to non-members of PAAM) Peters teaches painting and drawing at the Museum School at PAAM and is a member and former chair of the visual arts program committee at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. One of the characters in the new mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown, Annie Tinker, came to Provincetown to study at the FIne Arts Work Center. Is she a possible suspect? Or is it her husband Beau Costa who put the fatal bullet in Sonny Carreiro? You’ll have to read the book to find out. SIgned copies, while they last, are at the Provincetown Bookstore, or buy your trade paperback book online or as an ebook. Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.
Located on Commercial Street, in the center of Provincetown, the recently renovated Town Hall, was not the very first Town Hall built in the town located on the tip of Cape Cod. The first Town Hall was located on HIgh Pole Hill and was built in 1853, but burned down in 1877. The 22,000 square foot Victorian era
building, completed in 1886, was constructed to serve as a community gathering place. Commonly in New England, town’s held their town meetings in churches until Town Halls were constructed to insure the separation of church and state. At one time or another the Provincetown Hall served many functions that included, dance hall, basketball court, and even rolller skating rink.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum held their early art exhibitions at the Provincetown Town Hall until they were able to acquire and renovate a building of their own. Along the way, the town amassed a significant art collection that includes two paintings by Charles Hawthorne, “The Crew of the Philomena Manta ” and “Fish Cleaners.” Hawthorne founded the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899. Ross Moffet completed two murals in 1934 , “Gathering Beach Plums” and “Spreading Nets” funded by the Public Works of Art Project that helped many struggling artists during the Great Depression.
Visit the Provincetown Town Hall when you visit the town and see many fine paintings hanging on the walls and in meeting rooms. And yes, the Town Hall does figure into the storyline of the new mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown. There is something going on between the newly hired Town Manager and the publisher and editor of the weekly newspaper. What could it be? Get your copy of the book just released last month and now available at local bookstores and online at Amazon.com in trade paperback and as an ebook. Like us on Facebook. Keep the conversation going.
The above vintage postcard shows what the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) looked like before the addition of the Charles Hawthorne Gallery and the subsequent addition of the Contemporary glass wing visitors see today. The veteran institution, located at 460 Commercial Street in the town’s East End, was founded in 1914 by artists who were seeking both exhibition space and an institution that would be supportive of the artists who had made the small town on the tip of Cape Cod their home. Oscar Gierberich, Gerrit Beneker, E. Ambrose Webster, Charles Hawthorne, and William Halsail are credited in the history books as being the founding artists who were supported in their efforts by a number of local businesspeople at the time.The building was initially purchased and renovated in 1919.
PAAM has had a long tradition of organizing a number of exhibitions, some open to members and others juried, during the year. With the addition of more space, a larger permanent collection has been established and a variety of programs and classes for all ages are offered trhroughout the year, with more going on during the summer season when there is a larger audience. 1914 is almost 100 years ago, and PAAM will thus be celebrating their 100th anniversary next year. Check the PAAM website to find out what is scheduled for this summer and read the new mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook to fully appreciate that importance of how artists have contributed to the community. (Writers are artists too!) The book, just released in April is available at local bookstores, and online at Amazon.com in trade paperback or ebook. Like us on Facebook. Keep the conversation going.
Artists clustered together on a dock painting a scene of a Provincetown Wharf in summer. How could they work, all crowded together? The clear north light on the tip of Cape Cod attracted artists from all over the world. Many of these artists were also teachers. Thus more aspiring artists were drawn to Cape Cod to study drawing and painting and dozens stayed and made Cape Cod their permanent home. Thus Provincetown become known as an art colony. Today the town is home to the Fine Arts Work Center as well, where students of writing, sculpture, painting, and drawing work year-round.
One of the most popular art teachers was Charles Hawthorne (1872-1930) and many of his fine oil paintings are in the collection of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Hawthorne founded the Cape Cod School of Art. Be sure to visit the Provincetown Art Association and Museum if you are a new visitor to the town to see his masterful portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. Many artists had art schools including Hans Hoffman, Seong Moy, who taught printmaking, and Henry Henche. Hawthorne taught his students to focus on capturing the contrasts in colors and light and to work quickly with confidence. These are still good life lessons that could be applied to everything including writing. Read any good books lately? The new novel, coming this summer Remaining in Provincetown, is almost on its way to the printer.