Thanks to Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce’s Creative Placemaking Project, a beautiful sailboard sculpture was installed and dedicated at Sturgis East Center for the Visual Arts on October 13. The dedication celebrated the sailboard installation as part of a growing public art collection in the Hyannis HyArts Cultural District. Thank you Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce for giving the beautiful sailboard sculpture to Sturgis and for providing a great opportunity for our students to collaborate with local artists in this creative venture. For an excellent video overview of the project, check out Community Art with Sturgis Charter School by Sara Mannal for Barnstable Today.
Last year, Sturgis East art students were invited and challenged by Clare O’Connor, Director of Economic Initiatives at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, to create a sculpture to respond artistically to Steven Kemp’s nine foot clay monolith sculpture, “The Tides,” which is located a block away from East Campus in front of Guyer Barn at the corner of 50 Pearl Street and South Street in Hyannis. “The Tides” was installed in June, 2015 after being selected from a group of nine artist’s proposals by two juries of outside experts and town liaisons as part of the Cape Cod Chamber’s Creative Placemaking initiative. Funded in large part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the initiative aims to develop cultural districts of Cape Cod by by installing public works of art that reflect Cape environments. The surface of “The Tides” was created from a sand cast of a Cape tidal flat and quite literally reflects the environment. The Placemaking initiative also selected and installed a steel sculpture of humpback whale by Syd Ahlstrom last year in Orleans – the town’s first work of public art since 1883!
When Ms. O’Connor challenged students to create a response to “The Tides, she provided an opportunity for them to reflect on their sense of place and the marine environment of Cape Cod. While they contemplated their response, a damaged sailboard serendipitously washed ashore in Yarmouth was donated to the project. The board provided a framework and starting point for the project. Students met with local artist Sarah Holl and art teacher Ann Forget over several Saturdays to complete the project.
Ann Forget, Sturgis Art Teacher
The students and I met on Saturdays in the Guyer Barn and Sarah Holl’s studio to create art related to the ocean. We took a more organic approach to this project than the work we do in the classroom. The students were instructed to work freely and create imagery they found interesting. They used many different approaches.
Isabella Luff, Class of 2016, was inspired by the bone imagery of Georgia O’Keeffe and created a fishbone painting. Lindsy Hardy painted a more fantastical image of a mermaid and Grace Muir painted a whimsical seal. Tsuf Baumflek used dried plant-life to make mono prints, a technique he learned in art class. The board was in poor condition when my friend gave it to me so we had to prepare the surface to be able to receive the art work. Tsuf and I used an electric sander to do this. Ben Hughes hired C.O.M.M. firefighter Gus Riley to seal the board to make it waterproof.
Sarah shared her love of layering opalescent paper over paint with the students and encouraged them to work freely and to have fun with the project.
Finally after all of the work was completed, Sarah Holl sealed the board with art work with a weather resistant polymer. This is a technique that she uses often for painting that she wants to display outside.
Sarah Holl, Artist
The sailboard project was really a group effort and a personal opportunity for me to come full circle. The students were asked to respond to Steve Kemp’s sandcast sculpture “The Tides.” Steve is a friend of mine and was an apprentice for my father Harry Holl at Scargo Pottery. I have known him for many years so it was very interesting to work with Sturgis students who were invited to craft a response to Steve’s work. The cast off sailboard is a very similar shape to “The Tides” sculpture so that was a great starting point. Inviting students to create artistic reflections of the natural environment of Cape Cod became a bit like spontaneous combustion The students created so much more art for the project than we were able to include. I introduced them to using foil glitter materials that are so inviting and help simulate the underwater theme.”
“I’ve worked with many Sturgis students over the years in my studio on Pearl Street. My studio recently moved to Dennis and I will continue to teach classes at the Cultural Center in Yarmouth. Working with teenagers is one of my specialties. Art is so important for young people. During challenging times, art is a great outlet and can literally save lives.
Sarah Holl is an innovative mixed media painter and sculptor who has numerous works displayed in public spaces around the Cape and is currently based in Dennis. She originally developed her niche at Scargo Pottery in her work with large scale ceramic installations, which can be found in places like Cape Cod Hospital and Naked Oyster restaurant in Hyannis. Sarah spent a brief amount of time at the Art Institute of Boston. However, her major influence was time spent as an apprentice with artists such as Sam Feinstein, Cynthia Packard, and, of course, her father, Harry Holl. She shares her passion for the arts on a daily basis by being a mentor for numerous interns of the Cape Cod Museum of Art and also by teaching at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth. Sarah’s remarkable work continues to transform as she blurs the worlds of canvas and clay. Welcome to Sarah Holl Art Space
Ben Hughes, Creative Economy Projects Manager for Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
“The hand painted/decoupaged underwater scene serves as a whimsical yet thoughtful reminder of the vital importance of our surrounding waters and enhances the “sense of place” one feels while on Cape Cod.”
This project is part of the Creative Placemaking initiative, work that enhances the “sense of place” one feels while on Cape Cod. Although the advent of public art is beneficial to inspire and entertain visitors, an arguably more impactful result is instilling community pride within the next generation of residents. The students saw many sectors of local business come together with support for their creation. As we continually seek to attract and retain young people on Cape Cod, the students involved agreed that this piece gives them a place to return as adults able to say, “I did that.”
Our Creative Placemaking efforts bring art to the public while creating beauty and delight that engenders civic pride. The goal is to draw people into the cultural districts with a range of activities and experiences that nurture the authentic sense of place. By expanding our network of partners and collaborators, we increase the voices promoting the creative hubs of the cultural districts.
They should all be proud of their hard work. It is exciting to have a permanent piece of art in front of the East art building for all to enjoy.
Cape Cod Chamber: Creative Placemaking on Cape Cod
By Wendy Northcross, The Barnstable Register, September 2, 2016
By Barbara Clark, The Barnstable Register, October 14, 2016