The role of public and museum art

Art, preferably public art, is the focus of a new program that offers residencies for three local artists to create work that “challenges existing narratives of life on Cape Cod.”

Public, private, civic and cultural organizations are teaming up to offer $1,000 stipends to three artists from anywhere on Cape Town to “enhance the cultural vibrancy of downtown Hyannis.”

The program is funded by MassDevelopment’s Transformative District Initiative and is linked to a pilot program launched last year in “gateway” cities, including Hyannis. Part of the idea here is to create projects, according to George Durante, “to break down the barriers between Main Street and the harbor to get people to walk between those two places.”

Applications are due October 9, with the first residency potentially starting on October 19. engage and stimulate dialogue about what this downtown village is and can be.

Artists must live anywhere on Cape Cod, and while residencies are open to various media, public art is encouraged. (To apply: artsfoundation.org.) There will be three downtown workspaces: the new CapeBuilt; The Workshop| East end; and Studio 50 @ Pearl on the Hyannis HyArts arts campus.

In announcing the residencies, supporters emphasized the arts as an important part of the tourism industry, year-round economy and building community identity. The coalition involved includes the Arts Foundation, CapeBuilt, the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District, the City of Barnstable, The Design Initiative Inc. Architects and the Cordial Eye.

The “Apollo” exhibition raises topical questions

Can’t make it to Boston to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, or don’t feel comfortable going yet? The museum is creating five free digital programs as part of its “Boston’s Apollo” exhibit that can be viewed online from anywhere. (In some cases, they replace live events canceled due to COVID-19 issues.)

The exhibit, on view through October 12, includes artist John Singer Sargent’s drawings of Thomas McKellar, a young black hotel elevator attendant in the early 20th century. McKellar became Sargent’s model for most of the figures—male and female, white, including gods and goddesses—in Sargent’s murals at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Related video tours of the Gardner Museum, recorded lectures and panel discussions, and a performing arts piece will explore themes of race, class, sexuality and erasure that, according to museum officials, “remain incredibly relevant to our society today”. A variety of experts, artists and community members will participate, and one topic will be museum and arts activism.

“We hope to take audiences on an emotional and intellectual journey, told by people of color, that contextualizes Thomas McKeller’s life story with their own 21st century experiences,” said Catherine T. Morris, Director of Programs audiences at the Gardner Museum, which created the content. “I also hope that these programs will spark reflection on how we engage and support artists, and how we can move forward together as a society.”

Programs will be posted on the museum’s website and YouTube channel on Thursdays through early October: gardnermuseum.org.

Follow Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll on Twitter: @KathiSDCCT.

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