Provincetown is America’s oldest art colony, and for much of the 20th century anyone who was anyone in the art world came to our little slip of sand. But don’t let people tell you the glory days are over. Ptown continues to draw talented creatives of all stripes with its magical light and all-embracing vibe.
In that spirit, welcome to the first “all art” issue of Ptownie. Art is no stranger to these pages, but this is the first time we’ve devoted an entire issue to what could arguably be called the lifeblood of the town. (OK—maybe fishing and art can both lay claim to the soul of the place.)
We think there’s no better way to tell the story of 20th century art in Provincetown than through the art collection of the late Napi van Derek, whose pieces are destined for the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM). Our thanks to PAAM Director Chris McCarthy and Gallerist Jim Bakker for sharing their insights into Napi and his passion.
Also in this issue, Renaissance man Jay Critchley shares the Cinderella story of Michael Andrews, a Ptown native and self-taught artist whose visionary work will have its first gallery showing this summer at Berta Walker Gallery.
And we’re reporting on the must-see exhibition of the summer, Density’s Glitch, over at the gorgeously renovated campus of the Fine Arts Work Center (FAWC). If you’re looking to add a piece of top-tier art to your collection, here’s your chance because this show is a fundraiser and features the work of notable past FAWC fellows.
You’ll see lots of familiar faces in Ron Amato’s portraits of Provincetown artists in this issue, though this group is just a small sampling of the talent that’s out there. And you’ll find an expanded portfolio on his website.
Of course, no less fabled than Provincetown’s visual arts legacy are its literary and theatrical gifts, from Eugene O’Neil’s first play, performed on a wharf here over a century ago, to the Provincetown Theater of today. Byron Crawford gives us a peek into the aspirations of the theater’s current director, David Drake, and also profiles author Christopher Castelanni, who has made Provincetown his muse.
And though Provincetown is our focus, we had to mention our friends down the road in Truro at the Castle Hill Center for the Arts, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a full schedule of summer courses and an expanded two-day dance festival in August.
When Mike Miller asked me a few years ago if I’d be interested in writing about art for Ptownie, my first thought was that I don’t want to be an art critic. But Mike said it’s called Art We Love – just talk about work that speaks to you and spark the curiosity of townies and visitors who are strolling the gallery scene. So every two weeks in the summer I get to share art from the galleries on Ptownie.com, as well as in each print issue. In this issue we’ve enlisted some additional voices for Art We Love. Our gratitude to Ken Fulk and Jim Balla for their reflections on Sal del Deo and John Waters, respectively.
I hope this issue will inspire you to unleash your own creativity this summer and maybe take a class at PAAM or FAWC or Castle Hill. One of the great things about Provincetown is that it encourages you to get out there and try new things. So express yourself!
-George Rogers, Arts Editor