The Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial
Nearly one year ago, the coronavirus pandemic forced the state to shut down and declare a state of emergency. To commemorate the community’s profound loss, the Cape Ann Museum is creating a temporary art installation to pay tribute to those who died from the deadly virus including 35 people in Gloucester, 55 people from Cape Ann, and more than 2,000 people from Essex County. The COVID-19 Memorial will be dedicated at CAM Green during a virtual online ceremony on March 10 and will be open to the public through March 14.
In partnership with the City of Gloucester and LuminArtz, the Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial is comprised of three parts: a video art installation from LuminArtz, the Cape Ann Cairns Memorial, and the Gloucester Memorial Quilt. These interconnected projects seek to humanize the unfathomably large number of deaths in the past year, place the deeply felt local losses in the broader national conversation, and provide a space for visitors to take steps toward the long process of grief and healing. Understanding that the pandemic is ongoing, this memorial takes place outside at CAM Green and is a temporary installation.
Visitors can reserve free, timed entrance to see the Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial at the CAM Green from Thursday, March 11 – Sunday, March 14 between 12:30 – 8:00 pm.
Live-Streamed Virtual Memorial Ceremony for COVID-19
On Wednesday, March 10, the state’s emergency shutdown anniversary, the Museum will present a live-streamed virtual memorial ceremony at 6 p.m. that can be seen live on Facebook and Vimeo. This ceremony will serve as an opening for the Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial and a vigil for those lost. Due to current gathering restrictions, visitors will not be allowed onsite during the ceremony. Instead, they are encouraged to watch from home and visit the memorial in person afterwards.
Among those scheduled to speak at the ceremony are: local political representatives, community members, and artists including Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, State Senator Bruce Tarr, poet Caroline Harvey, musicians Brian King and Nathan Cohen, the Associated Clergy of Cape Ann, and representatives from the Museum.
To join via live-stream on Facebook or Vimeo follow please register below.
The Cape Ann Cairns
To commemorate the 55 individuals lost from Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester, the four towns and cities of Cape Ann, volunteers from Cape Ann Tree Service will build 55 cairns out of Cape Ann Granite on the back side of the White Ellery House. Cairns, a traditional Scottish marker of respect, can be found around the world. Locally, they can be seen on trails throughout the woods of Cape Ann and along the coast at Halibut Point State Park. They are used as markers, memorials, and organic expressions of creativity. Making these cairns out of Cape Ann Granite as part of the COVID-19 Memorial acknowledges the deep sense of history and place embedded in this region.
By request, the Museum will put small markers in front of a cairn to designate it for a specific individual who died of COVID-19. Unless personally requested, the Cape Ann Cairns will remain anonymous, holding space for all those who have been lost from the region. Community members are invited to visit the cairns to pay their respects and reflect on the year. The Museum also encourages visitors to bring tokens of respect, traditionally small stones or flowers, which can be left on the cairns.
Family members and friends who wish to have a loved one personally acknowledged are invited to reach out to the Museum via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to 978-283-0455 x125.
LuminArtz COVID Memorial Installation
From Tuesday, March 9 through Sunday, March 14, the Cape Ann Cairns and the Janet and William Ellery James Center will be illuminated by LuminArtz. By collaborating with local artists, businesses, and the community to transform streetscapes into vibrant installations, LuminArtz brings art to light. The Cape Ann Museum is proud to partner with LuminArtz to bring light to the COVID-19 Memorial in these dark times.
Pamela Hersch, a Boston-based, multidisciplinary artist originally from Mexico, will create a video art installation that places the local COVID-19 deaths within the regional, state, and national context. Hersch uses a combination of organic and artificial elements to tell a story and to transform spaces.
The Gloucester Memorial Quilt
The Gloucester Memorial Quilt was coordinated by the Cape Ann Museum and Roseanne Cody, Board Member on the Gloucester Council of Aging, at the request of Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. This quilt memorializes the Gloucester citizens who died as part of the COVID-19 Pandemic, some remain anonymous and others are personally identified by request of the families. The names were embroidered by Monograms by Diane and the squares were quilted together by Ingrid Schillebeeckx-Rice, a member of the Burlington Quilters Guild. There is a long-standing tradition of quilts used to memorialize and comfort, most significantly the AIDs Memorial Quilt which was displayed for the first time in 1987 and continues to this day.
The Gloucester Memorial Quilt will be unveiled at the Cape Ann Museum’s Live-Streamed Virtual Memorial Ceremony and on display as part of the Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial. After that, it will be on display at Gloucester City Hall.
Visiting the Memorial
The Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial will be open to the public from Thursday, March 11 – Sunday, March 14 between 12:30 - 8:00 pm. The LuminArtz video installation is best viewed after sunset.
Parking is available at the Cape Ann Museum Green. All visitors are required to reserve a free timed visit, wear masks, and maintain proper social distancing while visiting the installation. To reserve a time slot, register here.