Sculpting Self

April 16, 2022 — June 12, 2022

The Cape Ann Museum is excited to present a special exhibition pairing sculptures by Walker Hancock (1901-1998) with sculptures created by over 300 eighth graders at Manchester-Essex Middle School, Rockport Middle School, and Gloucester’s O’Maley Middle School. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Hancock made his home in the Lanesville section of Gloucester and devoted his long and distinguished career to capturing the spirit of the human figure. His subjects were diverse, ranging from prominent American political and military figures to important artists, to his neighbors and friends in Lanesville.

Sculpting Self was inspired by Hancock's Basketball Player series. Created over a fifteen-year period (c. 1961-1977), Hancock made these sculptures while watching Gloucester High School’s varsity basketball team practice. The basketball players would repeat moves like Sky Hook and Waiting for the Pass so that Hancock could capture their dynamic movement in sculpture.

During the 2021-2022 school year, CAM’s Head of Education & Engagement, Miranda Aisling, visited each class of eighth graders twice to talk about Hancock’s work and to teach the students how to create their own wire armature and cover it with clay. Each student was asked to portray themselves doing their favorite activity. From basketball to reading, ballet to dabbing, listening to music or playing video games, these sculptures capture the interest of today’s eight graders on Cape Ann.

CAM’s annual Community Art Exhibition started in 2020-2021 with Quilted Together: An exhibition of community portraits, displaying over 637 community portraits made by community members across Cape Ann. This unique initiative creates an opportunity for the broader Cape Ann community to see and celebrate student's artwork alongside works from the Museum's collection in a professional gallery setting, creating a visual, tangible connection between young artists and professional artists from this region.

The Museum would like to extend special thanks to Hope Fishburn and Brett Dunton at O’Maley Middle School, Tina Doherty at Manchester-Essex Middle School, and Pam Jones at Rockport Middle School for supporting this project in their classrooms.

In connection with this special exhibition, the Cape Ann Museum will be free for families during April Vacation Week and will give a Free Family Tour on the Sculptors of Cape Ann on Saturday, May 28. The exhibition opening will take place on Saturday, April 23 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm. Meg Black, Ph.D will be presenting CAMTalks: Behind Walker Hancock’s sculptures, The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane on Saturday, May 21.

This exhibition was funded in part by the Rockport Cultural Council, Essex Cultural Council, and Manchester Cultural Council.

[Top] Collection of basketball players by Walker Hancock (1901-1998), 1960s, bronze. Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Museum purchase, 1982, with funds provided by Evelyn Bartlett [Acc. #2576]. [Bottom] Sculptures by students at O’Maley Middle School.



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