De Hirsh Margules, Mother Ann Lighthouse, Eastern Point, Gloucester, 1946. Gouache on paper. Gift of Jean M. Horblit, 2002. [Acc. #2002.004.002]
Gloucester Daily Times – The Commonwealth Award presented by the state’s Cultural Council to the city of Gloucester Tuesday doesn’t necessarily mean the city will be receiving more state aid to promote artistic attractions and cultural events.
It does, however, give a new boost to this city’s profile as a true artistic and cultural hub within the state, and especially across the North Shore. And it conveys that this city’s officials and its arts and cultural organizations “get it” when it comes to promoting Gloucester’s many arts and cultural displays and venues. That indeed is worth recognizing, and in Gloucester’s case, it is a recognition that is well-earned.
Gloucester is, and will forever be, best known as America’s Oldest Seaport, and a New England and East Coast home of the commercial fishing industry. But it also has a long tradition of an artistic and cultural hub — as a part-time home to the likes of TS Eliot, permanent home to poets like Charles Olson and longtime city laureate Vincent Ferrini, and an inspirational source for painters such as Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer and Marsden Hartley.
More recently, however, it has also been at the forefront of generating tourism and development through what has become known as the creative economy, becoming the first host community of two cultural districts as recognized by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. And the city’s attractions are hardly staid, ranging from the art, history and regular events offered by the Cape Ann Museum, to very live and contemporary presentations at the Gloucester Stage Company, Rocky Neck Cultural Center and the ever-evolving Cape Ann Community Cinema.
In essence, this award recognizes the work of all who have enhanced, expanded and tried to promote Gloucester’s artistic and cultural presence. And it’s an award noting that, when it comes to arts and cultural promotion, Gloucester is very much on the right track.
It is, in other words, an award to the city for a job well done. That makes it another well-deserved source of Gloucester pride.