, Gloucester, MA

September 22, 2010

Celebrating a children's author with events for adults, too

Around the Cape
Gail McCarthy

A family arts celebration will take place on Saturday to honor beloved children's author and Gloucester resident Virginia Lee Burton. It will include a host of activities from a family scavenger hunt to art projects.

Cape Ann families and visitors are invited to take part in the event "Honoring Virginia Lee Burton: A Family Arts Celebration," from noon to 3 p.m. It takes place on the grounds of 1255 Washington St. where the late author and artist used to live and where she created her timeless children's books.

The event takes place rain or shine and a CATA shuttle bus will transport visitors from the St. Paul Lutheran Church at 1123 Washington St. to and from the grounds because there is no parking at the site.

The books by Burton (1909-1968), which she illustrated also, remain in print, according to her publishing house, Houghton Mifflin. "Katy and the Big Snow," first published in 1943, follows the life of a tireless tractor, used as a bulldozer in the summer and a snowplow in the winter — and Burton herself said the story was based on Gloucester's Highway Department.

Some special arts activities planned for Saturday include touring the grounds of Burton's home; taking pictures with large wood cutouts of book characters such as Katy the Snowplow, and Mary Anne the steam shovel from "Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel"; block printing for children with Art Haven from noon to 2:30 p.m.; art projects for adults with Valerie McCaffrey; drama games with JoJo from the children's television show, "JoJo's DreamCart" at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.; a family scavenger hunt at 1 and 2 p.m.; and the Plum Cove School singers perform children's music at 1:30 p.m. Storyteller Lucille LePage will sit with children and read from Burton's books.

For art lovers and collectors, there will be a silent auction to bid on a rare framed print of an original Virginia Lee Burton linoblock. She was part of the Folly Cove Designers. Guests can view videos of "Folly Cove Designers" and "A Sense of Place," a documentary about Burton. Children's books will be available for purchase.

Bring a blanket and plan a picnic or enjoy light snacks that will be available to purchase. The suggested donation is $5 to $10 per family to benefit Cape Ann TV, a nonprofit public access television station that offers educational and training programs to Cape Ann's communities. For more information, call 978-281-2443.

A look at mystery

The Sawyer Free Library and Gloucester Lyceum present a free book talk tonight at 7 by Cape Ann author and photographer Susan Oleksiw. She will discuss "The Story Behind the Story: India and Anita Ray Mysteries." She is the author of numerous short stories and novels. Her newest novel, "Under the Eye of Kali," features the character Anita Ray. For details, visit

Violinist, Eden's Edge

Music at Eden's Edge returns to Gloucester with a special concert Saturday at 8 p.m. at the North Shore Arts Association. Noted American violinist and chamber musician Daniel Stepner will be the group's guest artist in the final concert of its 29th season. The concert program is titled "On September's Road: String Quartets."

Nominated for two Grammy Awards, Stepner has been first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet, in residence at Brandeis University for 21 years, and is artistic director of the Aston Magna Festival, the oldest annual summer festival in America devoted to music performed on period instru ments. He also served for 24 years as concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society, America's oldest continuing music organization. As a touring musician, he has played in Western Europe and the former Soviet Union, and throughout Australia and the U.S.A. He will join the chamber music ensemble's core performers, violinist Maria Benotti; cellist Lynn Nowels; and composer and violist Mark Berger in the Beethoven Op. 74 "Harp Quartet," Prokofiev's "Quartet No. 2," and Berger's "Notturno. "

A preceptor in music at Harvard University, he team-teaches a course in chamber music with Robert Levin. He taught at the New England Conservatory, Boston University, the Eastman School of Music, the Longy School of Music, and Brandeis University.

The North Shore Arts Association is at 11 Pirates Lane in Gloucester. Tickets are $20, $15 for students and seniors, and $50 for families. They may be purchased online at or, at the door, or by calling 978-270-4463.

Sicilian culture festival

This weekend, New Bedford will host the 2010 Working Waterfront Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26, presenting an expanded look at the ethnic diversity of the region's working waterfront communities. The program is titled "All in One Boat: the Cultural Mosaic of New England's Working Ports." Immigrants from around the globe have settled in and shaped New England's port cities which today include a mosaic of cultures.

The music, food and fishing traditions of Sicily and Sicilian-Americans will be among those cultures featured at the event since many fishing families in the port of Gloucester trace their roots to Sicily. The festival will include performances of traditional Sicilian music by singer Michaela Musolino and guitarist Marco Capelli. Members of the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association will present a cooking demonstration featuring a traditional Sicilian seafood dish. Theresa Maggio, author of "Mattanza! Love and Death in the Sea of Sicily," will talk about the 1,000-year old tuna fishing ritual of the same name.

The free festival is designed to be a family-friendly, educational celebration of New England's commercial fishing industry, also featuring fishermen's contests, fresh seafood, vessel tours, author readings, children's activities and more. It all takes place on working piers and waterfront parks in New Bedford. For more information, visit

Love, adventure at sea

As part of the Meet the Author series, David Fisichella will discuss his memoir, "Seven-Tenths: Love, Piracy, and Science at Sea," on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. in Rockport Public Library. Fisichella's story includes that of former Rockport resident Amy Bower, an oceanographer who spent much of her time at sea and was losing her eyesight. As they sailed the Arabian Sea and he watched her adapt to progressive vision loss, Fisichella found his own bearings. They confronted the mysteries of ocean currents and survived an armed pirate attack, as he learned what it meant to be working for, and dating, the chief scientist. Today Fisichella manages shipboard scientific services at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He has started a company to provide adaptive technology to the blind. He teaches sailing and skiing to the blind, and sails around New England with Bower, now his wife, and their 8-year-old daughter.

The author also explains the study of complex ocean processes and enlivens the mundane aspects of life at sea with humor, and a sense of wonder about our oceans. Commenting on the book, John K. Bullard, president of the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, said "One woman who faces the challenges of disability and the glass ceiling and triumphs every day to show that vision is more than eyesight and limits are just an horizon that beckons. The Earth's surface is seven-tenths water, but 'Seven-Tenths' is 10-tenths of a good read."

Trails and Sails events

Cape Ann Trails and Sails events continue this weekend.

The Gloucester Committee for the Arts will host a tour of Gloucester City Hall's renowned and extensive Works Progress Administration murals. The City Hall Restoration Commission will host tours of City Hall's bell tower. The tours are Saturday and Sunday beginning shortly after 1 p.m. at City Hall at 9 Dale Ave. Admission is free.

In another Gloucester event, there will be a Working Waterfront Walking Tour on Saturday at 10 a.m.. It starts at the Fisherman's Statue on Stacy Boulevardand ends with cider and doughnut holes at Fitz Henry Lane House on Harbor Loop.

For a full listing of all events, visit

Artist-in-residence talk

Printmaker Anne Krinsky is the third and final Goetemann Artist in Residence for 2010. She will give a closing studio talk about her work Wednesday, Sept. 29, at the residency studio at 51A Rocky Neck Ave. at 7 p.m. Krinsky makes grid-based works on paper and panel, a blend of painting and drawing. Her panels are built with thick swaths, splotches and drips of candy-colored paint. She sands these down to create a seamless surface — a visual representation of a present moment shaped by prior experience. Her upcoming show, "Anne Krinsky: Time / Line, 2000 - 2010," opens in October at the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College in Boston.

Navy, Rockport events

The Rockport Navy Committee has invited sailors from the USS Constitution, Northeast Navy Showband and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to Rockport for the weekend.

Timothy Cooper, the Constitution's commanding officer, has authorized a replica of an 1812 gun deck complete with a 5,800-pound, late 18th century long gun to come to Rockport. A master gun team, in 1813 period uniforms, will be giving free hourly demonstrations on T-Wharf this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard sailors include crewmembers of submarines at the shipyard, the USS Helena, the USS Oklahoma City, the USS Dallas and the USS Virginia and those assigned to the shipyard. They will bring with them a 20-foot scale model of a nuclear submarine.

This will be the fourth year sailors will come to Rockport to participate in various sporting and social events organized by residents and businesses.

On Saturday at 1:30 p.m., there will be a kickball game with the sailors open to Rockport children age 6 to 16 who preregister. The children and sailors will be divided into mixed teams. At 7 p.m., the Rockport police and firefighter softball team will play against a Navy team. The public is welcome to watch the action at Evans Field where there will be free refreshments, activities and a disc jockey.

On Sunday from 8 to 10 a.m., the public is invited to a pancake breakfast with the sailors at Brackett's Ocean View Restaurant at 25 Main St. Admission is $5, and proceeds go to the Navy committee. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Stoffa Gallery at 41 Main St. or at the door. The committee is looking for volunteers to man the drop-in center at the Roy Moore Fish Shack restaurant both days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Baked goods, a favorite of the sailors, are needed for the events and may be dropped off Saturday. For information, go to or call Sharon Grandmaison at 978-290-1393.

Artists in the 1930s

The Cape Ann Museum presents Rockport reminiscences on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. in its Folly Cove Auditorium. Join family and friends of the artists featured in the special exhibition "Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: Rockport Artists of the 1930s" as they explore the impact these artists had on Rockport and the future generations. The event is free for Cape Ann Museum and Rockport Art Association members, or with museum admission. To make a reservation, call Jeanette Smith at 978-283-0455 x11 or e-mail The Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant St. in Gloucester, is wheelchair accessible. For details, call 978-283-0455 or visit

Save the date

Old Sloop Coffeehouse presents Antje Duvekot on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Rockport. Duvekot won the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition (2000), the Kerrville Festival Best New Folk Award (2006), and a Boston Music Award for Outstanding Folk Act (2006). Marina Evans, a Rockport singer/songwriter, opens the show. For details, visit

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-283-7000 x3445, or Items should be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the event.