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February 22, 2013

Montserrat head tops seARTS bill

The president of Beverly’s Montserrat College and a leading figure in the advancement of the state’s cultural economy will serve as guest speaker for next week’s annual open meeting of Cape Ann’s Society for the encouragement of the Arts — of seARTS.

Montserrat president Steve Immerman is expected to discuss the work being done at Montserrat since the school has taken up the reactive Economy Association of the North Shore (CAENS) initiative and melded it with Montserrat’s role as an arts educator and the betterment of the larger community through various related programs. Montserrat was also a founding member of seARTS in 2000.

The annual meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 26, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Gloucester Engineering cafeteria in the Blackburn Industrial Park. The 13th annual event is free and open to the public.

In addition to a brief, opening business meeting and Immerman’s keynote address, the evening will offer the opportunity to network with a wide variety of Cape Ann artists and arts organizations, and will feature a group of presentations called Pecha Kucha — a form of intellectual entertainment that’s part education, part meet-up, and all fun, organizers say — a gathering of people making and witnessing presentations on just about any topic.

With 20 slides at 20 seconds each, presentations are fast-paced, rhythmic, sometimes poetic idea events. seARTS has invited four artists/organizations to present a story using this methodology – Karen Ristuben, Rob Diebboll, Marty Morgan, and Maureen Aylward from the Gloucester Writers Center — and seARTS hopes to build on the program later in the year with a larger group of members.

The annual meeting and Immerman’s visit comes during a time of renewed focus on the creative economy of Cape Ann, with Executive Director Anita Walker and others representing the Massachusetts Cultural Council having visited downtown Gloucester Thursday to tour the proposed Downtown Cultural District. If that district gains state recognition, it would mark Gloucester’s second and Cape Ann’s fourth designated cultural district, with Rocky Neck, the Essex River District, and a Downtown Rockport Cultural District having gained approval in 2012. The three current Cape Ann cultural districts are among just 14 recognized to date across the state.

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