ROCKPORT — The glory of the arts — past and present — come alive throughout downtown Rockport on Saturday featuring music, art, dance and poetry.
The occasion is the town's annual Motif No. 1 Day, an event that celebrates Rockport's traditions across the arts —— often symbolized by the iconic fishing shack named Motif No. 1 because it was and remains the subject of countless paintings and photographs seen around the world.
People will see real artists at work as well as aspiring artists as they walk around. Or they can take part themselves in the free sidewalk art contest.
Those interested just need to go by the tent at the corner of Main and School streets to register and pick up a bucket of chalk. Prizes will be awarded in several categories.
There are a number of programs for adults and children of all ages.
A scavenger hunt for small versions of Motif No. 1 will be hidden throughout the downtown in another activity.
It would not be a festival without chowder available at a stand in Dock Square, along with live music, art activities for children, the Words Before Dinner event, and a poetry reading. Local author, L.M. Vincent, the author of a book "In Search of the Motif" will be on hand for a reading and book signing at 3:30 p.m. at the Old Firehouse Trust.
Jazz, bluegrass, and classic American Band music will be featured with appearances by the Merrimac Valley Rounders, Carrtunes, Alek Razdan & the A-Train Orchestra and the Rockport Legion Band, along with an acoustic set by Rockport musician Brad Byrd in conjunction with artist Rocky Delforge, who will create a work "Dialogue in Drawing" on site in Dock Square.
"We really want to make this event something that locals come downtown for," said Sarah Kelly, head of the Rockport Festivals Committee. "It's about Rockport's past heritage of the arts and the future of the arts, and that's why we have a lot of activities for everyone, families, children and adults alike."
In that spirit, the Rockport Elementary School running club has worked with organizers and is holding its 5K and one mile fun run as part of the festival, and will likely have more than 300 runners.
Kelly noted that each year the committee works to highlight something new about the area. This year, there will be a focus on the Folly Cove Designers, a key player in Cape Ann's 20th century art and design scene.
The Folly Cove Designers will be featured with a screening of the film "Virginia Lee Burton: A Sense of Place" about the life of the group's founder, along with a question-and-answer session with the film's producer, Christine Lundberg. The film — screened at 1 p.m. at the Old Firehouse Trust — will be accompanied by a showcase of the work of local block printer Julia Garrison, the new proprietor of the Sarah Elizabeth Shop in Rockport, which formerly belonged to block printer Isabel Natti along with the last of the Folly Cove Designers, Sarah Elizabeth Halloran.
The festival will close with a program titled "Rockport Remembered: Vintage Images of Rockport" from the collection of 8mm films shot by Pierce Sears, proprietor of the Thomas Wilson Beverage Co. and maker of Rockport's own Twin Lights Soda. This event at the Old Firehouse Trust starts at 5 p.m. with complimentary soda.
Kelly noted that featured events will take place at various participating businesses as well as community events such as the "instrument petting zoo" and a free concert featuring the Back Bay Brass Quintet at the Shalin Liu Performance Center at noon.
The Rockport Art Association will feature a free presentation at 10 a.m. by historian Les Bartlett on the subject of Motif No. 1, preceded by remarks by artist Donald Mosher on the background of the painting he donated as a fundraiser for the historic art association.
From noon to 2 p.m., the art association will host a free photography reception for its first summer show when festival-goers can meet the photographers behind the work.
For a complete list of activities and events, visit www.rockportartfestivals.com, or follow it on Facebook or Twitter.