Partner With an Artist – Encouraging Collaboration in our Community

Partner with an Artist (PWA), seARTS’ signature community arts program, is focused on celebrating the arts, strengthening partnerships with the community, and promoting a vibrant and culturally rich economy on Cape Ann. PWA provides an opportunity for artists to collaborate and create unique and innovative artwork outside of traditional visual art spaces.  Artists are invited to determine the content and method of their work in response to the partners themselves – the workers, the customers, the site, and/or historical and cultural aspects of a site. PWA is made possible by financial support from the Bruce J. Anderson and Selma and Andrew Bayness Funds of The Boston Foundation.

Since the program was launched in 2005, PWA has provided grants to dozens of artists. Click to here to see these past partners and artists.

The latest examples of PWA in action

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These most recent grants are part of a seARTS PWA effort focused on Cape Ann’s four cultural districts — Essex River, Harbortown, Rocky Neck and Rockport.  Two of these PWA projects were presented in October 2014.

Jane Keddy 

The Rocky Neck Cultural Center (RNCC) is home to many wonderful exhibitions throughout the year, but on Thursday, October 9, the RNCC itself was the focus of attention.

That evening, Gloucester artist Jane Keddy presented the work that earned her a Partner With an Artist (PWA) grant from seARTS – a silkscreen print of the RNCC building, the once church, now gallery and cultural center in the Rocky Neck Cultural District.

seARTS awarded Jane the grant this summer, as part of a PWA program spotlighting CapeIMG_4097 Ann’s four cultural districts. seARTS’ signature community arts program, PWA provides grants to artists to create new work in partnership with local organizations. And this is clearly a work of art that uniquely addresses the goals of the current PWA cultural district program.

Jane’s partner for her PWA project was the RNCC, and it was her hope that her work would help draw attention to the center and help raise funds. One copy of the print will hang at the center, and other copies and notecards will be sold there, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the RNCC and the Rocky Neck Art Colony (RNAC).

At the presentation of her work on October 9, Jane took guests through the process of creating this print, which, as she describes, “starts with a photograph and moves on to a sketch of the idea, blocking out the various colors and condensing them into three to ten colors for the print. In screen printing, each color is printed separately on a limited number of sheets of paper. Starting with a background color, all sheets are printed with that color and hung to dry. Then the stencil is prepared for the next color, and that color is printed on all the sheets. The process is continued in layers until all colors have been added. It is a time-consuming and meticulous process, but the final product is quite impressive, and you end up with multiple pieces of original art.”

We at seARTS certainly agree – this piece of artwork is quite impressive, and a fitting representation of an important part of the Rocky Neck Cultural District, a point emphasized by RNAC Executive Director Suzanne Gilbert Lee in her welcoming remarks.

We’re very pleased that Suzanne and other members of the RNAC opened their doors to seARTS for last Thursday’s event — and that they joined with seARTS board members and friends to celebrate this addition to the Rocky Neck Cultural Center.

See for yourself — look for Jane’s print next time you visit Rocky Neck and the RNCC, located at 6 Wonson Street.

SONY DSCJay Havighurst

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking . . .”

On Sunday, October 12, Cape Ann residents got the chance to live John Masefield’s words on dry land, when sculptor Jay Havighurst presented his Partner With an Artist project, an outdoor performance of his audio soundscape at the at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum.

This “sounds of the shipyard” performance was centered around Jay’s tall abstract percussive sound sculpture from wood and metal which, when played by Deb Hardy, Kerry Mullen and friends, and accompanied by various maritime sound recordings, brought to life the “wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking” for the audience. If you closed your eyes, you felt you really were in the shipyard during its heyday – or on a ship at sea.

Jay began the day with a talk on the history of shipbuilding in Essex, and passed out SONY DSCphotographs illustrating ship construction from the late nineteenth century to more recent times. There were also photographs showing how Jay recorded sounds associated with shipbuilding and sailing, which he then seamlessly wove together into a vivid audio collage. This combined with his expert synthesis of the acoustic and artistic properties of wood, aluminum and steel culminated in a strikingly original blend of installation and performance art.

2012 PWA John Bassett’s Glass Sculpture at Bracketts in Rockport

For 2012, John Bassett, of Rockport, won the Partner with an Artist $1,500 grant. Bassett created new work in partnership with three businesses located in the new Rockport Cultural District. Trained as an architect and skilled carpenter, Bassett created three sculptural glass panels which were on prominent display in three restaurants in the heart of Rockport: Brackett’s Oceanview, Roy Moore’s Fish Shack and 7th Wave. The work premiered on October 13 at the Rockport Harvest Fest.

PWA 2012 John Bassett at 7th Wave Restaurant

Bassett transforms recycled glass from the Rockport transfer station (familiar to many as the “dump”) into colorful, textured sculptural panels. His technique involves slumping and fusing the glass in a kiln. Bassett’s work has been exhibited throughout New England.

“PWA’s focus is to celebrate the arts, strengthen partnerships with the business community, and to further the impact of art and culture on the local economy,” said Anne Robinson,  seARTS board of directors. “A few of these Rockport restaurants would have already closed for the season, but we asked them to stay open so the public could view the art and perhaps enjoy the restaurant as well. Staying open longer means more revenue and is a real enhancement for visitors in the cooler months as well as year round residents.”

Benefits for Business Partners

“When businesses notice other businesses getting involved in the arts in such an impactful and creative way, it can really inspire them to get involved,” said Anne Robinson, VP of seARTS board of directors. “Who wouldn’t want to create more attention and gain more customers for their business, as well as support the arts?”
How to Get Involved (for businesses) Local businesses that are interested in hosting a PWA program should contact seARTS.   There is a wide array of businesses from retail establishments to corporate offices that have hosted project in the past.   Please see the presentation of past programs to see many examples.

Who Makes PWA possible?

Many people, including the talented artists and their business partners, make PWA one of seARTS’s signature programs.  In 2012 PWA has been managed by Susan Quateman, a city planner, landscape designer and silk painter with Ten Pound Studio in Gloucester, Mass. PWA is also grateful for grants from the Bruce J. Anderson and Selma and Bayness Andrews Funds of the Boston Foundation.





2011 PWA Elizabeth Harty Triptych #6 at Senior Center in Rockport

  • Susan Erony with Gloucester Writers Center, Ten Pound Island Books and Sawyer Free Library
  • Elizabeth Harty with Rockport Council on the Aging
  • Kristen Miller and Robert Newton with The Annie and Alchemy Cafe & Bistro
  • John Taguiri with Gloucester Marine Railways
  • Abby Ytzen with Capt. Joe & Sons


2010   Jerry Beck with Cape Ann Art Haven

2010 PWA with Jerry Beck at Cape Ann Art Haven


  • Willie Alexander with Virgilio’s
  • Susan Frey & Richard Emmanuel with 
Building Center
  • Ian McColl with Dogtown Bookstore
  • Martin Ray and Fitz Henry Lane House
  • Emily Sinagra with InterShell, YMCA 
Teen Leaders & Art    Haven
  • Mark Teiwes and Captain Joe & Sons
For more coverage of the 2008 PWA Program visit Good Morning Gloucester

2008 PWA Installation at the Building Center

Martin Ray & the Living Poem


  • Lara Lepionka with Shaw’s
  •  Rose-Marie Glen with Gloucester 
Maritime Heritage Center


  • Chad Carlberg with Cape Pond Ice
  • Henry Ferrini with Winchester Fishing 
and Doyon’s
  • Paul Cary Goldberg with Gloucester 
Marine Railways
  • Kimberly Collins Jermain with Varian 
  • Anne Rearick with Cape Ann Motor Inn
  • Lynda Robinson with The White Rainbow


  • Lara Lepionka and Cape Ann YMCA
  • Sarah Slifer and Cape Pond Ice