ArtSpirit: Stories of Survival from the Oldest Art Colony in America

ArtSpirit:  Stories of Survival from the Oldest Art Colony in America
ArtSpirit: Stories of Survival from the Oldest Art Colony in America Group Exhibit June 12-23, 2007, Reception Friday June 15, 7-9 pm

The new film documentary ArtSpirit will premiere at the Provincetown International Film Festival June 13-17, 2007. In celebration of this special event, Little Gorgeous Things will present a group art show appropriately titled ArtSpirit from June 12-23, 2007. The exhibit will feature works by artists from the film including Shirl Roccapriore, John Clayton, Sal Del Deo, Hilda Neily, Norma Holt, Conny Hatch, Sally Brophy, Jim Peters, Ilona R Smithkin, Jay Critchley, Deb Ondo, Lauren Kleciak and TJ Walton. A reception will be held on June 15 from 7pm-9pm in the courtyard at 359 Commercial Street across from the library.

ABOUT THE FILM DOCUMENTARY: Provincetown, Massachusetts has inspired generations of artists with its lure of a rare light reflected from the sea and its promise of living out a dream. Ever since the arrival of Charles Hawthorne and his Cape Cod School of Art in 1899, both master teachers and painting students came in droves, wooed by the light and the bohemian spirit. This seduction of art and spirit is told through the eyes of eighteen artists, all of whom paint a picture of sacrifice, passion, and an art colony in transition. As the Provincetown of old threatens to disappear, ArtSpirit, a full-length documentary feature, presents a cultural and socio-economic perspective on living the artist's life, juxtaposing the rich history of Provincetown as the oldest continuous art colony in America, with its present-day status as a gay resort.

ABOUT THE GROUP ART EXHIBIT AT LITTLE GORGEOUS THINGS: This is the first time this diverse group of old and new artists, both recognized and emerging, have ever shown together. Each of the following artists is submitting 1-2 pieces of work of their choice, which will create a fascinating melange of Provincetown styles.


SAL DEL DEO: Salvatore Del Deo has lived year-round in Provincetown since 1954 when he arrived to study with Henry Hensche in the Cape Cod School of Art. "Provincetown was a place you could nourish your young talent, get mentors and live cheaply," he says. "I think that's gone for now." In addition to studying with Hensche, Del Deo also attended Rhode Island School of Design, the Vesper George School of Art in Boston, and the Art Students League in New York. His paintings are held in collections at the Smithsonian, Harvard University, and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. His advice to young painters today: 'Stop looking for galleries, just paint'. Mr. Del Deo is also a successful restauranteur. No personal website available

HILDA NEILY: Hilda Neily was born and raised in Windsor, VT where she spent much of her time drawing, painting and studying the local landscapes. One of her earliest influences was the renowned artist Maxfield Parrish who just happened to live nearby her family home. In later years she would study with William Hollingsworth, Henry Hensche, and at the Boston Art Institute. Her works have been shown in New England, New York, and Florida. Neily feels blessed to live in Provincetown, the oldest continuous art colony in the country, and to be able to experience there the most magnificent light a painter can paint. Personal Website:

NORMA HOLT: Norma Holt has been a photographer for over 40 years. She has photographed celebrities and women and their children all over the world, including India, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunis and other parts of Africa. She has published two collections of photographs: Face of the Artist and Africa: Unadorned. Norma has received grants from CETA, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Florsheim Foundation. She resides in Provincetown where she is otherwise represented by THE DRISKEL GALLERY at The Schoolhouse Center for Arts and Design. No personal website available

CONNY HATCH: Sculptor Conny Hatch is perhaps best known for her Found Fish Series which has been evolving since 1999. The series now includes over 160 individual pieces-all one of a kind specimens-swimming in art collections through the U.S. The fish are built mostly from found wood and metal. Sometimes other recycled objects (such as fishing buoys and nets) are also integrated. The Found Fish have been in several exhibitions including the Teichman Gallery in Brewster, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Ms Hatch is currently otherwise represented by the Kobalt Gallery in Provincetown, MA and the Oceanside 17 Gallery in Hull, MA. Personal Website:

SALLY BROPHY After over 20 years as a graphic artist, I am finding that computers are pushing my design work to be faster all the time, and more about technology than technique. As a result, I have been especially drawn to printmaking. The slow, deliberate process of cutting wood to create a line, then gradually applying paint to board then paper, to produce a print, brought me back to the roots of the creative process. Rather than being true to realistic space and form I’m much more interested in representing the emotional shape of an object or scene. What memory does this evoke? What color is that memory? What color is that emotion? These types of questions run through me when I’m working and re-working a composition into its final form. Moving to Provincetown gave me the opportunity to add to a lifetime of studying various artistic processes. Studying for four years with Kathi Smith and Vicky Tomayko at the Provincetown Art Association Museum School provided me with the tools I needed to explore printmaking in a variety of forms. I’ve recently been returning to my artistic roots by putting paint to canvas once again and am enjoying the fluidity that painting adds to the narrative nature of my art.

JIM PETERS: Syracuse, NY native Jim Peters is a graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. A painter and constructionist, he exhibits regularly at CDS Gallery in New York City and DNA Gallery in Provincetown. His numerous awards include Fellowships at Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, two Massachusetts Artists Grants and other fellowships. Peters states "My work is a search for a domestic space and a domestic sensuality. I paint my wife, my family, from my mind and my imagination. The work is a constant revision, changing and honing images until fantasy and reality meet." No personal website available

JAY CRITCHLEY: Artist and activist Jay Critchley's visual, conceptual and performance work has traversed the globe. The Provincetown resident has written, directed and produced two movies, a CD about Boston's Big Dig, and is currently featured in an exhibition on global warming at the Andy Warhol Museum. Visitors to Provincetown can see more of his work at the ArtStrand Gallery, 494 Commerical Street. His monumental BEIGE MOTEL-the sand-encrusted former Pilgrim Spring Motel on Rte. 6, NTruro, MA-will open to the public on Jun23, 2007 from 5pm-8pm. Jay has taught at the Museum School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and has had residencies at Harvard University, AS220 in Rhode Island, and Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center in New York City. He also runs the annual Provincetown Harbor Swim for Life benefit which is set for September 8, 2007. Personal Website:

JOHN CLAYTON: Painting outside, en plein air, John Clayton's impressionistic themes range from the local landscapes of Provincetown and Truro to quiet still lifes. He creates an unexpected palette in the colorist tradition, instilling his compositions with life and revealing his joy for painting. John's background includes studies in New York at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design School of Fine Arts, as well as local classes at the Cape Cod School of Art where he developed an appreciation for the work and teaching of Charles Hawthorne. Clayton has also received two scholarship awards from the Mrs. Robert Forbes Foundation, and an honorable mention from the Academy of Fine Arts exhibition in 1998. Personal Website:

TJ WALTON: Ms. Walton began painting in Boston while she managed an art gallery. In the late 1980's she came to Provincetown on vacation, never to leave. Walton is at the forefront of a new movement of self-taught artists who prefer to learn by trial and error--listening to her inner artist's voice rather than be heavily influenced by a mentor or a "school of art." Her canvases are much like her personality: colorful, high spirited, determined and appealing. She is best known for neofigurative paintings of horses that capture varying moods of the noble beast. Email contact:

SHIRL ROCCAPRIORE (co-producer of ArtSpirit): Ms. Roccapriore began taking private oil painting classes at the age of 7, which later led to her being one of the last students to study at the Cape Cod School of Art in the old barn on Pearl Street under the direction of Lois Griffel. Before moving to Provincetown in 1999 Shirl pursued acting, screenwriting, and filmmaking in addition to clay sculpting and painting the figure. She proudly proclaims that Richard Diebenkorn and Cynthia Packard are her greatest influences. 'I believe developing ones own voice in their work is a process and the learning never stops. I hope to continue and broaden my artistic vision in whatever capacity with the incredible pool of talented artists in my community' says Roccapriore. Personal Website: WWW.ROCCARTWORK.COM

DEB ONDO (co-producer, writer, editor of ArtSpirit): Deb has over 20 years of experience working in television. She has held key management positions at several Boston television stations, including NECN and WFXT. Throught her career, Deb has earned five Emmy Awards, the Pat Weaver Broadcast Journalism Award, two Outstanding News Promotion Awards from Women in Communications, and The Parent's Choice Award for the children's special, "When I Was a Girl." Ms. Ondo is also President of PACE, an arts, commerce, and education association in Pawling, NY. Email contact:

LAUREN KLECIAK (co-producer, director of photography, editor of ArtSpirit). Lauren started her career as a still photographer for the U.S. Air Force. She has worked in television for over fifteen years, as a videographer, editor and producer, and is currently a senior editor at NECN in Boston. She was honored with the prestigious national Gabriel Award for documentary editing, won two Women in Communications Awards, and has earned several Emmy nominations. Email contact: