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A Cultural Summer Sampler

by Lauren Wolk

Trying to describe the summer events at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in under 1000 words is like trying to fit an elephant in a thimble. A sampler should suffice, however, to prove that the Center's motto - All the Arts for All of Us - is a perfect fit.

While the final phase of a construction project to build a new Education Wing continues, the Center does a daily juggling act to find space for the dozens of events, exhibitions, and educational opportunities that fill its calendar to overflowing.

"We host hundreds of events every year in order to fulfill our mission, pay our bills, and maintain a culture of inclusion and support," says Executive Director Robert Nash.

"Emerging artists exhibit alongside those who are well established. Performers range from internationally recognized musicians and poets to local bands and writers just starting out. And our classes are geared to a wide range of ages, abilities, and interests. It's all about balance and inspiring creativity in everyone who comes here."

The Center's summer events range from concerts (14 on the books so far) to readings, films, wine tastings, foreign language soirees, receptions, fundraisers, and festivals.

Zoe Lewis

Some performers will be back by popular demand, including the New Black Eagles Jazz Band, Kate Taylor, pianist Silvard, an Evening of Sneak Peeks and Highlights with Five Great Cape Singer-Songwriters (Kathleen Healy, Monica Rizzio, Catie Flynn, Todd Nickerson, and Jordan Renzi), Brother Sun (appearing this year with the Box Car Lilies), Siobhan Magnus with Zoe Lewis and other singer-songwriters, and local groups like Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys! and Super Soulshine (two great reasons to dance).

New to the Center are world-renowned performers who promise to fill the house with great music and sold-out audiences, among them blues legend James Montgomery (appearing with Bruce Marshall and Mark T. Small), pianist Robert Wyatt, Gary Stroutsos playing world music, pianist Fabiano de Castro and friends performing hot Brazilian jazz, and Boston's Americana indie-folk/bluegrass quintet, Grace and the RSO.

"We've been selling out more and more often," Nash continues, "for several reasons: excellent performers, combined with reasonable ticket prices, complimentary refreshments, an acoustically stellar space that's also intimate and full of gorgeous art. What more could you want?"

Actually, Nash himself and everyone associated with the Center do want something else, and they want it as soon as possible. The Education Wing now under construction will give the Center much more space and many more resources to feed the community's insatiable appetite for high quality but affordable programs.

These include educational opportunities of many kinds this summer, from six weeks of art day camps for kids to classes and workshops for adults in painting (in several media), collage, mixed media, music, foreign languages, oenology, dance, and other interests.

Leading the faculty are artists like Suzanne Packer, Doris Mee, and Jean Tucker. And in August, award-winning Minnesota watercolor painter Gail Speckman will return for another of her extraordinary 3-day workshops, a great way to end the season.

Suzanne Packer
Suzanne Packer, photograph by Robert Nash

Meanwhile, work by over 270 artists (this summer alone) will quietly occupy the Center's four galleries amid the hum and bustle. The exhibits will include several by groups of artists, ranging from annual shows by students from Station Avenue Elementary School and Mattacheese Middle School to the 17th National Juried Show of Pastel Painters, A Special Weavers' Wonderland One-Day Spectacular on July 14th, and over 40 artists featured in Deborah Forman's new book, Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: People and Places.

"All the Arts for All of Us"

Click HERE for the Calendar of Events & Exhibits

307 Old Main St., South Yarmouth
508 394 7100

Add to all that the 12th Annual Run/Walk for the Arts on June 14th and the 13th Annual Celebration of the Arts Festival in August - plus a gift shop featuring work by Cape and Islands artisans - and private events ranging from weddings to baby showers, and you've got one very busy place.

"We wouldn't have it any other way," Nash says. "Just like every other nonprofit, we're on a very tight budget, engaged in continuous fund raising, but we don't charge an admission fee to our exhibits and we keep our ticket prices affordable because we want as many people as possible to participate in what takes place here. It's a gift worth sharing."

To learn more about the Center's events and volunteer opportunities, or how to help it complete the Education Wing and expand its programs for youth at risk, contact the staff at 307 Old Main Street in South Yarmouth, 508-394-7100, or visit

Lauren Wolk

Lauren Wolk is a novelist, poet, visual artist, and Associate Director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.

In 1999, Random House published her first novel, Those Who Favor Fire. Her second novel, Forgiving Billy, was twice nominated for the Pushcart Editor's Book Award and won the Hackney Literary Award. It awaits publication. Her poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Off the Coast, roger, Naugatuck River Review, Oberon, other literary journals, and anthologies.