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Committee for the Arts

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Per order of Mayor Theken, following community discussions about public art in Gloucester, the City and the Committee For the Arts have hired consultant Elizabeth Keithline of Wheel Arts Administration to gather information and make recommendations on a public art policy. 
In order to accurately begin to formulate what this policy should contain, Keithline asked to hear from Gloucester residents about the following questions:

  • What is your vision for public art in Gloucester? What would you like to see happen here?
  • Do you have any recommendations on how that vision can become a reality?
  • Name and/or describe public art in Gloucester that you like or don't like.
  • Do you have any recommendations on how Gloucester can improve its public art processes?
  • Do you have any specific recommendations on what a public art policy for Gloucester should contain

Please feel free to email your responses, or any information you care to share, to 
All comments are unattributed. Keithline will be conducting a public meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, September 30th at 7:00 pm. She will give a brief presentation on possibilities in public art and report out on the interviews that she has conducted. A second meeting will be held for City Council on October 13th. A third meeting will be held on November 10 to present a draft of the new policy.

About the Gloucester Committee for the Arts (CFTA)

Made up of citizen volunteers appointed by the Mayor and City Council, the Committee for the Arts (CFTA) was established by City ordinance in 2000 to promote and celebrate Gloucester’s cultural heritage and to foster an appreciation of arts and artists in the local community. The Committee works to preserve and increase awareness of Gloucester’s WPA-era murals and other city-owned art. Additionally, the Committee develops and promotes educational programs and establishes awards and honors to recognize local artists. The committee works with other city departments to shape and implement a city-wide public art policy. The Committee advises City officials on the value of a diverse, cultural life as well as encourages art programs within public schools.  

Public Art: City Hall WPA-era Murals

Year round, when City Hall is open, make time to see Gloucester's beautifully painted and detailed WPA-era murals. We are fortunate to have such holdings and we are committed to preserving this part of Gloucester's history. The CFTA is grateful that the City of Gloucester continues to invest in our City’s arts and culture. Some of the murals were restored in 2014 Before any restoration work could begin the CFTA secured strategic funding over a period of several years via grants and with the generosity of individuals and foundations including:  the Belinda Foundation at the Boston Foundation, seARTS with the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the City of Gloucester CPA funding, and the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation. Thank you for this support!

Public Art: HarborWalk Public Art Challenge

Experience FISH NET, an award winning, site-specific temporary work of art by James Owen Calderwood, one of three artists for the "2013 HarborWalk Public Art Challenge". These awards reflect discussions, community development, planning and prescient determination to remember and work towards incorporating the creative arts broadly alongside other city efforts. For information about the HarborWalk, visit http://www.ghwalk.org.  Calderwood's nearly 300' mural covers Parsons Street (between Main Street and Rogers) and is open daily, self guided. "Leaping" photograph © Cruz Ferraras. Send us your photos! 
cruz ferreras.bmp                         ma smart growth.jpg

CFTA Poet Laureate 
The City Of Gloucester Committee for the Arts establishes awards and honors to recognize local artists -- including the position of the City of Gloucester Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate is dedicated to building community through poetry and encouraging a love of poetry among people of all ages. Many fine poets live and write in the city of Gloucester and their poems have been widely published. The honorary post for the City of Gloucester was created in 1998. There have been 4 Poet Laureates: Vincent Ferrini was the City’s first, then John Ronan, Ruthanne Collinson, and the current Poet Laureate, Peter Todd. The Committee for the Arts selects a new Poet Laureate every four years.

The current Poet Laureate is Peter Todd  
Read more about Peter Todd

May 2015, Peter Todd poem to commemorate 2015 Action anniversary
May 2015, Gloucester Daily Times: My View column, Peter Todd, Poet Laureate
April 2015, Peter Todd poem to commemorate 2015 Gloucester Pride Stride
April 30, 2015, CFTA Poet Laureate: Read poems shared by Peter Todd, Collinson, and Ronan for East Gloucester Elementary Poem in Pocket Day 
April 10, 2015, Gloucester Daily Times: OUR VIEW column  by Gloucester's current Poet Laureate, Peter Todd, and former poet laureates: Ruthanne Collinson and John Ronan. 

April, 2012 GDT.jpg 
Photo taken April 6, 2012. Shows example of poet laureate and youth outreach: This Gloucester Daily Times photograph captures the excitement of a poetry program at East Gloucester Elementary School that featured Gloucester Poet Laureate, Ruthanne Collinson along with Young Audiences of Massachusetts performer David Zucker and Gloucester author/artist Pat Lowery Collins for a dazzling celebration of poetry. Children were also reminded to write or find a poem to bring and share on National Poem in Your Pocket Day. The program was supported in part by a grant from the Gloucester Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and on behalf of the City of Gloucester, the Committee for the Arts, and the PTO. Ms. Collinson attended West Parish. There is also annual youth outreach for poetry-- the poet laureate participates in Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free's Poetry Without Paper Competition and during the month of May participates in Gloucester Education Foundation City Wide arts festival Carry a Poem! Share a Poem! Look for the annual National Poem in Pocket Day each April.

Gloucester's former Poet Laureates Ruthanne Collinson, served July 2010-2014. John Ronan preceded Ms. Collinson as Poet Laureate and served 2008-2010, maintaining the website resource dedicated to Gloucester poets, Gloucester Poet Laureate, also for Salt and Light: An Anthology of Gloucester Poetry, published spring 2010. He is the host of the Cape Ann TV program, The Writer’s Block.  Vincent Ferrini was the first Poet Laureate (1998).
Public Artworks in Need

There are approximately objects in the collection. The City of Gloucester allocated $5000 towards the CFTA for fiscal year 2013. If you would like to join the effort to care for the irreplaceable City art-- including the historic murals-- and the work of the CFTA, contributions in support of our City art can me mailed to:

The Gloucester Fund
45 Middle Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
Be sure to put "Committee for the Arts" on the memo line of the check.

Civic Art Collection and Public Art Documents

--coming soon--
Revised City Ordinance 2012
Memorial Bench
Proposed Gifts of Artwork
Sample artist contract: Public Art
PDF 2013 HarborWalk Public Art Challenge (closed)
FAQs Public Art 
Please click here for a PDF for the 2014 Poet Laureate Call for Applications

Committee for the Arts photos click here

 CFTA in the News

2013 March: Press Release Announcing $13,200 in new private donation
Work to Begin on WPA Murals in Gloucester City Hall, Cape Ann Beacon

Gloucester has two cultural districts officially designated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council! 
Screenshot_060314_084543_PM.jpgScreenshot_060914_111029_AM.jpgDowntown Harbortown Cultural District and Rocky Neck 

 2014 Sept 26 27 28 Gloucester to Honor its Own Monuments Man: Sculptor Walker Hancock  

During the weekend of September 26-28, the City of Gloucester will celebrate the life and work of Sculptor Walker Hancock. The celebration, sponsored by the Gloucester Committee for the Arts, will feature events in several venues, including The Cape Ann Museum, The Cape Ann Community Cinema, and Gloucester City Hall. Other partners include Essex National Heritage Area and Cape Ann TV. Download press release 

Click here for a partial listing of poetry events and opportunities around town April 2015

Justin Desilva Gloucester MA August 2014.jpg

2014: Justin Desilva's temporary art installation: With Every Street There's a Story, 2013-14, 20 unique, mixed-media murals utilizing downtown Gloucester's pedestrian crosswalks as its canvas.  Justin's crosswalks were one of three new works of art commissioned by the CFTA on behalf of the City of Gloucester for the 2013 HarborWalk Public Art Challenge, with funding from the Seaport Advisory Council, Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Click for Google map of Justin Desilva crosswalk locations

The Committee for the Arts mission is to further the City’s deep cultural heritage and promote its contemporary arts by:

  • maintaining Gloucester’s WPA murals and other City-owned art 
  • developing and promoting educational programs 
  • establishing awards and honors that recognize local artists including the position of Gloucester Poet Laureate 
  • implementing a City-wide public art policy and commissioning process 
  • developing mutually beneficial arts partnerships 
  • encouraging the creation and promotion of arts projects created in and/or about Gloucester 
  • advising City officials on the value of a diverse, cultural life for all citizens 
  • encouraging arts programs within the public schools


Agendas are available prior to Committee meetings.
Minutes are available once approved by the CFTA.
Most recent Minutes | All Minutes


The Committee has 7 members, each serving a 4 year term.

Last Name
First Name
To Expire
Romeo Theken
Sefatia Mayor 978-281-9700

Hoglander Judith   Chair February 14, 2017

February 14, 2016

February 14, 2017

February 14, 2016
Haverkamp Robert 

  February 14, 2017

February 14, 2017 

Mayor's Representative
February 14, 2016

CFTA History
Thank you to previous CFTA members

Kyrouz Auditorium photo, City Hall © Chuck Choi

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