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Committee for the Arts

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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 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.  

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

Public Art

Year round, when City Hall and the library are open, make time to see examples of 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 Foundatio
n 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!

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 first Poet Laureate (1998).  Gloucester's former Poet Laureates:   Peter Todd served 2014-2015 and 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.  

Poems written by the Poet Laureate with other Gloucester poets are found here http://gloucesterpoetlaureate.org/ a website available thanks to John Ronan's unflagging devotion to poetry and Gloucester. 

There is 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.

Public Artworks in Need

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 be mailed to:

The Gloucester Fund (Committee for the Arts)
45 Middle Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Please be sure to make the check out to 'the Gloucester Fund' and to put "Committee for the Arts" on the memo line of the check.

Gloucester has two cultural districts officially designated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council:

Screenshot_060314_084543_PM.jpgScreenshot_060914_111029_AM.jpg    Downtown Harbortown Cultural District and Rocky Neck 

Committee For the Arts Past Events and News 

The Gloucester High School Civil War era coat given to Albert Bacheler is on its way through conservation and new mount and displayAs of March 2017 nearly $14,000 that was needed to repair and display the coat was raised. We are grateful for the donations and support from Awesome Gloucester, The Gathering, and MA SHRAB. It would not have happened without the wonderful media coverage it received in Good Morning GloucesterCape Ann BeaconBay State Banner, and the Gloucester Daily Times

Walker Hancock:
The City of Gloucester celebrated the life and work of Sculptor Walker Hancock in September 2017. The celebration was sponsored by the Gloucester Committee for the Arts and featured events in several venues, including The Cape Ann Museum, The Cape Ann Community Cinema, and Gloucester City Hall. Partners included Essex National Heritage Area and Cape Ann TV.
 Download press release 

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One can still 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! 

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, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Click for Google map record of Justin Desilva crosswalk locations

2013 March: Press Release Announcing $13,200 in new private donations for work beginning on the WPA-era Murals in Gloucester City Hall, Cape Ann Beacon 

April, 2012 GDT.jpg 
Photo taken April 6, 2012 shows an example of youth outreach via the Poet Laureate: 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 stage agemcy 
Massachusetts Cultural Counciland on behalf of the City of Gloucester, the Committee for the Arts, and the PTO. Ms. Collinson attended West Parish. 


Agendas are available prior to Committee meetings.

Minutes are available once approved by the CFTA.
Most recent Minutes | All Minutes


The Committee has up to 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, 2021
Haverkamp Robert 

  February 14, 2021

February 14, 2021 

February 14, 2022
McNiff Avery  
February 14, 2022

CFTA History
Thank you to previous CFTA members

--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 
2017 Poet Laureate application (digital format) or 2017 Poet Laureate application (PDF format)

Current Committee of the Arts Ordinance

2005 Policy Handbook Proposal

Committee for the Arts photos click here

Kyrouz Auditorium photo, City Hall, Gloucester, MA © Chuck Choi

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