The Newburyport Arts & Culture Shanty Program starts Saturday, June 15. This unique cultural experience will run through early October, housing rotating crews of artists and craftspeople in five saltboxes, said John Moynihan, executive director of the Firehouse Center for the Arts.
Organizers envision the shanties as a working artists’ colony, only the creators go home at day’s end. The area by Oldies Marketplace is being considered for a temporary location. Ultimately, the spot selected will be an underused downtown waterfront location.
The Firehouse leads the nonprofit arm of the shanty program, which also includes town and business representatives. This program will draw on the city’s rich maritime heritage. It should…..“remind people of what we were, where we came from and what we have become,” Moynihan said.
Organizers will host a Community Build Day on Saturday, June 8, seeking local hands to put the final touches on the shacks, including painting trim and planting flowers.
Artists and craftspeople can rent the shanties for a minimum of one week, giving them a place to work on, showcase and sell their art. The average cost per shanty will be $125 a week.
The program is modeled on the Hyannis HyArts Artist Shanties, Moynihan said.
Newburyport Arts & Culture Shanty Program got off the ground with $30,000 awarded by the Essex County Community Foundation. The grant money came from the Barr Foundation in Boston, funding partnerships between local businesses, municipalities and nonprofits. Applicants must be a resident of or headquartered in Essex County. All pieces shown must be original, handmade or handcrafted.