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Arts on Nantucket

This is a curious little island.  It’s always swollen with excess population in the middle of the high season.  Many come here to take a deep breath and forget about life elsewhere. Where else in the world would you see men relax into island life by adopting a select fashion of whale-patterned pants in a rainbow of colors, or faded pink shorts –Nantucket Reds, they are called- or where women carry handbags made of baskets topped with ivory- the subject one year of an iconic New Yorker cartoon?

While whale patterns, pink pants, and Nantucket Lightship baskets are signature fashion pieces, they do not represent the work of all fashion designers on Nantucket.  There is a small population of those that dares to create, to express, and to explore in quite different directions. Not unlike the generations that lived here before us, these creatives are a minority during the high season.  But, during the shoulder and off-seasons, they easily make up one-third of the year-round residents.

As you watch a performance, consider how many people and how much time it took to present that experience.  The gallery exhibit that you visited before dinner is a combination of sweat, tears, and extreme focus, while having the ability to be swept up into that current-that zone-so many creatives speak of when they do their best work.  It took you fifteen minutes to view the exhibit; it took many of them six to nine months to create it.

I invite you to take a journey with me into the world of art and entertainment on Nantucket. Creativity, innovation, design, voice, and expression thrive here, surrounded as we are by natural beauty that inspires us in so many ways.  We will explore gallery exhibits and artists’ and craftsmen’s studios, go back-stage at theatre productions, and meet and listen to local musicians, writers, film-makers, and designers.  As you get to know them, I believe you will come to admire them as much as I do. Appreciation is great, but it does not ensure that the bounty of creativity you have found here will last. My hope is that you will want to continue to support those who have the courage to create on our “far-away island.”