Dozens of arts and cultural groups and hundreds of individual artists, will exhibit their “Imagination at Sea” from Saturday, September 30 through Sunday, October 8 during Nantucket Arts Festival 2017. Events include an art exhibit featuring more than 100 professional and amateur artists; concerts of classical, folk, and popular music; plays; lectures and readings; demonstrations of culinary arts; and new video shorts by and about Nantucketers. Many events are free, some require tickets, and donations will be accepted at all.
Most festival activities take place in and around the Nantucket Cultural District, designated by the state of Massachusetts in January 2016 as an area notable for its concentration of arts and cultural activity.
Now in its 23rd year, Nantucket Arts Festival is produced by Nantucket Arts Council (NAC), the island’s leading arts advocacy organization, in conjunction with member organizations of the cultural district. Nantucket United Methodist Church at 2 Center Street (just off Main) is festival headquarters for 2017 and the site of signature festival events.
The Festival opens with a concert by North Star Jazz on Saturday, September 30 at 4 pm in United Methodist Church, 2 Centre Street. This outstanding group of musicians and educators is known in performance venues throughout New England and for their stirring instrumentals and vocals ranging from the American Songbook to contemporary jazz.
Immediately following the concert will be an opening reception in the church for the Nantucket Arts Council art exhibit showcasing amateur and professional artists’ work not typically seen in the island’s galleries. The exhibit will be open daily
Films are featured in the Manhattan Short Film Festival in the Great Hall at Nantucket Atheneum on October 1 and 6, and on October 7, the Nantucket Shorts Festival will feature two hours of short video films made by local amateur and professional filmmakers in the Dreamland Theatre.
Familiar and rarely heard classical music of the baroque era will be performed by professional local and visiting musicians on Wednesday, October 4 at twilight in the atmospheric and historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Built in 1904, the church features Tiffany Studios stained glass windows considered by many art historians to be among the best art glass ever created.
Other festival highlights include a reading by Nantucket poets on Sunday, October 1, at 4 pm in the Methodist Church. Local musicians will be featured in five Petite Concerts in the Methodist Church sanctuary weekdays at noon during the Arts Festival. Check the calendar of events in this publication and on Nantucket.net for more events and details.
During the final weekend of Nantucket Arts Festival 2017—October 7 and 8— featured events include the popular Nantucket Music Center Organ Crawl. During this Saturday morning event, five historic organs will be played in short concerts, one after the other, starting at 9:15 am in St. Mary’s Church, First Congregational Church, the Unitarian Church, St. Paul’s, and the United Methodist Church. Performances are timed so that listeners can travel from church to church in succession, but don’t be late or you may miss one of the performances.
Also during the weekend of October 7 and 8, the Artists Association of Nantucket will host their annual Wet Paint Auction and Benefit Dinner, featuring fresh works created by AAN artists. For details and tickets to the dinner, visit nantucketarts. org.
The Nantucket Arts Festival is organized by the Nantucket Arts Council (NAC). Founded in 1973, NAC is a non-profit organization that supports and encourages a collaborative community of the visual, performing and literary arts through education, grants, scholarships and events. NAC recognizes and supports artists on Nantucket; stages signature annual events such as the Arts Fest and Downtown Celebrity Concerts; and provides grants and programming to ensure that Nantucket’s children are afforded the opportunity to get up close and personal with performers and artists by attending productions that might otherwise be unattainable to them. NAC encourages and collaborates with many organizations and individuals to produce arts and cultural events on Nantucket. For more on Nantucket Arts Council, visit nantucketartscouncil.org or call 508-325-8588.