Island Arts Festival

by Catherine Macallister

From Friday October 4 to Sunday October 13, Nantucket will celebrate the ample artistic, music, and cultural talents that are part of our island during the 25th annual Nantucket Arts Festival. The Nantucket Arts Council produces the event every year and is the island’s leading arts advocacy organization since 1973.

Nantucket Arts Festival | Nantucket, MA

Festivities begin Friday, October 4 at 6:30pm in the United Methodist Church with local jazz group Trio à la Française performing before the opening reception of the festival’s themed visual arts exhibit, Re-Imagining the Real: Shifting Our World View. This exhibit displays work by artists who may have not had opportunities to show their work previously in island galleries and will be open to the public daily throughout the Nantucket Arts Festival.

A special exhibit of recent paintings by residents of Our Island Home who take part in art classes taught by island artist and teacher Kathleen A. Duncombe will be on display throughout the festival in the Greenhound Building on Washington Street, just one block off Main Street.

Other Arts Fest highlights include the Manhattan Short Film Festival at the Nantucket Atheneum that will screen selected short movies on Friday, October 4 from 7-9pm. Check out Nantucket’s own Shorts Festival showing two hours of short films made by local amateur and professional filmmakers on Saturday, October 12 in the Nantucket Dreamland at 4pm. Tickets can be purchased at nantucketdreamland.org.

Short concerts, talks, readings, dance and theatre performances, will be held every day during Arts Fest: check the Calendar in this publication for locations, dates, and times.

A festival favorite, The 28th Annual Organ Crawl, takes place on Saturday October 12, beginning at 9:15 am in St Mary’s Church at 3 Federal Street and ending at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 20 Fair Street. The “crawl” is five miniconcerts in five different churches, coordinated so that festivalgoers can attend one or all of the concerts. “It’s a really unique experience,” says Todd Richard, Operations Manager at the Nantucket Community Music Center, where the idea for the crawl first started. “It’s a tradition and part of the island’s fabric and music history,” says Richard. Nantucket is unique in its collection of organs: a rare Thomas Appleton organ in the United Methodist Church to the newly restored, Bigelow Organ at St. Mary’s. The five organs are regularly incorporated into services at each of the churches and the organists for the Organ Crawl are current or former organists at the churches. They will select songs from their repertoire and each will perform a short 25-minute concert.

Nantucket Arts Festival | Nantucket, MA

The final four days of the festival, October 10-13, the Artists Association of Nantucket is hosting its annual Wet Paint/Fresh Works Weekend. During the week leading up to this, artists will be painting en plein air around the island— giving the public the opportunity to watch them work at their easels.

Thursday, October 10 from 5 to 7 pm, AAN will hold a reception in one of the island’s oldest intact fish houses—the Mitchell-Andrews Fish House at 4 Old North Wharf—to open its three-day Collector’s Showcase. “This is a special chance to purchase a piece of your very own art from a remarkable collection, which will feature works a number of AAN artists including Donn Russell, Fritz Eichenberg, Linda Zola, David Lazarus and William Petit,” explained AAN’s artistic director Robert Frazier.

Sunday, October 13, the final day of the 2019 Nantucket Arts Festival, AAN holds it’s annual Wet Paint Auction and Benefit Dinner. Newly created works will be sold during a live auction in the Nantucket Yacht Club on South Beach Street. The preview, from 3 to 5 pm, is free and open to the public. The live auction begins at 5 pm. Tickets for the dinner at 6:30 pm are available at nantucketarts. org.

Nantucket Arts Festival | Nantucket, MA

The Nantucket Arts Festival offers chances to discover new crafts and art. The event is a collaboration between the Nantucket Arts Council and members of the Nantucket Cultural District.

The Nantucket Arts Council 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. For more on the Nantucket Arts Council, visit nantuckerartscouncil.org or call 508-325-8588. The Nantucket Cultural District embraces the heart of the island’s wealth of arts and culture through a range of public programs.