Around Cape Ann: Celebrating artworks of all kinds

·7 min read

Jun. 23—Those looking for some creative inspiration will find it in abundance this weekend on the historic Rocky Neck Art Colony, which has several openings coming up. But the lines between the Gloucester and Rockport art associations often intertwine as the North Shore Arts Association holds a retrospective of a Rockport artist who was a longtime president of the Rockport Art Association and a fixture in local art circles.

Let's start with an inaugural exhibit of the Cove Gallery, at 37 Rocky Neck Ave. in Gloucester, with a show titled "Sense and Sensibility," which explores themes of women, language, family and home. Featured artists include Robin Colodzin, Pamela Courtleigh, Anne Gilson, Leslie Lyman, Mary Rhinelander and Dawn Southworth.

"These artists are a potent group of communicators. Their artist statements share a commonality, an embrace of contradiction: Calm/chaos, representation/abstraction, old/new, destruction/creation, love/loss. These committed creators actively transform, collect, blend, glue, hammer, burn, wrap, fold, bolt, sew, draw, print, collage and photograph, all in pursuit of a shared goal: Dialogue with the viewer. The gallery walls will speak, but what will they say, amongst themselves, and more importantly, to the viewer?" according to an exhibition statement.

Hours are from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. from Friday through Sunday. The artists will host two opening receptions, on Thursday, July 1, from 5 to 8 p.m., and again on Saturday, July 5, from 2 to 5 p.m. The show runs through July 25. For more information visit

New gallery on Rocky Neck

FLOAT gallery, a new venture of The Rocky Neck Art Colony, has opened this summer on Madfish Wharf. This venture is a joint initiative of the art colony and community sponsors, which was created to provide low-cost exhibit space for Rocky Neck's many members. In addition to a small fee, the artists will provide for the gallery sitting and maintain the space during open hours. Hours are noon to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Shows and artists change each month. The featured artists in June are: Carmela Martin, Danette English, Lisa Angelini-Adams, Laurinda Butcher, Lesley Davison and Evan Kasle. FLOAT Gallery is at 77 Rocky Neck Ave. in Gloucester.

North Shore Arts Association this weekend

The North Shore Arts Association, whose galleries overlook Gloucester's inner harbor, opens its second juried Artist Members show and a Jim Murphy Solo Show, in addition to a retrospective of Michael Stoffa.

The public is invited to a free reception at the galleries, at 11 Pirates Lane, to celebrate the opening of these three new shows on Sunday, June 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. The association is open from Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, visit: www.nsarts.og.

Michael Stoffa retrospective

A retrospective of works by Michael Stoffa (1923-2001) will be exhibited from June 27 to July 31 at the North Shore Arts Association, with a free public opening reception on Sunday, June 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. An award-winning plein air artist, Stoffa had a gallery in downtown Rockport for decades, and was active in many arts organizations.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Stoffa came to this country at the age of 7.

"Motivated by a high school scholarship, he attended Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, the Pennsylvania Academy and the Art Students League. He was naturally drawn to teaching and became a popular teacher. He held classes and demonstrations in New Jersey for many years, both privately and at Union College. Michael was inspired by life experiences, spiritual life, and nature," according to a bio.

In 1964, he opened the Michael Stoffa Gallery in Rockport and became an active member of the art and business community. In 1980 he married artist Dorothy Ramsey, after which they became a familiar part of local streetscapes because they could be seen painting along the shores of Cape Ann. The gallery remained open a decade after his death, not closing its doors until 2011.

After serving as vice-president, Stoffa served as a two-term president of the Rockport Art Association during the 1980s, a time when the art organization formed a new collaboration and opened its galleries to the Rockport Chamber Music Festival concerts. Stoffa and Ramsey also appeared on the television news magazine, Chronicle, and on the Great Country Inns segment on The Learning Channel, according to the bio.

In 1997, Stoffa fulfilled a dream to travel to Slovakia to prepare for the writing of his autobiography, a book titled "Michael Stoffa: Artist and Storyteller," which was published in 1999, with 40 color plates of his paintings. Not long after, it was presented at his art exhibition at the University Club in Washington, D.C., where a reception was followed by a Slovakian ambassador's dinner in his honor. As a gift, he presented the embassy with the book and one of his paintings, which featured an ancient hilltop Slovak castle, Krasna Horka.

Stoffa's memberships included: Rockport Art Association, North Shore Arts Association, Cape Cod Art Association, International Society of Marine Painters, and the Salmagundi Club. His work is currently represented by Folly Cove Fine Art, Rockport.

Solo show: Judy Robinson-Cox

Rockport Art Association, at 12 Main St., presents a solo show of work by award-winning photographer and mixed-media artist, Judy Robinson-Cox, from June 26 to July 25. Robinson-Cox has exhibited her photography and mixed-media pieces on Cape Ann for more than 15 years. She is known for her macro photographs of miniature figures, but this show features a type of photography she calls "mixed media photo montages." She developed this technique because she wanted to introduce physical texture to double exposures that she was creating, according to a press release. She usually combines an iconic Cape Ann object, such as a boat or building, with a close-up view of the surrounding area or location.

"I then collage the image onto a wood substrate and add more layers, textures and other elements, creating a one-of-a-kind mixed media piece," said Robinson-Cox in an artist statement.

For more information, visit:

Final shows of 'Tiny Beautiful Things'

There are four shows remaining of the Gloucester Stage Production of "Tiny Beautiful Things," a play based on a memoir of a best-selling author. The Thursday show already sold out.

The show goes on in Rockport in a collaboration that brings the play to life on an outdoor stage in a garden-type setting at Windhover Center for Performing Arts, at 257R Granite St., Rockport. The venue also features refreshments, including beer and wine.

"As if written for this moment in time, 'Tiny Beautiful Things' is a celebration of the simple beauty of being human, and explores Cheryl Strayed's journey as the unpaid, anonymous advice columnist Dear Sugar. Over the years, thousands of people turned to Sugar for words of wisdom, compassion, and hope. At first unsure of herself, Sugar finds a way to weave her own life experiences full of laughter and hope together with the deep yearning and heart-rending questions from her readers," according to a synopsis.

The play premiered at The Public Theater in New York City with a sold-out run starring Nia Vardalos as Sugar. The Gloucester Stage show, directed by Lyndsay Allyn Cox, runs through June 27. The cast features Celeste Oliva as Sugar, along with Kelly Chick, Nael Nacer and Adrian Peguero.

Performances through Saturday are at 7:30 p.m., along with afternoon shows at 3:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. For tickets and information, visit or call 978-281-4433.

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706, or, at least two weeks in advance.

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