Chilmark Potluck Jams kept Islanders entertained during the winter months. Ray Ewing

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Martha’s Vineyard, it is fair to say, could also be dubbed Artful Island. Creativity is everywhere and encompasses every season, from the short days and long nights of winter to the hustle and bustle of summer. Year-rounders, seasonal residents, and visitors brought here from the many arts organizations who call this place home ensure that the energy of creativity continues to delight, inspire and educate all year long.

This year the Gazette added a new series to its summer mix called In the Studio. Each week a reporter and photographer would watch a work being created, from music to pottery, painting to sculpture, from Jennifer Joanou to Jack Yuen, Candy Shweder to Abe Pieciak.

Bill Clinton returned this summer, this time as an author of the novel The President Is Missing, written with James Patterson. The Yard continued to expand its programming from summer to winter, and the Mavericks had everyone dancing in the aisles at the Performing Arts Center thanks to the Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series, which also brought the legendary Mavis Staples to our shores, among many other acts.

Spike Lee filmed episodes of She’s Gotta Have It, and Scott Frank told the story of how he came up with the name for his Emmy-award winning series Godless while driving through Chilmark listening to MVY Radio.

The Martha's Vineyard Film Festival opened its March festival with Chappaquiddick, the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival brought Barry Jenkins to the Island, and the Martha's Vineyard Film Society brought the world to the Vineyard again with its International Film Festival held each September.

The Granary Gallery acquired Thomas Hart Benton’s 1926 train painting Going West, Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. told a sold-out crowd at the Whaling Church that the future for independent journalism is bright despite upheaval in the industry, and the Martha's Vineyard Playhouse premiered The Room Where I Was Held by David Zax.

The regional high school’s production of West Side Story filled the performing arts center to overflowing for an entire weekend of shows, and the Minnesingers celebrated their 50th anniversary.

Missis Biskis rocked outdoor stages all over the Island, including the second annual Lady Fest on Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs. Sean McMahon was also no stranger to venues, especially The Ritz, where every Sunday night he took up residence with his Dirty Gospel set lists, now called Holy Rock and Roll Revival. The future of Island music also hit the Ritz as a group of local 14-year olds known as Slammy B and the Electric Snakes debuted a set list of hard rock and roll, proving that Jimi Hendricks never goes out of style.

It was a very artful year.


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