Photos and Stories of All Kinds of Families
“Love Makes a Family,” an exhibition of photographs of LGBTQ families on view at the Provincetown United Methodist Church (20 Shank Painter Road) from Oct. 16 through 27, is part of a project that has been more than three decades in the making.
The show is produced by the nonprofit Family Diversity Projects, which creates photo exhibitions and books aimed at “helping eliminate prejudice, stereotyping, bullying, and harassment of people who are discriminated against due to sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, national origin, religion, and disabilities of all kinds,” according to the organization’s website. The exhibitions travel to schools, libraries, museums, community centers, and other public venues around the country and are always presented free.
Journalist and author Peggy Gillespie, who founded the project in 1993 with the early childhood educator and photographer Gigi Kaeser, says their work began after Gillespie had written a story for the Boston Globe about multiracial families. “I met Gigi when she was my kid’s preschool teacher, and we began taking photos of local multiracial families in the Boston area,” says Gillespie. Those photos became the exhibition “Of Many Colors: Portraits of Multiracial Families,” which will also be on display at the church from Nov. 6 through 17.
Gillespie says that the “Love Makes a Family” project began about a year after that initial exhibition. “We approached elementary schools about doing a presentation about LGBT families,” she says. “But the superintendent said it wasn’t ‘appropriate.’ It ended up causing one of the biggest controversies in the school district. After we protested the decision, they finally saw that a photo of two women barbecuing in a back yard wasn’t exactly homoerotic.” The two exhibitions traveled nationwide for several years, and both were eventually published in book form.
The project has deep ties to Provincetown and the Outer Cape, says Gillespie. “I spent many summers in P’town with my late husband [artist Gregory Gillespie], and we met and photographed many families during Family Week every year.”
For Gillespie, the projects are more relevant than ever. “I’m deeply saddened by recent steps that have been taken to harm LGBTQ young people and their families, not to mention the banning of ‘critical race theory’ to prevent issues about race and racism from being taught in schools,” she says. “Our hope is that when the exhibitions go up, they will open hearts and minds, especially among people who don’t understand that these people and families are just like everyone else. It’s a way of meeting and understanding people for who they are.”
The exhibitions are on view from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. See familydiversityprojects.org for more information.
Open Studios at Edgewood Farm
Every fall and winter, Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill opens its studios at Edgewood Farm (3 Edgewood Way) for community members to view new work by its seasonal cohort of resident artists. The first studio walkthrough this season takes place on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Recently completed and in-process work by current artist residents Phoebe Jackson Gilman, Patte Ormsby, and Karen Schaffel will be on display. Jackson Gilman is based in Lancaster, Pa. and describes her urban and rural landscapes as depicting “the in-between spaces, the off-center compositions, and the way both the Sun and technology move through them.”
A resident of Fredericksburg, Va., Ormsby says she has been visiting and painting in Wellfleet for “most of my life” and derives inspiration for her mixed-media abstract compositions — made from spray paint, oil pigment, and gold leaf — from the “pristine landscapes” of the Outer Cape. In addition to working at Edgewood Farm, she has exhibited locally at AMZehnder Gallery in Wellfleet.
Schaffel, who comes to Castle Hill from New York’s Hudson Valley, has been creating mixed-media abstract landscapes on the Outer Cape since the 1980s, when she would visit her brother, who was an oyster farmer. Her work layers paint, paper, and repurposed materials to create landscapes that “hover between representation and abstraction,” according to an artist statement on her website.
Schaffel perhaps speaks for all three artists when she describes how her time at Castle Hill has informed her practice. “For the first time, I will have dedicated studio space and allocated time to focus on creating work while immersed in the environment,” she says. “Just as important is the open, accepting, and safe atmosphere that permeates life here. Not only does this nourish my work while here, but I can carry it home with me into my studio.”
The studio walkthrough is free, and refreshments will be served. See castlehill.org for more information.
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour Comes to Town
With 146 concert dates spanning five continents, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has swept the world off its feet. Swift has appeared live before millions of fans, and thanks to the far-reaching effects of social media, many more who weren’t able to score tickets have still been able to experience highlights of the show: the sequined costumes, the outlandish props and sets, the perfectly timed marriage proposals during the song “Love Story” as Swift sings “He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring.” The dancers hold billowing pastel tapestries when Swift performs songs from Lover. And, of course, there’s Swift herself, eternally smiling onstage in the sun and rain.
The tour encompasses all of Swift’s musical and artistic “eras,” from her first album, 2006’s Taylor Swift, to her most recent, Midnights, released in 2022. At each show, Swift surprises the audience with one or two acoustic songs that aren’t on the set list. Many in the crowd grew up with her — the tour isn’t just the spectacle of a superstar acting the part, but a sort of family reunion.
On Oct. 13, Swift will be widening the Eras Tour era even further with the release of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, an independently produced documentary concert film capturing the first of three shows in Los Angeles in August 2023. Like the live tour experience, the film promises viewers a glimpse into Swift’s world and her massive influence on the contemporary pop culture landscape. And just like on the live tour, “Swifties” at movie theaters will undoubtedly dress up in costumes, wear and trade friendship bracelets (inspired by a lyric in Midnights) in the aisles, and celebrate their unified delight.
After initial plans for a release limited to North America, the film opens at theaters worldwide on Friday, Oct. 13, including Waters Edge Cinema (237 Commercial St., Provincetown) and Wellfleet Cinemas (51 Route 6). Adult tickets are $19.89 each, a nod to Swift’s 1989 album, and children’s tickets are $13.13 — like the opening date, a reference to Swift’s lucky number. See tstheerastourfilm.com for showtimes. (Note: Due to our busy production schedule, the Independent was unable to reach out to Taylor for comment.) —Dorothea Samaha
Female Filmmakers, Women’s Stories
Among the women whose stories will be told at the Provincetown Film Society’s four-day celebration of Women’s Week this year are legendary folk singer Joan Baez, a Native American hustler, and an estranged Iranian-American mother and daughter.
The 15 movies made by or about women, which screen from Oct. 12 to Oct. 15 at Waters Edge Cinema (237 Commercial St., Provincetown), were chosen to offer viewers a chance to see a wide variety of lives through a female lens, which executive director Anne Hubbell says “doesn’t happen often enough.”
The program includes feature-length narrative films, short films, and documentaries. Some will include post-screening Q&A sessions — including the meta moment when director Andrea Meyerson will give a talk following the Oct. 12 screening of her film Clambake, which recounts 30 years of Provincetown’s Women’s Week.
Oscar-winning producer Diane Becker (Navalny) will lead a Q&A after the Oct. 14 screening of King Coal, about an Appalachian coal miner’s daughter. The series also includes talks by two artists in residence: writer-director Alice Wu will discuss her teen love story The Half of It on Oct. 13, and Sayeeda Moreno presents her short films Sin Salida, Bina and White on Oct. 14. (Hubbell says that Moreno will also likely be researching a new film set in Provincetown after recently spending time in a dune shack.)
Other highlights include films that tell the stories of long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad and the Indigo Girls and the documentary In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction.
Hubbell describes the Women’s Week series as a building block that she hopes will expand to a future event with more artists and members of the film industry. “I think there’s a great opportunity to lean into the history of the arts colony and strong roles for women in Provincetown to create something like that,” she says.
For details, including ticket information and a full event and screening schedule, see provincetownfilm.org. —Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll