Was everything better way back when? In the news pages of this end-of-year issue, we asked reporters to look closely at the towns they cover, delving into the sources of nostalgia that, whether seemingly forgotten or told and retold, have shaped our ideas about this special place in the world.
For these pages, we asked artists how they see it. Their work looks back on landscapes, particular places, town characters, and historical moments — on society’s norms and on their own interiors. Some of their work increases our longing, some provides relief, all of it awakens us to the present.
We thank the 17 artists and photographers who have contributed to this special edition, and with them we offer all our readers best wishes for a year full of looking back and forward. —The editors.
The Shacks | Gouache, watercolor, graphite on paper
Sofia Cabanas is a multidisciplinary artist who has spent the past four years working and making art in Provincetown. She is drawn to fine detail and experimentation across mediums. The dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore hold a special place in her heart. More at @gazpacho_papi.
Offerings II | Oil and mixed media with 23k gold leaf on panel
Tabitha Vevers spent her earliest years in Provincetown and has seen the town change enormously over the decades and at an increasing velocity, but she believes there are touchstones that feel timeless: the breakwater, luck rocks along the beach. In these, she believes, the past is present. Vevers’s recent paintings are meditations on the environment and are part of her search for glimmers of hope in the midst of change. Her work has been shown at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, Austria, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, S.C. Her paintings are on view at the Provincetown Arts Society’s Mary Heaton Vorse House though mid-January. More at tabithavevers.com.
Lost | Collage
Originally from Wales, Siân Robertson has lived on the Outer Cape for nearly 25 years. She is a self-taught artist, best known for her work using intricately cut and layered maps. She also works in collage, altered books, and assemblage. Robertson has exhibited in solo and group shows in galleries and art institutions across Cape Cod and in Boston. In May 2024 she will be an artist in residence at Twenty Summers, where she will create her first site-specific installation in the Hawthorne Barn in Provincetown. More at sianrobertsonart.com.
Before After | Oil on 18th-century lumber
Megan Hinton is a painter known for reconfiguring genres of landscape, figurative, and object painting. Her art utilizes appropriation from painting’s history along with found and discarded material to investigate line, color, shape, surface, and scale. This fusion of subject and formalism extends to her work in collage, sculpture, installation, photography, and performance. Hinton holds an M.F.A. in interdisciplinary arts from Mills College, where she won the Hung Lui Painting Prize. She has received residency fellowships from Twenty Summers in Provincetown and The Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium. She is the recent recipient of the Alice C. Cole ’42 Merit Grant from Wellesley College. Hinton is also an art educator, curator, and writer. More at meganhinton.com.
I Depart as Air | Photograph
Photographer Susan Mikula shoots exclusively with instant film in a variety of cameras, many of them vintage Polaroids, using past-expiration Polaroid film. Working only with available light and without cropping or image manipulation, Mikula strips away detail and softens edges to better reveal the underlying and essential form and feeling of her subjects. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, and Northampton as well as in Provincetown. It is in private collections in the U.S. and Europe and in the permanent collection of the U.S. Embassy in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, through the Dept. of State’s Art in Embassies program. More at susanmikula.com.
We Stare at the Ocean | Mixed media
Sara Moran is an art therapist, artist, yoga teacher, and professor in Lesley University’s graduate expressive therapies program. Her illustration for this issue invites nostalgia into the creation process: it combines a drawing of Nauset Beach she made when she was four years old with a photograph she took in 2018. Moran believes nostalgia adds texture to life experiences — that it can help people stay connected to the emotions of a past moment in time. She is interested in how it can be used to move forward into the present and future with compassion. Moran lives in Wellfleet. More at capecodarttherapy.com.
Bouquet | Mixed media on Yupo paper
Paul Rizzo is a painter and sketchbook-filler who lives and works in Provincetown. He works with and from portraiture, abstraction, houses, and texts. His work touches on nostalgia both for times he has not actually lived through and the times he lives in now. Rizzo is interested in the past as portrayed by old Hollywood and in the 1970s, particularly with gay pornography from that era. A process painter, he loves getting lost in documentation and the making of art. More at fourelevengallery.com.
Postcards From Long Point Village | Illustration
Award-winning cartoonist, super-modest guy, and all-around mensch A. Crock is the locally sourced, organic, grass-fed, irony-rich alter ego of artist Adam M. Graham, who has lived and worked in Provincetown since 1999. From the founding of the Provincetown Independent in 2019, heaping portions of his “Steamers” have been served to the wit-starved from the Crock. In this issue, he invents a series of postcards from A. Finneas Crock, the grandfather of A. Crock, who was an 1850s visitor to the former village at Long Point.
Nostalgia Is a Lure With Many Hooks | Collage
Mark Adams is a coastal scientist, a sketcher and public artist, and extremely lucky in his friends, and he lives with admiration for local journalism, activists, and cooks. He believes nostalgia without regret is an important way to reaffirm what and why we love. His overriding concerns are about how climate and inequity will displace millions of people in our lifetimes, all of them deserving of safety, a roof under which meals are served with love, and their own nostalgia. He was the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s Artist of the Year in 2023.
Spring | Photograph
Scott Crivellaro is a photographer and woodworker living in Sandwich. The Outer Cape’s nature, especially its wildlife and surf, are a major focus of his work. His images have been featured in publications including Outdoor Photographer, Audubon, Eastern Surf Magazine, Cape Cod Magazine, the Boston Globe, and the National Enquirer. He has done corporate work for Bern Helmets, Patagonia, and Ripcurl, among other companies. More at @scottcriv.
Barbara Rushmore in Heaven | Pen and ink
Mary DeAngelis has been living in Provincetown observing its characters and loving everything about it for 40 years. Her past in fashion design influences her people-watching practice and her approach to caricature. She is a frequent contributor to the Provincetown Independent.
Nostalgia | Illustration
Daniel Dejean is an avid observer of nature, and his drawings often capture people’s encounters with it as well as with one another’s foibles. The characters in his slightly subversive drawings are often drawn as animals. His weekly “Vignette” series in the Provincetown Independent chronicles life on Outer Cape Cod, where Dejean is a gardener, a cook, a runner, and a painter who works in acrylics. He grew up in the small town of Preignac in Bordeaux, France, later lived in Toulouse, and now lives in Wellfleet. More @daniel_dejean.
American Sapphic | Photograph
Joe Navas is a fine art photographer focusing on portraiture as a form of storytelling. His American Sapphic captures a relationship in a modern-day version of the American pioneer spirit. In it, Brittany Rolfs and Jamie Demetri exist beyond historical laws of love and signal that we are entering a time without restrictive boundaries of sexuality and gender, allowing them to simply be something beautiful. Navas has taught workshops at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and been an adjunct professor at Cape Cod Community College. He lives in Eastham, where he owns Organic Photography with his wife, Kristen. More at joenavasphoto.com.
Cracked Mirror | Oil on canvas
Abraham Storer is a landscape painter whose depictions of the land and objects on it are a means of exploring interior personal states, both psychological and spiritual. His work reflects his connection to the Cape and to diverse places around the world where he has lived, including Israel, Poland, and New York. He currently lives in Wellfleet and is a frequent contributor to the Provincetown Independent. Storer has an M.F.A. from Boston University and a B.A. from Brandeis University and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has shown work locally, nationally, and abroad. Honors include a Fulbright Fellowship to Israel and a residency through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council on Governor’s Island in New York Harbor. More at abrahamstorer.com.
New Beach | Oil on panel
Pete Hocking is a painter and writer whose work is concerned with nature, place, poetics, and identity. Hocking fell in love with the Cape Cod landscape when he was young, and it’s been at the center of his spiritual life ever since. Walking is a fundamental part of his painting practice; on hikes he encounters the landscape’s elemental forces and brings them back to his studio. Hocking lives in Truro and in Providence, R.I., where he taught at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1997 until this year. He is a founding board member of the Provincetown Commons, an economic development center for the creative economy. He is represented by Four Eleven Gallery in Provincetown. More at fourelevengallery.com.
Old News | Watercolor
Traci Harmon-Hay received her B.F.A. in illustration and painting from the Maryland Institute of Art and studied with Fritz Briggs of the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore. That’s where she cofounded Studio Six, an illustration co-op, and her clients included the Baltimore Sun, Yankee Publishing, and Campbell’s. She moved to the Outer Cape to focus on visual art, opened the Harmon Gallery in Wellfleet in 2000, and exhibited there alongside other artists until it closed in 2021. She has also shown her work at the Left Bank Gallery, Bromfield Gallery, Fountain Street Gallery, When Studio, and Farm Projects. She currently is represented by Carver Hill Gallery in Camden, Maine. She lives in Wellfleet with her husband and two daughters.
Out to Dry | Acrylic on canvas
Chris Kelly is a self-taught painter and graphic designer. His paintings depict images of places and moments from life on Outer Cape Cod, pared down to essential, simple, yet instantly recognizable forms. His abstract works, which include paintings, sculptures, and silkscreen prints, draw on his graphic design sensibilities, playing with familiar and visual elements that seem both local and universal. He has shown on Cape Cod and abroad and is a member of the deCordova Corporate Art lending program as well as a member of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. He launched Alias Gallery in Orleans last year and is also the creative director at the Provincetown Independent.