Rockport’s Motif No.1 Day on May 16 Featured in Gloucester Times Today

ROCKPORT ‘ It may not rise to the level of Michelangelo’s frescoes at the Sistine Chapel, but there will be a lot of art to appreciate at this year’s Motif No. 1 Day.

Beginning with a kick-off event Friday evening, and continuing day-long Saturday, Rockport will honor its artist colony roots with separate sections of downtown devoted to the full spectrum of the arts.

Visitors to the Brenner Room in Rockport Public Library can attend The Red Shed Film Festival to watch documentaries, short films and a narrative film produced about Cape Ann and by local residents.

A tent on School Street should attract wordsmiths with a poetry slam, poetry readings from local artists, and a writing tutorial.

The streets around T-Wharf will come alive with music, art, dance and other disciplines.

‘This is a turning point because we are finally starting to realize the potential of Motif No. 1 as an arts festival,’ said Sarah Kelly, director of Rockport Exchange.

The 65th annual Motif No. 1 Day (M1D) festival is expected to be bigger and better than previous years. The festival is named after Rockport’s famous fishing shack, dubbed Motif No. 1, which has been the subject of countless paintings and photographs over the past hundred years.

The event was organized by the all-volunteer Rockport Exchange, formerly Rockport Festivals, which became a nonprofit organization in December. About eight core volunteers have spearhead the event.

‘We’ve never created venues for each component (before),’ Kelly said.

Motif No. 1 Day will also be boosted because the Rockport Art Association and Shalin Liu Performance Center will be working in coordination to host their own events Saturday. Local galleries have also teamed together to create a ‘gallery walk’ to showcase the contemporary art throughout town, according to Kelly.

‘We want the community to feel like it’s their festival and outside visitors to also feel part of the arts,’ Kelly said.

The kickoff begins Friday at the Fish Shack in Dock Square from 5 to 8 p.m. with a raw bar. The Rockport Art Association’s first summer show opens with a public reception later that night from 6 to 8.

On Saturday, the M1D 5K begins at 9 a.m. The art festivities will begin in the morning and continue into the evening.

This year’s headlining event is a show opening at the I art colony gallery featuring 15 emerging artists from across the United States, re-imagining Motif No. 1 across several mediums. There will be paintings, photographs, video and sculpture.

For Rockport Exchange volunteer Mary Zivkovic, a festival favorite is The Red Shed Film Festival. There will be short films, documentaries, narrative film and other productions. This year The Red Shed Film Festival will go from 1 to 9 p.m. at the library. The film festival is organized by Henry Cooper. The venue has been changed because of its popularity last year.

‘Last year the crowd was overflowing from the tent and some were peeking from the back,’ Zivkovic said.

Musical acts include the Mari Martin Band, Glass Onion and Pesky J. Nixon playing in Dock Square, with styles ranging from Beatles covers to Americana.