In high school, it’s easy to lose sight of what isn’t directly before your eyes. Between keeping up with classes, extracurriculars, jobs, and attempting to fit sleep into their schedule, few students have time to appreciate what their hometown has to offer.
This summer, I became an intern at the Marblehead Current newspaper. Traveling around town, talking to people, attending events, and covering arts and culture has taught me more about the town I’ve lived in for sixteen years than I ever thought possible. Learning that the Marblehead Arts scene is much more than the Festival of Arts in July and the school musical has opened my eyes to a world that has always existed around me, that I can only hope more people my age will find ways to engage with and enjoy.
One of my first assignments was to cover a gallery at the Marblehead Arts Association,
located in the Hooper Mansion. After Googling the location of this mansion (spoiler: it’s on Hooper Street), I drove down to view their members’ exhibit. Though I was unsure of exactly what I was going to find, I went in prepared for the usual sailboats and lighthouses. While the traditional Marblehead aesthetic was certainly represented, local motifs took on a new life in a diverse variety of forms. Artists experimented with mediums ranging from printmaking to photography to depict themes of nature and life in ways that I wouldn’t have expected to find just down the street.
I’ve since discovered that the MAA is much more than a gallery for displaying art, but a
community organization as well. They organize solo shows for their members, who range in age
from senior Marbleheaders to high school students. The Hooper Mansion’s basement ‘tavern’
and garden are open spaces available for public use.
There are so many ways to interact with art in this town, and taking a trip down to a free exhibition is a great way to start.
Since then, I’ve covered several performances at Marblehead Little Theatre and the Me & Thee Coffeehouse. In a town as old and established as ours, it’s easy to take our cultural scene for granted. In fact, the trends of people enjoying these types of performing arts are reflected in what kind of entertainment is offered.
Though most of our local content isn’t directed at younger audiences, being in tune with what kind of entertainment is available is worth it.
Trying new things around town has convinced me that despite the urge to think constantly about my next steps in life, I should soak up all that Marblehead has to offer. Anyone my age will have their head filled with college visits, applications, and potential new homes all over the world. For some, they may want to stay close to home. For others, they may count the days before they can get away.
Whether you love it or hate it, we live in an artsy town. My advice is to take a look. You might find something nice to remember.