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Provincetown :: Saturday, August 30th 2014

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@Home, Provincetown

Home of the Cape Cod School of Art


January 10th, 2012

What odd weather we are having so far this “Winter”! On a recent warm and sunny day, while Marianne Faithful’s crooning voice was warbling “Strange Weather” in my ears, I pedaled my old boneshaker to one of the craziest parts of this crazy quilt of an old Cape Cod town. Down a street filled with odd-shaped houses, I went to have a cup of tea with Paul Kelly and Ed Dusek - partners in life, and in the firm of Manitou Architects.

These architectural partners have long been designing houses filled with references to the past and the future. One truly gets a sense of history and yet never feels that the space is anything but a personal statement about the times in which we live.

The house they now call home was built sometime in the 1880s. This interesting space has been for most of its life home to the Cape Cod School of Art, established by Charles Hawthorne. The school was the first Art colony in the country and has produced countless artists and marvelous works of Art. This space marks one of the shiniest aspects of culture in Provincetown. After changing hands many times, it was acquired by Jerome Crapeau and Louis Lima (featured in my article “A Gentlemanly Pursuit”) in 2005, and they did extensive renovations and landscaping to the property. During the renovations, it was discovered that many works of art -including several dozen of the infamous “mud heads,” a teaching form used by Henry Hensche, were discovered nailed to the outside as insulation. Unfortunately, this has happened many times in the history of art.

Some of the found “mud heads” are now in the private collections of both the present and former owners. It seems that when one of these venerable “old” Provincetown houses are sold they are often bought by someone who has lived in another old house here in town. Like the British aristocracy, the house never leaves the extended family of architectural aficionados. It is like a cabinet shuffle, which I am glad to say is one of the reasons why this town has kept so much of its history alive and not merely relegated to memory or a museum-like status. These architectural partners have long been designing houses filled with references to the past and the future. One truly gets a sense of history and yet never feels that the space is anything but a personal statement about the times in which we live. This is called integrity.

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Having developed all the outer buildings of the property for use as working and artistic spaces, they have also made each outdoor space into a small enclave of tranquility. Each inner courtyard space is filled with lush plantings and sculptures both contemporary and antique. The result is both visually thrilling and spiritually relaxing. Often as I tool around this town I find so many things changed not for the better, which is why my hat is in my hand to these two gents for having done something to keep the “alive” the Old Ptown we love alive. Which is how it should be @home, in Provincetown.







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