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Sculptural Exhibition Brings Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience to Residents of Gloucester (MA)

By Kathy Amoroso

America’s Sculptural Heritage – “Anchored in Gloucester” is an exhibition of American figurative sculpture from the period 1860 through 1960 housed in the auditorium of Gloucester’s historic City Hall. The show, envisioned by Mayor Bruce Tobey as the grand finale to Gloucester’s 375th anniversary celebrations, features over one hundred pieces by twenty-eight of the nation’s leading sculptors.

Mayor Tobey’s leadership in bringing the exhibit to Gloucester garnered him a 1999 City Livability Award, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Waste Management. The award was announced in New Orleans on June 12 at the 67th Annual Conference of Mayors.

The City Livability Awards were announced and presented at the Conference of Mayors’ Annual Luncheon by Mr. Rod Proto, President and Chief Operating Officer of Waste Management, Inc., the world’s largest provider of comprehensive waste services. Waste Management’s support makes the City Livability Awards Program possible.

City Livability Awards recognize and honor mayors for exemplary leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities. The winning cities were determined by an independent panel of judges, selected by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Gloucester exhibit is of both local and national artistic significance – it has reawakened interest in figurative sculpture while embodying and renewing the city’s commitment to its long-standing legacy as a steward of the arts. It has given the people of the community a unique opportunity to celebrate both art and the rebirth of a previously underutilized public space. In addition, it has afforded a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience to the schoolchildren of Gloucester and the neighboring cities and towns.

All profits from the show will fund an endowment that will provide an arts scholarship, promote the conservation of existing local sculpture and the creation of new public art, and assist in the preservation of City Hall, a Victorian architectural treasure.

“This project brought something often regarded as elitist into a public realm where everyone gets a chance to be a part of it,” remarked one City Livability judge. “Mayor Tobey is to be commended for both embracing this exhibit and working to integrate it into the curriculum at the Gloucester Public Schools.”

“The exhibition is a major educational asset not only to Gloucester, but all of Essex County,” Mayor Tobey said in accepting his award. “Since the show has opened, interest in performing and displaying all types of art is at a new peak. This show reestablished Gloucester City Hall as a cultural center in the tradition most commonly seen in Europe, and we are delighted that The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Waste Management have seen fit to recognize and honor our efforts.”

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