Rocky Neck – America’s Oldest Working Art Colony

Welcome to Rocky Neck!
Rocky Neck harbor

Just off route 127 in the city of Gloucester, Massachusetts is Rocky Neck, America’s oldest working art colony. While “The Perfect Storm” put Gloucester on the map in recent years, this part of Gloucester’s heritage and current dynamic is something that more people need to experience.

Walking through galleries, experiencing different mediums and talking to the artists was food for the soul. We saw large marine landscapes with infinite detail at the John Nesta Gallery. Farther on Kathleen Archer’s photography captured misty scenes that portrayed the North Shore of Boston with mystery and beauty. A collection called “Choices” showed photographs of women, each draped turban style in cloth that was significant to them so that only their faces showed.

The Goetemann Gallery, home to the art work of Judith Goetemann is a gallery you could stay in for hours. Persian carpets cover the wooden floor and beautiful silk and batik line the walls in frames and on screens. Judith captures her artistic response to Gloucester with these words*:

“Through the eye of a needle one can see all the world that is relevant. Such is the case with Gloucester, MA, for me. It is my focus and my home. Its gardens, shoreline and extraordinary light are dazzling and exciting.”

Parking is free and an easy walk up the street brings you to the galleries. You can happily wander from gallery to gallery without a guide or decide to be more purposeful and use pamphlets that take you on a walking tour.

In a world where many claw their way to the top of the corporate ladder and greed is rewarded, we need more Rocky Necks and artists to fill them. Places that take us away from reality and inspire us to create. People who love their work, are true to their passions, and reflect the creativity of the God who made them.

*Quote published on the Rocky Neck website

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Third Culture Kid - Grew up in Pakistan, lived and worked in Pakistan and Egypt as an adult. Moved to the United States and learning to live away from curry, Urdu, Arabic and the Pyramids.

8 thoughts on “Rocky Neck – America’s Oldest Working Art Colony

  1. So much has changed in just a couple of years with the new Cultural Center at Rocky Neck on Wonson Street, now the permanent home of the Rocky Neck Art Colony, and a revitalization across the Neck, both in the community and in the renewed interest in and around the seasonal galleries on Rocky Neck; you might not know the place! And yet, for now, much remains the same: the quiet harbor, the yawking seagulls, the buzz of visitors on foot, the Cape Ann evening skies, and the bustle of conversation and food at the local restaurants.

    And now we’re a Cultural District which includes the Gloucester Stage Company and the Gloucester Writer’s Center.

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  2. Thanks for your lovely insights re: Rocky Neck in Gloucester, Massachusetts!
    Please come visit us soon,and in the meanwhile, visit DiscoverGloucester.com and GloucesterMA.com- lots of fun things to do, see and of course, eat!

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  3. As many times as we’ve been to Gloucester, eaten there and walked along the waterfront, how have we never been to Rocky Neck? Thanks for the lovely photos and for reminding us of what we need to see next time we’re there.

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  4. Love, love, love the coast of New England. One of my most favorite places to be! Thanks for sharing these photos. One more place on my long list of wish list places to go!

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