Be ‘Charmed by the Sea’ on Sept. 25

William Bradford & Albert Van Beest pen and watercolor drawing, "New York Yacht Club Regatta off New Bedford," 1856

A New exhibition titled Charmed By The Sea: One Hundred and Fifty Years and More of Yachting on Buzzards Bay, opens to the public on Saturday, September 25, 2010. A members-only preview on the eve of the public opening will be offered on Friday, September 24 at 6:30 p.m. The opening coincides with a major weekend rendezvous of the Cruising Club of America, the Beverly Yacht Club, and the New Bedford Yacht Club in New Bedford Harbor, which is hosting simultaneously its annual Working Waterfront Festival.

Llewellyn Howland III, historical consultant for the exhibition, noted that the art and artifacts selected reveal the complex and exciting relationship between the fine arts and the traditional arts of the mariner. The exhibition “speaks of the sea in its most seductive and welcoming moods—as a refuge or escape from the cares and pressures and woes of life on land. Generations of artists, writers, photographers, yacht designers, and yacht builders, as well as recreational sailors, have fallen under the spell of Buzzards Bay, its islands, harbors, beaches, and seamarks,” he said.

The exhibition’s title is taken from an inscription written by the world’s first solo circumnavigator, Captain Joshua Slocum, in a copy of his classic narrative Sailing Alone around the World.

A former editor, distinguished naval historian, and an antiquarian, Mr. Howland explained, that “even before the fleet of the New York Yacht Club first came to New Bedford in 1856, Buzzards Bay had become a favored cruising ground for visiting yachtsmen. And while sailing for pleasure was still a novelty for most residents along the Massachusetts South Coast, the bay’s reliable afternoon sou’westers, its snug and picturesque anchorages, and its temperate waters had already begun to work their magic on those with the money and summertime leisure to enjoy them. By the time the New Bedford Yacht Club was organized in 1877, Buzzards Bay, under the leadership of members of the Beverly Yacht Club, was already a thriving center for small-boat racing. In the period 1885-1887, yachtsmen with deep ties to the bay came to national—indeed, international—prominence as defenders of the America’s Cup. Buzzards Bay has been an important American yachting center ever since.”

Michael Lapides, the Whaling Museum’s Photo Curator and Director of Digital Initiatives, curated Charmed By The Sea. “This exhibit keeps the Museum focused on our maritime heritage. A large part of our local identity was fixed early on as whaling provided the wealth that drove economic and cultural development. Yachting on Buzzards Bay flourished and is here represented through our own collections, as well as the generosity of many friends,” Mr. Lapides said.

Also on September 24 at 6:30 p.m. the Museum will host a members-only artist’s reception for Arthur and Cheryl Moniz in the San Francisco Room, where more than 30 of the artist’s works are featured in an exhibit titled, Drawn From New Bedford: Arthur Moniz; A Retrospective. Mr. Moniz is an excellent example of the prominent marine artists who continue to be inspired by area’s maritime heritage in all its aspects, noted James Russell, Museum president and CEO.

Finally, on the same evening a new installation of harpoons and rare whaling implements will be available for viewing in the adjacent Bourne Building.

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