We're Twenty Summers, a 501(c)(3) organization devoted to bringing artists and audiences to one of the most historic sites in American art history—a barn in Provincetown on Cape Cod. Without your help, this inspiring landmark will no longer be open to the public, an especially significant loss to the community that has kept it standing and reveled in its spirit for over a century.
We are currently planning our first season of public programming, which will run annually from May 15 to June 15. Among the luminaries who are working with us on our programming are the novelists Michael Cunningham and Julia Glass, the designer Isaac Mizrahi, the storyteller James Lecesne, the music producer Peter Casperson, and the instructors of the Cape School of Art.
In addition to forming a team to manage the programming, we've already secured the rights to use the barn and we had it renovated. But to make this season happen, to open the barn—at its best and most inspirational—to the public, we need your help!
About our Programming
Among the events we will be hosting in the barn are:
• Plein air painting sessions, open to all, in and around the barn
• A concert of classical and contemporary music inspired by the sea
• Performances by local musicians
• Staged conversations, readings, and interviews with artists, authors, and inventive thinkers
• Storytelling workshops
• Readings of new plays
• Fashion events with designers and photographers
About the Barn
Charles Webster Hawthorne built the barn in 1907 atop a sandy bluff in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. He opened it as an art school. Outfitted with wooden cupboards, a gambrel roof, and a glorious 15-by-15-foot window on its north end, the Cape Cod School of Art quickly lured hundreds of students from around the country. Hawthorne taught them to paint outdoors, “en plein air.”
Hawthorne died in 1930. Four years later the barn was reborn when Hans Hofmann, a master of Abstract Expressionism, assumed its lease from the Hawthorne family. Hofmann reopened the school, training the artists who continued to flock to Provincetown in his “push-pull” theory about the tension of space, line, color, and form. In time, however, the school closed. And as the decades passed, the barn became less an incubator of art than an object of art itself—its wood bearing the vestiges of the classes it held, the handprint of painter Henry Hensche coloring a slat in the loft.
Hensche was just one of the dozens of prominent artists and writers who studied or otherwise spent time in the barn. The list includes Norman Rockwell and Jackson Pollock, Tennessee Williams and Norman Mailer. Little surprise then that in 1979, the barn joined the National Register of Historical Places.
In recent years, however, the barn has most often sat dormant and unoccupied. It has slowly deteriorated too, a landmark in dire need of a physical upgrade and a new champion. Last year, our 501(c)(3) organization, Twenty Summers, found a buyer who has beautifully renovated the barn. And it took out a lease on the barn that will enable us to annually, from May 15 to June 15, to host events and classes in the barn. These we will share with the rest of the world—both in person and online.
© 20 Summers Inc., a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) corporation
Risks and challenges
Twenty Summers was founded by three individuals with deep roots in art, literature, and event production. Joshua Prager is a journalist and author. Julia Glass is an award-winning novelist. Ricky Opaterny is the general manager of Hattery and the former producer of Google's global events series, @Google.
Our personal networks are strong. However, attracting luminaries who have no intrinsic connection to Cape Cod, to travel to the Barn may be difficult. Although we have access to limited lodging at discounted rates, we’ll need to find more to accommodate all of our guests.
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