With family-friendly attractions, and a purple sand beach, the beautiful coastal town of Newburyport, one of America’s oldest cities just 35 miles north of Boston, claims a historical charm. While most visitors might be attracted to its maritime components, seafood restaurants, and outdoor attractions, Newburyport is also home to a forward-thinking organization, the PEG Center for Art and Activism.
Once a land of the Pawtucket tribe in 1630, Newburyport was destroyed by the fire of 1811, affected by the 1812 War, housed some of the wealthiest Americans, and as a port city, welcomed goods from all over the world. Today, through the PEG Center for Art & Activism, Newburyport is a role model for creating and welcoming initiatives to change the status quo and to promote awareness for advancing social justice, human rights and environmental causes that affect us all. With an extensive calendar of activities led by Paula Estey, the Executive and Creative Director, the PEG Center, with a mission to spark social change through art, presents a group exhibition, “Through These Eyes: The Many Faces of Patriotism,” through May 27. The exhibition brings nine artists — Annielly Camargo, Julia Csekö, Jamaal Eversely, Keith Francis, Ashley Page, Sophie Pearson, Adrienne Sloane, Robert Shetterly and Rebecca McGee Tuck — together to present work in multi-media, painting, sculpture, assemblage, fiber, photography and mixed media.
The art world has always been open and never quiet about almost any topic. Artworks function as an encyclopedia, an external hard drive that stores happenings throughout history. The works on view at the PEG Center claim much attention that must be paid. The exhibition defies ideas ofpatriotism, challenges the concept of freedom, questions laws, points a finger at our actions, shakes one’s core, tests one’s ability to process anger and attempts to try to prevent one from identifying beauty and the good in people — or at least in some people. But isn’t art best for provoking and demanding reactions?