Steamship’s Oak Bluffs terminal opens with an artistic flair

Visitors to the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority terminal are greeted by the Margot Datz mural. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority terminal opened for the season Monday. The foggy gloom did not detract from the newest feature to greet visitors who arrive at the Oak Bluffs ferry gateway, a mural by Island artist Margot Datz.

Ms. Datz painted the mural this past winter on the bare walls of the terminal, which was reconstructed and officially reopened in May 2010.

“The terminal was just begging for a mural,” said Ms. Datz in an interview conducted in January. She is known for fanciful paintings that brighten many Island spaces, including the Vineyard Haven SSA terminal. “Some walls and spaces just cry out to me.”

The SSA covered about two thirds of the cost of the mural, and Ms. Datz raised the rest from a variety of private donors, including the Friends of Oak Bluffs.

The mural is filled with brightly colored baskets filled with spring flowers reminiscent of greeting cards dating from the late 19th century.

“We are now open for business in Oak Bluffs,” Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson said. “Margot did a great job, an incredible job. It fits in so well with the whole space. It adds a nice touch that our customers are going to enjoy for many years.”

The Oak Bluffs terminal is open seasonally, this year from May 21 through October 14

Mr. Lamson said he expects this will be a busy summer based on the overall ridership and reservations since the beginning of the year and in particular this last weekend. “We parked 38 percent more cars off-Island than we parked the same week last year,” he said. “Our reservations for the summer are up about 6.4 percent over last year.”

The increase has been pretty steady since the end of February, according to Mr. Lamson. “It showed up at the end of March and at the end of April,” he said.