Pathways Projects Institutes opened its season on Thursday, December 11. While the ride up South Road to the Chilmark Tavern, the winter home of Pathways Living Room Studios, was as quiet as could be expected on a chilly December evening, the packed parking lot was reminiscent of a summer night.
In its sixth season, Pathways serves as a gathering space for creativity and provides Island artists, musicians, and writers an outlet for their talents in the winter months. Founder Marianne Goldberg, an accomplished artist and former dancer, created Pathways to nourish the work of individual artists while promoting collaboration across the arts community on the Island. The program is especially welcomed this time of year, when inspiration and activity are less frequent. Ms. Goldberg has given people good reason to go to Chilmark in the winter. The lively opening event kick started the new season and showcased the recent work of the Pathways Honoraria Award recipients selected by Ms. Goldberg last year. Recipients were asked, “if you could do anything creative, even just a part of it, a little piece, what would it be?” Recipients were awarded the resources to fund a passion project of their choice and used Thursday to share their progress to date.
Photographer Peter Simon showed off the fruits of his labor, a presentation of breathtaking aerial shots from recent flights around the Island’s coast. Multimedia artist Danielle Mulcahy thanked Ms. Goldberg and exclaimed, “You sure know how to throw a party,” before sharing a two minute film which captured brilliant imagery of color and seasons on the Island. Nick Fournier, another award recipient known for his woodworking artistry, intrigued the audience with his plans for a motion-controlled time-lapse device that will allow him to better document the process of his work, starting with a new staircase he will be constructing this winter. Mr. Fournier also thanked Ms. Goldberg and expressed his gratitude for giving him the motivation and resources to bring his project to life. David White and Jesse Keller of The Yard shared their upcoming projects, including their plan for an integrated arts education program that they are hoping to bring to Island schools. Another presentation came from Richard Skidmore of the Lighthouse Poetry Project, who wowed the crowd with a showing of I Will Save You!, a book he comprised from children’s poems and drawings after visiting local schools and presenting on the importance of moving the Gay Head Lighthouse.
There was a selection of captivating readings, including two emotional ones from Nancy Aronie on the loss of her son and the tribulations of marriage, invoking both laughter and sympathy. Author Barbara Peckham also read her poems on the immenseness of the sea and the essence of time and inevitable mortality, while writer Nicki Patton explored the topic of self worth with an amusing monologue that began with her trying to exchange her life for another. Before going into his reading “Beyond Appearances,” writer Lee McCormack reiterated the community’s appreciation for the Pathways Projects and noted that in the 43 years he has been on the Island, no venue has given artists the exposure that Pathways offers.
Music played a big role in the evening, including mother and daughter duo Chrysal and Emmanuelle Parrot who performed a breathtaking song that 11-year-old Emmanuelle had written, followed by a rendition of “House of the Rising Sun” by her mother Chrysal, which featured an African polyrhythm technique. For the final performance, pianist David Stanwood stressed the theme of collaboration by inviting outside noise into his set while he played, soliciting the accompaniment of clinking bottles, tapping, and humming.
The night concluded with a champagne toast and cake cutting to celebrate Pathways’s new year, a season that is bound to be full of even more Island talent.