Charlie Esposito chosen for the Creative Living Award

Charlie Esposito is the 2022 Creative Living Award recipient. — Courtesy MV Community Foundation

The Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation announced in a press release that Tisbury’s Charlie Esposito has been selected as the 2022 Creative Living Award recipient. The award, created in honor of Ruth Bogan, has become “an annual celebration of creativity, innovation, and community since 1983.” 

According to the release, Esposito “has so often been the behind-the-scenes creator and motivator in numerous roles through the decades.” A musician and former art student from New York City, Esposito traveled around the country with his bandmates Timothy Maxwell and Duane Spencer before settling on Martha’s Vineyard in the late 1960s. As TCD (Timothy, Charles, Duane), the trio “continued to hone their acoustic sound” at the Wintertide Coffee House, the Katharine Cornell Theater, and the former Seaview Hotel, where “they developed a rock version of the band to satisfy a more raucous clientele.” The three will “reprise the band” for the awards night. 

Esposito’s contributions to “a robust Island life” extend beyond music, the release stated. He began working as a chef and manager at the Black Dog Tavern in the ’70s, “establishing Chinese nights in the winter, which eventually led to other ethnic specialty evenings.” The release said that “back in the day,” Black Dog was a “real center of winter life on the Island.” 

In the ’80s, Esposito built a recording studio in the former EduComp building basement in Vineyard Haven, according to the release. He worked the boards and recorded many albums for bands such as Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish, Entrain, and others. In the ’90s, Esposito developed a studio component “enabling him to broadcast live NPR programs.” This component also allowed Islanders to do voiceover work and be national radio guests. 

The release concluded by lauding Esposito for his role as the director of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Performing Arts Center, a position he has held since 2003. Esposito took his “years of music, theatrical production, and creativity” to teach students “everything required to put on a show,” from recording to production. 

“Charlie has produced records for others, been in avant-garde bands of his own for 50 years, managed the Black Dog when that meant something to all of us, and has been at the helm of the PAC for the past several years, always gracious, uncomplaining, and out of the limelight,” Jeremy Berlin, the musician who nominated Esposito, said in the release. 

Esposito will be awarded during a celebration at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 5:15 pm, and “the Island is invited.” There will also be a free raffle in which the winner will choose an Island nonprofit to receive a $1,000 grant from the foundation.