Text by Marina Davalos | Photo: “Dragger on the Ways,” by Salvatore Del Deo, 1965, courtesy of Fine Arts Work Center
“Plans for a center for the arts are in progress,” wrote the writer, activist and preservationist Josephine Del Deo in her journal in March of 1965. The idea had been discussed for some time in Provincetown’s arts community before the Fine Arts Work Center was founded in 1968 by a collection of artists and writers. “We wanted to provide a vehicle for artists to be able to stay here in the winter,” says the late Josephine’s husband, artist Salvatore Del Deo, who came to Provincetown in 1946 to study with acclaimed painter Henry Hensche. Space was initially provided in studio apartments at the Days Lumberyard on Pearl Street. In 1972, the Fine Arts Work Center purchased the lumberyard for its permanent home.
The Del Deos, along with fellow artists, writers and patrons of the arts, including Fritz Bultman, Stanley Kunitz and Hudson D. Walker, believed that emerging artists needed the freedom to pursue their work early in their careers. This has been FAWC’s mission for 50 years. The center awards fellowships to emerging artists and writers from around the world and provides housing studio space. The seven-month residency has seen the likes of visual artists Ellen Gallagher and Jennifer Packer as well as writers Michael Cunningham and Ann Patchett.
The Fine Arts Work Center has special 50th anniversary exhibitions, lectures and readings scheduled throughout the year taking place in Provincetown, Boston and New York. More info