Nearly one year ago, the coronavirus pandemic forced the state to shut down and declare a state of emergency. To commemorate the communitys profound loss, the Cape Ann Museum
is creating a temporary art installation to pay tribute to those who died from the deadly virus including 35 people in Gloucester, 55 people from Cape Ann, and more than 2,000 people from Essex County. The COVID-19 Memorial will be dedicated at CAM Green during a virtual online ceremony on March 10 and will be open to the public through March 14.
In partnership with the City of Gloucester and LuminArtz, the Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial is comprised of three parts: a video art installation from LuminArtz, the Cape Ann Cairns Memorial, and the Gloucester Memorial Quilt. These interconnected projects seek to humanize the unfathomably large number of deaths in the past year, place the deeply felt local losses in the broader national conversation, and provide a space for visitors to take steps toward the long process of grief and healing. Understanding that the pandemic is ongoing, this memorial takes place outside at CAM Green and is a temporary installation.
Observing social distance practices to keep each other safe has left many of us wondering how we can process and acknowledge the tragic losses experienced locally, regionally, and internationally this past year, says Oliver Barker, the Museums Director. Art and cultural institutions, so devastated by this tragedy, have a central role to play as we reopen in telling these stories and providing ways for all of us to grieve, remember, and heal. Its our sincere hope that this memorial will help start that long process.
On Wednesday, March 10, the states emergency shutdown anniversary, the Museum will present a live-streamed virtual memorial ceremony at 6 p.m. that can be seen live on Facebook and YouTube. This ceremony will serve as an opening for the Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial and a vigil for those lost. Due to current gathering restrictions, visitors will not be allowed onsite during the ceremony. Instead, they are encouraged to watch from home and visit the memorial in person afterwards. Visitors can reserve free, timed entrance to see the memorial at CAM Green from Thursday, March 11 through Sunday, March 14 between 12:30 - 8:00 pm.
Among those scheduled to speak at the ceremony are: local political representatives, community members, and artists including Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, State Senator Bruce Tarr, poet Caroline Harvey, musicians Brian King and Nathan Cohen, the Associated Clergy of Cape Ann, and representatives from the Museum.