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    Thursday, June 13, 2024

    Let’s Go: Shasha headlines first Alewife Cove arts festival

    Alewife Cove as seen from a drone camera. Photo submitted
    People explore Alewife Cove Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023, with their nets and buckets in the area between Waterford Beach Park and Ocean Beach Park in New London. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Mark Shasha demonstrates painting techniques while creating a work outside. Photo submitted

    Internationally renowned artist Mark Shasha, who grew up in New London, will be on hand from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 11, to teach a master class at the Ocean Beach Park Pavilion as part of the first Alewife Cove Conservancy Arts Festival.

    Afterward, everybody is welcome to come and paint the cove, meet Shasha and enjoy a day of artistry from any place they want to set up their easel. All proceeds benefit the Alewife Cove Conservancy, which is organizing an effort to revitalize the waterway that connects New London and Waterford.

    Shasha, called "a man of unbounded creativity" by North Shore Magazine, is an award-winning American artist, author and educator whose paintings can be found in museums, galleries and private collections around the world. He also has written and illustrated several popular children's books.

    "Painting is a calling for me,“ Shasha once said. ”It is a longing for those moments when the poetry happens when a sun beam caresses a snowbank, peeks into a glade or spills diamonds across the sea. I’m compelled by something deep in me to seize that energy and to express it as paint on canvas using my own calligraphy and the brevity of a few accurate brushstrokes.“

    A one-time illustrator for the Boston Phoenix newspaper and The Globe, Shasha’s first children’s book, “Night of the Moonjellies” (Simon & Schuster, 1992) won a Marion Vannett Ridgway Honor Award. He also received a Shining Star Award from the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, according to his online biography.

    Shasha is a member of the American Society of Marine Artists, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, The Salmagundi Club, The Guild of Boston Artists, The Copley Society, Rockport Art Association & Museum and North Shore Arts Association, among others.

    Shasha’s most recent recognition includes The Alden Bryan Memorial Award for Excellence in Landscape Painting (twice in one year). He also is a noted actor and singer, playing such roles as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” as well as Willy in “Willy Wonka.”

    Tickets for Mark Shasha’s Master Art Class can be bought at www.alewifecove.org. But artists and the public can roam free of charge.

    The Alewife Cove Conservancy has secured a nearly $400,000 federal grant from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund for the development of a restoration plan for Alewife Cove. Joe Lanzafame, New London’s public utilities director, said the goal is to improve the environmental standing of the cove.

    New London, Waterford, and the Alewife Cove Conservancy are expected to contribute a total of about $126,700 in matching funds.

    Edward Lamoureux, founder and co-chair of the Alewife Cove Conservancy, said the natural border between New London and Waterford is used for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, science, education and art. It is a place where alewife fish return annually to their natural spawning grounds.

    The group’s mission includes creating volunteer opportunities for the community and students to engage in citizen science and to help inspire preservation of local natural resources.

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