Creative Life

Our series Creative Life discontinued on October 30th, 2017. It has been replaced by Ways of Life

The Creative Life archive lives on this page. Creative Life offered an audio tour of arts, culture, and inspiration on the Cape and Islands. Our region is rich with creative diversity, and so are the stories we tell.

Creative Life is edited by Jay Allison.

Creative Life is made possible by The Circle of Ten, ten local businesses and organizations committed to local programming on WCAI.

Photo by Orleans Camera and Video.

Marie Canaves came to the U.S. from Cuba at age 7, when her family fled the Communist Revolution. Marie had trouble adjusting to America. She grew up to become a visual artist, focusing most of her art on the human figure. Then, in 2013 her parents died within a month of each other and soon after, her brother discovered a family treasure that her parents had saved from their time as exiles. This inspired  Marie to explore her Cuban heritage in her art for the first time, and with it, her identity. 

Photo by Michael Ernst.

When Christine Ernst  was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 34, she never expected that it would one day spark her own one-woman show.

Photo by Ron Amato

Bobby Miller took photos of some very famous stars in New York City over his forty-year career. During his time in New York, he made a living as hair stylist and make up artist. Since moving to Provincetown in 2001, Bobby’s infused some of the glamour from his past life into portraits of ordinary people on the Cape. But now, he’s thinking about shifting his attention to a totally different subject

Photo Courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Free Public Library.

Brooklawn Park in New Bedford has a soccer field, a playground, and asphalt paths winding around a small, grassy hill. It also contains the buried foundations of several buildings, remnants of an estate that no longer exists there. With the help of some friends, a professional archaeologist, and the city government, a local artist named Carl Simmons uncovered these remains. And he’s shared the findings in some unexpected ways.

Fado Singing Might Make You a Better Social Worker

Jan 9, 2017
Photo by Barbara Paulsen 2016

Catarina Avelar spends her days as a social worker in Fall River. At night, she sings fado, a style of Portuguese music known for its tragic lyrics and haunting melodies. And even though she once dreamed of becoming a full-time fado singer, there’s an unintended benefit to Catarina’s double life. The sadness she feels as she helps families struggling with poverty and addiction infuses her singing with emotion. Ironically the job that led her to give up her dream has made her a better singer. 

Photo by Stephen DiRado

Family has always been an important theme for photographer Stephen DiRado’s work. During meals, holidays or lazy summer days at Aquinnah beach, his camera was the family’s constant companion. So when tragedy struck, it wasn’t a surprise that Stephen turned to his camera to get through it. The result was a project that lasted 20 years and over 3,000 photos. Zach Dyer reports from Martha’s Vineyard.

Leaps and Bounds: The Story of an Unlikely Ballet Dancer

Dec 12, 2016

David Grannum is a 16-year-old ballet dancer in Fall River. He’s only been dancing ballet for four years. Most ballet dancers his age have been dancing since they learned to walk. But David has a talent for ballet. Since he started at 12-years-old, he’s caught the attention of international ballet judges. Now he’s just waiting to see if he’ll get an opportunity to continue nurturing his natural talent. 

Rebecca Gilbert

Rebecca Gilbert is a farmer and fiber artist on Martha’s Vineyard. Surrounded by plants and animals on the farm her grandparents bought in the 1920s, Rebecca shears her sheep, dyes their wool with natural plants, and spins it into colorful yarn. She has struggled with depression for much of her life, but Rebecca has found joy, healing, and art in the daily surprises of farm life. 

Painting with Memory... and Pushing Back Against the Dark

Nov 14, 2016
Photo by Catarina Martins

Shirley Nisbet is a painter in Falmouth who grew up in England during World War II. She paints large paintings filled with bright colors influenced by her memories. Even though she has some painful memories, she prefers to leave those out of her paintings. 

  For many, Cape Cod means sunshine and sandy beaches. But to one West Barnstable writer and producer, the Cape means foggy cemeteries at night, dangerous riptides, ghost stories and shipwrecks. For over thirty years, Stephen Thomas Oney has been producing Cape Cod Radio Mystery Theatre, a series of radio dramas all set on and inspired by the Cape. Producer Peter Bresnan visited Stephen’s home studio in West Barnstable. 

"The Boat Guy": Forty Years of Craftmanship

Oct 24, 2016

Walter Baron has been making boats in Wellfleet for nearly forty years. Though Walter says he’s added his own touch to the processes he uses for building boats, Walter does not consider himself an artist. He would rather focus on the technical aspects of his boats and his work. But to an outsider, these boats are beautiful, and it’s hard to imagine that the man responsible for creating them would describe them as anything but art. 

The Darkroom: A Photographer Considers His Legacy

Oct 3, 2016

In Peter Simon’s 50-year career, he’s photographed music legends—The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, and Bruce Springsteen, just to name a few—as well as Martha’s Vineyard landscapes, the hippie commune he lived on in the 1970s, and so much more.

Now, at age 69, Peter’s thinking about what kind of legacy he wants to leave.  Annie Sinsabaugh reports.

You can see Peter Simon’s legendary photographs on his website or at his gallery in Vineyard Haven. 

A World of Moments: Dylan James Cole, Filmmaker

Sep 19, 2016

To eighteen year-old Dylan James Cole, every day is a new film to make.  Dylan has produced over forty videos on his YouTube page, most of them in only the last two months.  But he's not out to make the next Transformers.  Instead, he's passionate about recording the intimate, mundanely poetic details of daily life: the smaller, the better, the more beautiful.  Abdi Iftin reports from Falmouth.

The Question: On One Artist's Search for Peace

Sep 5, 2016

Nigerian painter, Frank Chike Anigbo, spent over a decade working on an art project he thought would change lives. Instead, the project created an internal conflict that has plagued him for years. Elizabeth Nakano headed to his studio in Barnstable to learn more. 

Scarbie's Schtick: A Queen Speaks from Provincetown

Aug 15, 2016
Sophia Steinert-Evoy

It's been eleven seasons since David "Scarbie" Mitchell began performing his variety show "Lip Schtick" on Commercial Street in Provincetown.  Throughout the years, Mitchell has developed seven different characters to embody throughout the show; all without leaving the stage. He also performs numerous musical numbers (lip syncing and live) and improv bits. But, unlike other drag shows on the main street, David's show comes with an earnest message of self-love and understanding.  Sophia Steinert-Evoy reports.