Learning to carve letters in stone

We first came to know Jesse Marsolais as an apprentice to letterpress printer John Kristensen. An old soul, Jesse has embraced the black art of printmaking and brings new life to the craft. So we were not surprised to learn that Jesse has the rare opportunity to apprentice under third generation stone carver, calligrapher, and designer   Nick Benson  at the John Stevens Shop in Newport, Rhode Island. Lucky for us, Jesse is  blogging about his experience, “Six Weeks in the John Stevens Shop.” We suggest you give it a read.

Jesse’s six-week apprenticeship is funded by the Southern New England Folk & Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.  This unique tri-state apprenticeship program allows apprentices to work with master artists across state lines in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The next deadline is October 4, 2012.

Gateway Cities: When Neighborhoods Change

Many of Massachusetts’ de-industrialized mill and manufacturing towns are known as “gateway cities.”  Home to close-knit communities of immigrants who initially came seeking work in the state’s once thriving mill and manufacturing sectors, gateway cities have been hit hard by job loss and poverty. Average household incomes remain below the state average as do educational attainment rates.

Gateway cities are often the starting place for new immigrants, who are drawn by the affordable housing and competitive business opportunities. In cities like Lawrence, Lowell, Springfield, and Brockton, and Fall River, it is not uncommon for aging Irish, French-Canadian, Greek, and Polish populations to live alongside a new generation of newcomers, emigrating from places like Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

When it comes to the practice of faith, this globalization means that once mono-cultural parishes are now multi-cultural, with multi-lingual masses. The 2009 documentary film Scenes from a Parishis a window into this world.

The   Lowell Folklife Series invites you to a screening of this powerful  film, with special guest  James Rutenbeck, the film’s director. Shot over four years in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the film sensitively captures the ethnic working class tensions of a multi-cultural Catholic parish in a hard-pressed former mill town.

Come see this award-winning documentary and join the discussion about how communities adjust as neighborhoods change. Free and open to the public.

Date: April 11, 2012 at 7:30

Place: Visitor Center Theater, Lowell National Historical Park, 246 Market Street, Lowell, MA