SHIPPING NEWS: Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury, which is dedicated to the art and preservation of wooden boat-building, holds its seventh annual Holiday Open House Saturday and Sunday.
Located on the banks of the Merrimack River, the boat shop and its surrounding scenery have attracted countless artists and photographers over the years.
During the open house, many of those individuals are displaying work as part of “Wood and Water: A Mixed Media Exhibit.” The art has been created by members of the Newburyport Art Association and other invited artists.
The exhibit also includes works by participants in OpArt, a collaboration between Opportunity Works and the Newburyport Art Association. OpArt is an art education outreach program that provides hands-on instruction to artists with special needs, using a full range of media, techniques, and materials.
The art association began the program in 2004 with the goal of developing and encouraging the creative abilities of all individuals. The works by OpArt members are for sale.
An art show preview party for Lowell’s Boat Shop members, the artists, and their friends will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. Classical guitarist John Tavano of Newburyport will provide music.
The party includes food and beverages, such as the boat shop’s signature ale, Doryman’s Brew, created by Cody Brewing of Amesbury. There also is a rum tasting presented by Turkey Shore Distilleries of Ipswich.
The Holiday Open House runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is open to the general public.
In addition to the art exhibit and sale, Lowell’s offers gifts, mast-hoop wreaths, handmade holiday wreaths, fresh trees, boat shop apparel, gourmet dog treats, boat shop jams and jellies, a variety of raffles, and a silent auction. Fish chowder and desserts are also served.
Live music includes the Thomas Machine Works Band playing on Saturday and Morning Glories performing on Sunday. For children, there are ornament-making sessions. Santa will make appearances from noon to 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, providing photo opportunities.
Last year’s preview party and Holiday Open House inspired many individuals to become members at Lowell’s, and new members are always welcome. Benefits of membership are reduced rates in boat-building classes, use of skiffs and dories on Lowell’s waterfront, educational offerings, social events, and discounts on shop merchandise.
Founded by Simeon Lowell in 1793, Lowell’s is a National Historic Landmark, a working museum, the oldest continuously operating wooden boat-building establishment in the United States, and the official birthplace of the fishing dory — the mainstay of New England’s legendary fishing industry.
In 2009, the museum completed significant restorations, made possible by a National Trust’s Partners in Preservation grant. Now the building has a barn-red exterior and a picturesque interior — with numerous antique tools, well-seasoned posts and beams, and traditional skiffs and dories.
The open house is Lowell’s main fund-raiser and helps support its youth outreach programs.
This year the boat house is engaged in the Whaleboat Project, working toward completion of a 28-foot replica whaleboat to complement the Charles W. Morgan, the last existing whaling ship at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.
Through apprenticeships, a number of area high school students are taking part in the construction of the whaling boat, while acquiring hands-on knowledge of America’s maritime history.
Lowell’s Boat Shop is at 459 Main St., Amesbury. Call 978-834-0050 or visit lowellsboatshop.com.
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