From the CEO

When you take a walk around Provincetown, what do you see?

Valued by builders in seaside villages for decades because of its durability, cedar has become an enduring symbol of the Outer Cape.

Its character changes over time—the relief of its grain deepens, its shades of gray multiply—but its ability to protect against the elements is what makes cedar so valuable. It deflects destruction by absorbing change.

But cedar doesn’t last forever. The salt in the air causes it to contract, the humidity expands it, and this inhalation and exhalation strains the fibers.

Like the cedar clapboard that shelters PAAM, our durability has been tested.

We discovered that one way we can be resilient is by being flexible.

Our mission always remained the same, but the PAAM that we knew two years ago transformed into something smarter and stronger. Here are some things we learned:

PAAM can be experienced anywhere.

We’re your neighborhood museum no matter where you are. Generous donor support enabled us to create 3-D virtual tours of the PAAM galleries, making our exhibitions accessible to anyone with a computer. Our Secret Garden Tour still brought us down hidden pathways in Provincetown, but it also took us to Sandwich, where C.L. Fornari, “The Garden Lady,” walked us through her famous garden.

Remote learning is here to stay.

The ritual of communing with other artists in a small room was no longer feasible, so we live-streamed our twice-weekly Life Drawing sessions directly into peoples’ homes. Going forward, we need to make our studios permanently adaptable to hybrid teaching. This means investing in new technologies that keep our classes state-of-the-art and your information secure.

Collaboration is more important than ever.

The ecosystem of Cape Cod cultural organizations thrives when resources are shared. That is why we partnered with Wellfleet Preservation Hall to bring our youth programming closer to families living on other parts of the Cape, micro-communities that can feel worlds away in the height of summer. Our programming with Twenty Summers, The Provincetown Film Society, and The Mary Heaton Vorse House showed our overlapping constituencies that we’re all in this together.

But there comes a point when you just need to replace your clapboard, so to speak.

Here’s what was new this year:

Our 400-person Gala remained on hiatus.

Back in the spring we knew we couldn’t count on holding The PAAM Party, our annual fundraising gala that celebrates artists and supporters under a big tent with food and laughter and dancing. So, we replaced it: PAAM members held intimate gatherings in their own homes and asked friends to help them fulfill a financial pledge.

Students of all ages need to be back in the studios, and we need to do what we can to make sure the air they’re breathing is safe.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation identified PAAM, along with 78 other cultural organizations, as allies in the fight against climate change. The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative awarded us funds we can use towards upgrading our HVAC system, which is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a building like ours, and one of the most temperamental. An upgraded HVAC will mean cleaner air for students and staff members to breathe, and a more responsible carbon output.

And, we’re replacing our actual cedar clapboard.

The façade on the historic side of the building is in need of some serious TLC. The windows and doors are starting to let in the elements and the clapboard has exhausted its protective abilities, so we’ve begun the delicate process of historic restoration. A crew of locals, including a mason who studied under the artist Conrad Malicoat, will be replacing the stoops. Bricks will be numbered and documented so they can be placed back in their original locations after the base is repaired.

Through it all, our core commitments remained intact.

We remained true to our mission.

Our exhibitions honored the past and looked to the future, with historic artists like Charles Hawthorne, Hans Hofmann, and Edward Hopper and contemporary ones, like Nancy Bowen, Bunny Pearlman, Joan Snyder, Rebecca Hutchinson, and Francis Olschafskie. Member exhibitions remained robust and lively, we added new gifts to our Permanent Collection, and children made art on the lawn over summer vacation, just as they’ve been doing for decades.

Our capacity to adapt was tested this year, and we believe we met the challenge. But we still need your help.

Limiting admission and altering our major fundraisers has depleted our General Operating Fund—donations from supporters like you enable us to carry out our mission, employ a year-round staff, and be resilient. Can you help us remain strong and flexible in the face of the next set of challenges?

As PAAM’s new history takes shape, we hope you’ll appreciate our new façade.

As always, we are learning from the past, adapting in the present, and looking towards the future.

Make your gift today using the form below or by sending a check to 460 Commercial Street, Provincetown MA 02657.

Thank you, and best wishes for happy and healthy new year.


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