Artist Shanties Open Along Hyannis Harbor

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Watercolor artist Leslie Altman at work in her temporary shop, an Artist Shanty at Bismore Park in Hyannis Harbor

CCB MEDIA PHOTO
Watercolor artist Leslie Altman at work in her temporary shop, an Artist Shanty at Bismore Park at Hyannis Harbor

HYANNISPORT – Fog touched everything along Hyannis Harbor Friday, reaching into little huts placed parallel with freshly docked ships smelling of fish and diesel.

Inside those huts – referred to by the Hyannis HyArts District as “shanties” – were crafts of all creations: paintings, photographs, jewelry and more, peddled to passersby on a seaside stroll in Bismore Park.

The Artist Shanties are mini institutions in town and, despite the cloudy weather on opening day this year, are understood by many to be a signal of summer.

The little shacks put rent-paying artists’ works on display for the community to behold and, the artists hope, buy.

One such artist, a retired librarian turned watercolor painter, said she had almost made enough for her weekly shanty rent halfway through the first day.

Leslie Altman’s subjects portray an array of Cape Cod and New England imagery, which the artist said is popular with visitors from places both far and near.

With the exception of an art class she took when she was 9 years old, Altman said she had not painted for most of her life. When her friend coaxed her into an art class about eight years ago, she said she took to the hobby quite voraciously.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO The work of Leslie Altman adorns the side of an Artist Shanty at Bismore Park

CCB MEDIA PHOTO
The work of Leslie Altman adorns the side of an Artist Shanty at Bismore Park

“It came out of nowhere, but once I started I had to keep doing it,” she said. “My early efforts look exactly like my paintings from when I was 9,” she admitted.

Her work looks considerably different now, and her diverse subject matter speaks to someone well-travelled in the United States and abroad.

She confirmed that notion Friday, when visitors from France popped their heads into her bright yellow shanty and she began conversing lightly with them in French.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO

CCB MEDIA PHOTO

The shanties will feature over 85 artists throughout the spring and summer on a rotating schedule.

They’ll be open Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until whenever the artists call it a day.

Starting June 20th, they’ll stay open seven days a week.

Since Altman seems to double her profit every year for the past four seasons, she said she definitely plans to rent again in the future.

In the meantime, she’ll lay brush to paper throughout the year, creating more painterly stories for  summer strollers to happen upon.

“It’s my therapy, my meditation… my frustration, too, but I just really enjoy seeing what the paint will do,” Altman said.

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