April 4, 2014
A design for Cape Ann: Over 200 turn out for license plate showcase
By Ray Lamont
—- — The Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce hosted a unique juried art show Thursday.
Rather than traditional art works, the pieces on display were designs for a planned Cape Ann license plate. And the jurors were more than 200 people who turned out at Cruiseport Gloucester to view the Chamber’s five finalists and cast their votes for the design they liked best.
The reception and the unveiling of the finalists was the latest step in the Chamber’s bid to have a license plate that would not only recognize Cape Ann’s hometown pride, but also serve as a fundraiser for the Chamber and the communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester.
The project will involve selling the Cape Ann plates for $40 apiece, with the net proceeds going into a newly created Chamber foundation. The money generated would help fund Chamber marketing efforts for all four of the cape’s communities, with grants also being extended to the communities themselves for local promotion, education programs and other projects.
First, however, comes the design — and the five finalists showcased Thursday were chosen from more than 80 submissions overall, Chamber President Mike Lester told the gathering.
“The people at the Chamber and our local legislators have worked very hard to bring this project forward,” he said. “Now it’s up to all of you to make it a reality.”
The finalists’ works were all designed to create an image that would symbolize Cape Ann, yet also fit on a plate in the narrow space to the left of and below the standard Massachusetts license plate numbers.
The artists and finalists are:
Annalei Babson of Rockport, whose plate includes four images representing each of the four Cape Ann towns.
Mike Earl of Gloucester, whose design spotlights a schooner sailing past Thacher Island’s twin lights.
Linda Hogan of Rockport, whose submission includes a seagull, a sailboat and a lobster.
Brian Silva of Gloucester, whose design depicts Gloucester’s iconic Man at the Wheel statue.
Heidi Totman of Boxford, whose plate presents an image of colorful buoys.
The artists aren’t just competing for bragging rights. The Chamber is offering a $1,000 prize to the artist whose work is chosen as the core image of the plates, which will first have to be approved by the state’s registry of Motor Vehicles and then commissioned for its contractor, 3M, to produce. The Chamber, meanwhile, must also presell 1,500 plates before the RMV will go forward with the project.
The winning design will be chosen based in part on the input the Chamber received through Thursday’s balloting. Those at the reception took care in getting closeup looks at all of the plates before checking off their choices.
“I’m thrilled to see this many people,” said former Chamber president and current board member Ruth Pino, who is heading up the project. “I know some people from the Chamber, I see some people I know from Rotary, but I see an awful lot of people I don’t know. That’s a good sign that people care about this. I’m thrilled.”
Times Editor Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.