The Beverly Oracle Goes to Maine

October 18, 2013

Since Artist-in-Residence Anna Schuleit Haber was chosen earlier this year to design the public art in downtown Beverly after the NEA Arts and Cultural District Public Art Competition, her and her team of Montserrat interns have been quite busy moving the project along.

Please read the below piece written by Anna’s Research Intern, sculpture student Caitlyn Doolittle ’15, watch the video and follow along in their journey as they move forward with The Bevelry Oracle project.



This past weekend, five members of the Oracle team — Anna, Katie, Maddy, Caitlyn, and Finnegan — traveled to Maine to visit poet Jane Brox and to ask her to join the Beverly Oracle project by providing its first answer.

On Saturday, the team picked up Anna’s forty year-old Buick convertible from storage and traveled through the beautiful foggy scenery of New Hampshire to arrive at the oceanside town of East Boothbay, Maine. With a gorgeous beachside house to stay in for the trip, the team then traveled to Brunswick on Sunday to visit Maine poet and writer, Jane Brox. Raised on a farm in Dracut, Massachusetts, Jane is the author of four books and has received awards for her poetry, including the L.L. Winship New England Award. Settling at her kitchen table in her very cozy house, Anna interviewed Jane and invited her to participate in the Beverly Oracle project as the first contributor of an “answer”. Jane responded with much enthusiasm and kindness, ending the interview with genuine excitement about the project.

Leaving with Jane in Anna’s 1973 Buick Centurion convertible, the Oracle team then drove to the nearby studio of sculptor John Bisbee. The team met John outside the mill which holds his welding shop, where he has been working on the intricate metal sculptures he is known for. Working with twelve-inch steel spikes as his medium, John creates larger-than-life pieces constructed from these thousands of nails. Traveling up to the high floors in the mill, John showed the team his second, large workspace, filled with exquisite sculptures he has created over the years. While interviewing him, the team was able to catch a glimpse of a recently finished piece, “Hearsay”, a tall, abstracted shape pieced together by heating and bending spikes. Walking around the studio, Anna interviewed John about the pieces that were spaced all along the floor. With an exhibition coming up for Hearsay in the near future, John was passionate when talking about his work. Leaving with an answer for the Oracle from John, the team then traveled back to East Boothbay to spend the final night of the journey.

Leaving Monday morning for the long haul back to Beverly, the team retraced its steps through Maine and New Hampshire back to Beverly, filming the trip along the way. The aim was to capture the adventure, mostly from the perspective of the car, using a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-70mm 1:2.8 L lens. With the heavy camera, the uneasiness of filming while in a moving car, and the attention to focusing, the filming of the trip was a wonderful challenge, but the resulting footage was worth it. While sitting in the kitchen late at night and early in the morning, Anna and the interns had been logging each film clip, a time-consuming job. Logging is the process of watching the footage and writing down all of the data that was captured on film, for the editor to know the material at a glance lateron. We are now in the process of completing our first trailer for the project, which will include footage of our interview with Jane Brox, as well as the many hours of driving up the coast at Autumn’s peak. We will use John Bisbee’s music because it’s a perfect fit for the feel of our journey.

Our trailer is published at this link, take a look:

We learned a lot: frequent bathroom breaks, lots of snacks, steady hands for filming, and many layers for hot + cool days. We really look forward to our trip to the next writer, soon, probably in New Hampshire!

Best Oracle wishes + stay tuned for more—
Caitlyn Doolittle ’15, Research Intern
The Beverly Oracle