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Contact: George E. Price, Jr., Superintendent, (508) 349 3785 x202
Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price has announced that the seashore will be partnering with the Provincetown Community Compact to utilize the Fowler Cottage in the Dune Shacks of the Peaked Hill Bars Historic District on a short-term basis pending development of a plan for future use and preservation of the district. Under agreement with the seashore, The Compact will have use of the cottage through 2009.
The Fowler Cottage reverted to the National Park Service last year upon the passing of Mrs. Laura Fowler, who held a lifetime use and occupancy agreement with the government. The selection of The Compact for this interim measure is a way for the park to work with a community group to ensure that the cottage is preserved in the intervening years until a long-term management plan for the dune shacks is developed.
Since 1996, The Compact has used the nearby Cohen Shack for its program, C-Scape: A Provincetown Retreat for Art and Healing. A major component is the artist-in-residence program. The Compact will use the Fowler Cottage to make more artist residencies available, and may expand the program to include writers. The historic district was established in 1989, in large part because of its association with the historical development of art and literature in America. The National Park Service Artist-in-Residence program is offered in many national park areas across the country. The program seeks to perpetuate the development of art in national parks. Works of art and literature were instrumental in building early advocacy for parks, and led to their establishment.
For the past 10 years The Compact has operated and carried out preservation work at the Cohen Shack, including replacement of the roof, decking, siding, and installation of a well and a composting toilet. Through its residencies and fellowships, The Compact has encouraged visual artists, writers, performers, scientists, historians and the general public to reside in the shack and share their experiences through their work. The program has also introduced small groups of visitors on ranger-guided tours to artists working in the dune environment, and gallery exhibits over the years have highlighted the works of artists who have been inspired by their stays at the shack. The Compact has also made the Cohen Shack available to non-profit groups like Helping Our Women and the Aids Support Group of Cape Cod, and has sponsored numerous school programs, such as the Shadow Writing Project for local at-risk high school students, and Sand Kids, a writing and visual arts residency with local grade school children.
“We’ve been very pleased with how The Compact has operated,” said Superintendent Price. “The organization is sensitive to the resources of the district, and has been a responsible steward of the Cohen Shack. We believe their use of these two cottages for this program is compatible with the values that made the district eligible for the National Register. We appreciate the willingness of The Compact to take on this arrangement in the short-term.”
Two other non-profit organizations have agreements or permits with the NPS to care for and utilize dune shacks. The Outer Cape Artist in Residence Consortium (OCARC) carries out an artist in residence program at the Margo-Gelb Shack, and the Peaked Hill Trust provides public access to the Thalassa and Euphoria Shacks. 13 other shacks are maintained and used by individuals, and one shack is privately owned.
Price added, “We are aware that there are many viewpoints about how the district should be preserved and used. We plan to explore these viewpoints further with the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission as we proceed with planning. The decision about short-term use of the Fowler Cottage is not intended to prejudge future use.”