Destination: Provincetown!

01/08/12    Kate Smith  |  President and Chief Color Maven, Sensational Color, CMG, CfYH

When my ticket says "Destination: Color!" there are many places I might be headed and one of my favorites is Provincetown, MA on the very tip of Cape Cod. It is the gateway to the 40-mile-long Cape Cod National Seashore and was the perfect place for a single mom with a 4-year old in tow to spend the summer.

 What began as renting a cottage for one summer my first year in Boston turned into many summers of "going down the Cape" and always to our favorite place referred to affectionately by the permanent and temporary residents as P-Town.

 With a colorful past that includes piracy, bootlegging, fishing, whaling, and salt production, it may surprise you to find out that the most influential force in shaping the town were the many artists and writers who came there to be part of the oldest art colony in the United States.

 While the serenity of the cottages surrounded by sand dunes and the beautiful vistas of the sea have always been a part of the draw, the many famous and not-so-famous people that flocked here again and again said the same thing, "there is just something about the light."

 "It’s light that’s influenced a long line of artists of all kinds, from Charles Hawthorne’s plein-air school to Blanche Lazzell’s white line woodcuts. It’s light that has drawn artists from Europe and Asia and all over North America to come here to work. And it’s light that continues to inspire another generation of Provincetown artists." (Christian Science Monitor)

 Light and color were the two things that were immediately apparent to me the first time I strolled the streets of a town often described as "three miles long and two streets wide." Unlike other small towns, this place is anything but typical.


Provincetown is one of the oldest towns in America (est. 1720) and also one of the most idiosyncratic, extraordinary, and tolerant. "It is the only small town I know of where those who live unconventionally seem to outnumber those who live within the prescribed bounds of home and licensed marriage, respectable job, and biological children," says author Micheal Cunningham.

The neatly kept homes and abundant gardens belie the unconventional lifestyles. The homes that are mostly classic Cape Cod or Victorian and there are bold colors used against the weathered cedar shakes and crisp, white clapboard.

During the summer flowers are in bloom everywhere you look. The same light sought after by so many artists seems to also be perfect for blossoming plants. The entire town is a mix of natural and man made beauty and expressive style.

The stillness, solitude, natural beauty, sparkling water, endless seashore, art, people watching, good food, and great entertainment are all part of the attraction. But like so many artists who have been drawn back year after year, Provincetown captured my heart by bathing every experience in the most beautiful light.


A few fun facts:
The bohemians of Greenwich Village began summering in Provincetown to escape the heat of New York City in the early 20th century.
Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953) staged his first play, a one-act titled "Bound East for Cardiff," on the wharf in 1916.
Major 20th-century artists, such as Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline, joined legions of painters who summered here.
Artist Jackson Pollack called P-Town home for many years.
Tennessee Williams (1911-83) wrote plays while staying with friends.
Norman Mailer (1923-2007) produced 30 books during his 60 years visiting Provincetown.
He moved here permanently in 1990, and his home is now the site of a writers' colony.

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About Kate Smith, CMG, CfYH:
A childhood love of color turned into a fascination with the interaction of colors during college and then into a career of color trend forecasting and product development. Today, Kate Smith is President and Chief Color Maven at Sensational Color, a company that provides color knowledge and know-how to corporations primarily in the home industry.

Kate is an inspirational keynote speaker and seminar leader, blending color theory and psychology into entertaining and informative talks that bring color to life. With an approachable style and an ability to make complex ideas east to understand, Kate has the gift for inspiring others to find their own color confidence. 
Interviews, appearances and articles keep Kate in the media. She has been seen in House Beautiful, InStyle, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and many well-recognized publications. She has been on air any times including appearances on CBS Sunday Morning, the Christopher Lowell Show, and Great Day Houston. Kate is a member of the Color Marketing Group.


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