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Passing it On

A Youth Art Exhibit

by Jeannette de Beauvoir

Hannah Capra didn’t necessarily see herself as an artist, though “from the time I was a child I always had a pencil or paintbrush in my hand. One of my older sisters, Sarah, is an artist, and she would always paint and draw with me. But it wasn’t until sixth grade—when I joined a program at PAAM called Art on the Edge—that I started seeing myself as an individual artist.”

The Provincetown Art Association and Museum and the Oils By the Sea Roccapriore Gallery agree; Capra was chosen this year to be the fifth student artist in Shirl Roccapriore’s Youth Artist Program Exhibition, a yearly exhibition that celebrates developing local talent and also serves as a fundraiser to support PAAM’s award-winning Art Reach Program, the program that made all the difference to Capra. “I went from being embarrassed and thinking my art wasn’t good, to being so proud that I could accomplish a full portfolio of work at age 11,” she says.

Capra holds up a drypoint etching with mentor artist Vicky Tomayko at right

Capra moved on to the subsequent Art Reach program, where she’s continued to develop her portfolio; but it wasn’t just about achievement—it was about mentorship. Capra cites Vicky Tomayko, “an amazing artist, teacher, and someone who I consider a mentor,” and, especially, PAAM’s Curator of Education Lynn Stanley. “She has really taken me under her wing and provided amazing opportunities for me,” says Capra. “She’s known me since I was 11 and without her support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The artists I work with in PAAM’s programs are those who influence my art. Both the teenagers I work with and the preteens I mentor teach me so much.”

It’s not just her own work that interests Capra: it’s paying the mentorship forward. “I became a mentor for the very same program I got my origins in, Art on the Edge, this past year,” she says. “I love working with young artists and being someone they can look up to. I’ve noticed that they, like me, often doubt their works’ worth. They tend to put their work down and in general don’t think they are talented. I want to be the person who believes in them enough that they start to feel the impact of their work. And through teaching them to love their work, and themselves, I hope to take my own advice and do the same. I learn so much from my mentees, and I love every one of them because they teach me just as much as I could ever teach them. Middle school is when kids figure out who they are, and PAAM is a safe place to do just that. Helping them overcome challenges with their work is so rewarding, because I was them not too long ago! I’m also an intern at PAAM this summer helping teach kids five and up in Children’s Art Adventures—there’s just something about seeing a kid’s smile when they finish a project that makes me remember why I’m an artist in the first place: to make people feel something.”

Young artist Hannah Capra painting with oils

But that doesn’t mean that she’s trying to send a message. “I think my art makes more of a personal statement than anything political or social. When I create, I’m releasing an emotion, a memory, a part of me into the work,” Capra says. “I am split up into a million pieces—and when I say pieces, I mean art pieces! Not all my art is for other people, so I try not to come up with a purpose for it ahead of time (whether it sends a message or is just to warm the heart) because I prefer to let the viewer decide for themselves.”

Capra has already begun her career, with a firm idea of where she is going. She is currently a rising junior in graphic arts at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, but she has plans: “I’d like to go to art school and major in graphic design and minor in printmaking.” Well, that and a little more! “I also intend to get a graduate degree in art administration and art history,” she adds. “I want to work at an art museum one day. My first job was at PAAM, and I’ve known since I was 13 that I wanted to work at an art museum for the rest of my life. Maybe even PAAM! I would also like to get a teaching degree at some point so I can always teach art.”

What’s her biggest challenge? “My biggest obstacle is something I still battle with every day: loving myself,” admits Capra. “Sometimes it’s really hard to be the best version of myself possible, and I often feel like my best self isn’t good enough. But I never feel that way when I’m making art. As I get more comfortable with who I am my art gets better, and so does my life.”

Figure drawing class at PAAM.

Oils by the Sea youth exhibitions are timed to coincide with Provincetown’s week-long Family Week events and activities; the exhibition is part of a five-year vision to support developing artists and to give back to the Provincetown’s arts community. “Provincetown is an amazing place for artists, especially young ones,” says Capra. “The connections I’ve made are infinite, and being able to work with such talented artists is such an amazing privilege. Every day I think about how incredibly wonderful it is to be a part of a community as art-based as Provincetown.”

The 4th Annual Young Artist Exhibition featuring Hannah Capra’s work will be on view at the Oils by the Sea Roccapriore Gallery, 437 Commercial St., Provincetown, July 29 – August 6. There is an artist reception on Friday, August 4, 6 – 8 p.m. For more information call 508.280.1278 or visit

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Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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