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ALight on MARS – an outdoor exhibition

October 16, 2021 @ 6:30 pm

Manship will host a site-specific outdoor exhibition with work by sixteen members of the Boston Sculptors Gallery at Starfield. Their installations are inspired by the Manship Artists Residency’s new Firefly Initiative, the stunning natural setting and the Manship family legacy.

Since July, The Manship Artists Residency has been honoring some of its earliest “residents” — i.e., the fireflies — with a Year of Light. This celebration will continue through the Fall and into next year with special programming designed to draw attention to the magic and wonder of fireflies, as well as ways we can help their local populations flourish. As part of this effort, members of the Boston Sculptors Gallery have been invited to install site-specific work that uses light in some way on the Manship Artists Residency grounds.

It was Paul Manship, the sculptor of the Prometheus Fountain, who first recognized the importance of the luminescent beetles with which he shared his summer residence and estate. In fact, he named his property Starfield in honor of the fireflies that were there when he arrived, and he made sure they had a habitat in which they could thrive. Manship waited until the end of July to mow his meadow so that the fireflies would have a chance to go through their life cycles and so that he would have the pleasure of walking through a field of fireflies twinkling all around him just like the stars above — he preserved for himself and his guests a veritable “Starfield.”

Although the nightly dance of the fireflies will have passed when the exhibition opens on September 25th, sixteen members of the Boston Sculptors Gallery will directly and/or indirectly remind us of their presence (and their absence) with their light-inspired work. In addition to work that closely relates to the fireflies and the radiance of their courtship dance, some of the site-specific sculptures reference the history of this environmentally significant site and/or our need to conserve resources and employ alternative energy solutions. For example, Jessica Strauss’s floating “Big Dipper” constellation in Canneys Quarry employs solar technology for its light source while reminding us how Paul Manship chose this spot because it was a “dark place” where he could revel in the nightly display in the sky above. This month-long exhibition was juried and curated by Belinda Rathbone and Cynthia Roth.

The exhibition organizers have created an outdoor sculpture path which the public can follow as they explore the grounds and discover the new work created specifically for this show. The resourceful and clever use of historic and natural features on the site by members of the Boston Sculptors Gallery will offer even those who are well-familiar with the property a unique and exciting experience.

About the Exhibition:

ALight on MARS – The Boston Sculptors Gallery at Starfield

OPEN WEEKENDS only with self-guided tours

Free admission with timed-entry ticket required

For more information and to reserve your spot, visit ManshipArtists.org.

OPEN WEEKENDS – Now on display through  October 24, after Sunset

  • Wednesday, October 13 — Dark-Night Sky Viewing with Gloucester Area Astronomy Club.

  • Saturday, October 16Light in Flight — A participatory, community-based public performance on light-decorated bicycles developed by public artist and Manship Artists Founding Board Member Mags Harries. Rain Date: Sunday, October 17.

  • Thursday, October 21 — Virtual Online Talk. The Lightning Bug and the Lightening: Fireflies Need Dark Skies. Entomologist Avalon Owens shares her findings about the impact of artificial light on fireflies.

  • Saturday, October 23Closing celebration. Rain Date: Sunday, October 24.


October 16, 2021
6:30 pm


Manshship Artists + Studios
(978) 290-8438
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Manship Artists Residency + Studios
10 Leverett Street
Gloucester, MA 01930 United States
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