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Background photo by Don Sylor

Nancy Ellen Craig

Artist

Dan Cutrona

In fifth grade, I went to a rodeo in the old Madison Square Garden. There was a scene at the very end with a horse and an Indian in the middle of the whole arena by himself, stripped to the waist, and the lights got dimmer and dimmer. I wanted to come back and express that scene. I was writing a lot at that point and encouraged to write. I realized that somebody else could express it as well as me in writing. But I thought nobody could do it better in painting.

I came here with my parents in 1950. I had just started to paint a few things, and someone told us about Jerry Farnsworth, a famous oil painter who taught in North Truro, and said, “You’ve got to go there.” I came here to study with Farnsworth for the month of August with my mother and father, then again the next August. In the meantime, I started doing portraits with very little training.

Having come here from a suburb of New York, Bronxville, a suburb that was very business-oriented, it was a revelation to find people who were artists, who lived for art, in Truro. It was a revelation to learn that life wasn’t always business-oriented. Truro has always had artists at its nucleus.

I still found the town exhilarating when my husband, Preston, and I would come back from New York. There’s a kind of freedom you feel, particularly on this end of the Cape. Truro is still more rural than other places. And there are no constraints, no social constraints or any of those things you feel living around the city. That’s still remained. I really do love Truro.

There is a tremendous sense of community to be on such a little spit of land, three miles wide and 40 miles out in the ocean.

It’s silly, but I just heard that the curve of the Cape generates a kind of energy, a creative energy, and that’s why so many artists end up in Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet.

We came to live here in 1963. Looking back, it wasn’t just a question of me falling in love with my husband, Pres. It was my art, really. I started coming here and feeling that sense of freedom and liberation, and it’s stuck with me all along.

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Jeff is the Managing Editor for Cape Cod Life Publications.

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Highland Light and Wireless Station, North Truro, Cape Cod, Mass

Highland Light and Wireless Station, North Truro, Cape Cod, Mass