2018 Annual Guide: Barnstable
Barnstable • Centerville • Cotuit • Hyannis • Marstons Mills • Osterville • West Barnstable
Sandy Neck Beach Park in West Barnstable offers breathtaking vistas of dunes, with the harbor, Sandy Neck and Cape Cod Bay as backdrops. For fun, check out the “Democrat” and “Republican” benches in front of Centerville’s 1856 Country Store and send a shot to your favorite political junkie.
Hyannis Harbor can’t be beat for life and color. Sit in the sun and people-watch, browse the Artists Shanties, or hop on a harbor tour boat. If it’s quiet you want, visit Mass Audubon’s Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary on the north side in Cummaquid, with lovely trails and gorgeous views. Stop in the visitor’s center for information on natural history, environment and trails.
Mom & Pops:
A true success story, Cape Cod Beer is still a family operation, and one that makes a point of supporting other small businesses. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, try a tour and shop their store. Next door is Summer House Soaps, another small business success—just try to resist the scents!
Celebrate Wine Wednesdays with your friends at the Cotuit Center for the Arts on the third Wednesday of every month. Enjoy wine tasting, music and some great art! In downtown Hyannis, look for the Open Streets festival on April 22, May 20, Sept 23 and Oct. 21—come play in the street! The annual West Barnstable Village Festival takes place in August with festivities throughout the village, including discounted train rides.
A day in the life of: David Kuehn, executive director of the Cotuit Center for the Arts
By Haley Cote
If you told David Kuehn 15 years ago that he would one day be the executive director of a community arts center on Cape Cod, he’d have scoffed at the notion. As he puts it, his mindset at the time was, “The only good art that happens anywhere is in New York City and nowhere else ever.”
But a conversation at a party in 2008 changed everything for Kuehn. Discussing community theater, an acquaintance told him, “You’ve had 25 years working in this business doing what you love, meeting the most talented musicians on the entire planet, but that doesn’t mean people don’t have talent who live in other places, and it doesn’t mean communities don’t need a place where their members can express themselves artistically.” To Kuehn, it was like a light bulb switched on. A year later, he was introduced to Jim Hoeck, board president of the Cotuit Center for the Arts. “When he offered me the job here, I took that moment at that party to heart and very excitedly accepted.”
Since starting as executive director in March of 2010, Kuehn says he has set out to make the Cotuit Center as accessible as possible to the broadest range of people, while providing the highest possible quality of artistic expression across the board. From an expansive arts program that includes Broadway-worthy theater productions, concerts featuring local and national acts, art exhibits and over 100 classes a year, to a network of community partnerships that offer opportunities in the arts to disadvantaged youth and adults, it’s safe to say Kuehn is fulfilling his mission, and then some.
“It’s been a really gratifying journey to have the community embrace what we’re doing,” he says. “People who come here feel ownership, they feel a sense of pride, and that’s just exponential.”
A native of Rockport, Indiana, Kuehn studied piano at UCLA, going on to land a job as a sales rep for RCA Records. In 1993 he moved to New York to run RCA’s classical division. At the time of the move, a friend introduced Kuehn and his husband, Alan Trugman, to Cape Cod. They fell in love with the area, Kuehn says, and decided to buy a house here, splitting their time between New York and the Cape. The two made a permanent move here in 2000, as Kuehn began working from home as a consultant for the San Francisco Symphony. During the course of the next 10 years, he also worked in real estate.
Life continues to keep Kuehn on his toes at the Cotuit Center for the Arts. His days are spent meeting with donors, planning events, and overseeing rehearsals and performances late into the night. “Many times I’m at rehearsal and no one knows it—I’ll just be skulking around,” he says. “Once the show opens, I’m there for at least 80 percent of the performances, to welcome people and get the show started.”
Kuehn is also hard at work planning the future of the center’s campus, as they recently bought the gas station and bakery buildings next door. “It was an opportunity that we didn’t think we could afford to miss,” he says. “Imagine how we can improve the curb appeal—we can reimagine our whole campus.”
While no two days are alike for Kuehn, there is one thing he does every day. “I intentionally drive all the way down 6A from Yarmouth Port through Barnstable Village,” he says, “to remind myself of where I live and the beauty of that winding road.”
For Kuehn, it’s been a humbling experience working for the Cotuit Center. “It just blows my mind the quality of the artistic talent that we have here on the Cape,” he says. “I often get to be the last person here, and I’ll walk through the gallery with all the lights on, admiring the visual art we have. I really appreciate the gifts everyone else gives me.”
Haley Cote is the assistant editor of Cape Cod Life Publications.
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