Wise Beyond Her Years

Cape Cod Life  /  July 2023 /

Writer: Michelle Port

Artist Kate Merrick draws on her life’s experience to create art that resonates today. Long Point to Truro • 20" x 16" • Watercolor on Aquabord The well-known American poet, social activist, novelist, and playwright Langston Hughes famously wrote, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” While Cape Cod artist Kate Merrick, 80 years young, may have set her dream of becoming a full-time artist aside, she never let it die—and now, with the help of her son, it’s taking wing.  For so many, expressing themselves through their art, in whatever individual form that may be, is vital. Much has been written about the struggles that female artists, in particular, have in finding a balance between being a mother and an artist. Over the course of her life, Merrick too had to often set her craft aside in order to fulfill her other obligations and identities.  Merrick, raised in Falmouth was always surrounded by art as a child. One of eight children, she remembers she had a passion for drawing, early on. “It was just compulsive. I used to draw on front blank pages of my parents’ books. They weren’t too happy about that so they started buying me paper and crayons. I just kept it up. It’s all I wanted to do,” she laughs.  In middle school, Merrick clearly stood out as being unlike other students. She remembers, “I went to school in Falmouth, and I was the class artist—just always creating artwork.” Her creative skills set her apart and her teachers noticed. She was encouraged to expand her talents and was chosen for an opportunity that would become a defining moment in time. “The art teacher picked me, as well as another student to go to Woods Hole for…

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