The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod has tapped artist Carl Lopes of Marstons Mills as this year’s Citizens Bank Pops by the Sea commemorative artist.
According to Arts Foundation of Cape Cod executive director Julie Wake, the foundation has wanted to work with Mr. Lopes for years and cited 2021 as “the perfect year for his art because it is joyful, bright, vibrant and threaded with positive energy.”
Ms. Wake said the foundation chose Mr. Lopes, also a longtime arts educator, because he has been “a beacon of light and inspiration for so many children in our school system. His work in the classroom is a reminder of the vital role that the arts have in education.”
On Monday, February 15, Mr. Lopes appeared on the arts foundation’s Creative Exchange podcast, where he discussed his art and his work as an educator. The podcast may be heard on Apple, Spotify, or on the foundation’s website.
Originally from the New Bedford/Fairhaven area, Mr. Lopes came to Cape Cod in 1977 when he accepted a one-year post as a visual arts instructor at Barnstable High School. That job turned into a 35-year career. Mr. Lopes spent the last 24 years as the head of the school’s art and applied technology department.
Mr. Lopes retired from teaching in 2014 and immersed himself fully in his craft. By that time he had developed his current geometric, abstract style, which is influenced by African design and tradition. The vibrant colors, patterns and compositions are rooted in his ethnicity as a third-generation Cape Verdean-American. “A large part of my art is making a statement regarding who I am,” Mr. Lopes said. “The importance of my design comes from my heritage.”
His latest work will reflect these base elements while embodying the Pops by the Sea concert that is held annually every August on the Hyannis Village Green. Without giving too much away, Mr. Lopes said he is trying to create a piece that is “pulling the Cape, in terms of its personality, together with the joy of music.” Mr. Lopes said he will take elements from the Cape and, while using his own style, “turn them into patterns that represent music.”
As an Arts Foundation of Cape Cod board member, Mr. Lopes was excited to be selected for this honor. “It’s a nice feeling to know people have confidence in you as an artist,” he said.
Mr. Lopes said he is hopeful that the finished product, which will be unveiled in April, will elicit feelings similar to his other works. “My paintings make you feel happy,” he said. “I want my pieces to have a positive vibe and a positive feel when people approach them, study them, and look at them.”
The Pops project is the latest in Mr. Lopes’s 50-year career as a painter. His work has been exhibited at the Zion Heritage Museum and the Guyer Barn Gallery, both in Hyannis; Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford; Cotuit Center for the Arts; the Falmouth Art Center; and the Cape Cod Museum of Art.
Mr. Lopes holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Massachusetts and a master of fine arts degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He currently sits on the boards of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, the Cotuit Center for the Arts, and the Zion Union Heritage Museum, where he is a resident artist and lecturer on Cape Verdean culture.