Ted Merritt at the Spring Street Gallery
Ted Merritt will be introducing his new book “Ocean Attitudes” and showing related paintings at a reception at the Spring Street Gallery on August 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. The show will remain up until Sunday, September 5.
The book, an 80-page collection of lyrical poems and marine art, was written during the 2020 Covid sequester year. It reflects both his and his and his wife Janet’s Block Island experience.
Ted came to Block Island as a baby on his parents’ sailboat and has been an island visitor, and both a full and part time resident since. He and Janet currently winter in Arizona and summer in their house on the island.
He has been an observer of island resilience and island caring.
Merritt contends that Block Island’s location fifteen miles out in the ocean is instrumental in helping people learn to live together.
His father used to call Block Island the “poor man’s island.” He liked to vacation on an island where people had to work hard to insure survival. His father singled out the “Double Ender” sailboat as a symbol of island effort to survive. This fishing boat, popular until up to three decades ago, could sail in a gale and carry a large cargo of fish.
Merritt points out, in his book, that the main developmental factor in the history of the island has been its reliance on fishing and farming
for family support. He points out that wealth, created by the whale oil industry in the neighboring islands, has made a difference among the islands. For instance, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket had deep harbors able to accommodate large whaling square rigged sailboats and could market their whaling products, Block Island did not have that luxury. Hence the poor man nickname.
“Ocean Attitudes” is designed to provide an uplifting read. Merrit’s lyrical poetry is written about beach thinking influenced by ocean and
While light in tone, the book is intended to remind the “Covid world” that planet Earth, like Block Island, is also an island in space. Much like Block Island residents have, nations and cultures of the world must work together, to survive.
Whether it be the sharing of vaccine, or cleansing of the atmosphere, both islands have reached a point, he contends, where working together is the only solution.
The book will be available at the Spring Street Gallery.
The Saturday reception will feature Ocean Attitude Jazz by Cameron Greenlee and light refreshment by Janet Merritt and Linda Spak.
The show will include paintings done by students in a recent gallery class taught by Eileen Miller, Anna Mleczko, Robin Bell, June Knopf and Ted Merritt.
Selected paintings done by four- to 12-year-old art students will also be on display for sale at Merritt’s show.