Redwood Library and Athenaeum

I’ve either driven past Redwood or stopped in briefly to drop posters at the front desk, but I never went on a proper tour until last weekend with my parents.

The Redwood Library and Athenaeum is the oldest library in the United States. Chartered in 1747 and built in 1750, it’s actually older than the United States itself. Today, Redwood not only serves as a library, but as a center for scholarship, arts and education for both academics and the public.

The original part of the building is closest to Bellevue Avenue, but the Redwood has expanded to accommodate its growth over time.

Always look up!

The main reason why my parents and I went to the Redwood was to check out their current art exhibit, Marine Paintings by John Mecray, in the Van Alen Gallery. John Mecray, a Jamestown resident, is “internationally renowned for his depictions of historic sailing ships.” His bio on his website elaborates:

Nine offshore yacht deliveries between New England, Bermuda, the Caribbean and countless yacht races have given the artist a personal knowledge of the effects of wind, sea and light on a variety of sailing vessels. Those experiences imbue his paintings with a sense of reality appreciated by sailors and non sailors alike. John Mecray’s authoritative images evoke an era that produced sailing vessels which are almost beyond comprehension today. His work has helped engender a greater appreciation for the magnificent racing yachts that are his trademark.

The exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Redwood Library and the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS), a trade school dedicated to preserving the craft of boatbuilding in Rhode Island. It’s worth noting that Mecray helped found IYRS in 1993 and still serves as a trustee for the School today.

For hours and ticket information, please visit the Redwood Library’s website.

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A Francophile based in coastal New England

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