A Call to Inn Street Artists

A Call for Inn Street Artists

Photographer aims to bring more activity to downtown Newburyport

By Jim Sullivan Staff writer

NEWBURYPORT — While he may be well known for the Newburyport city scenes and landscapes he sells from his Inn Street kiosk, artist John William Brown is beginning to feel a little lonely downtown.

“There or more opportunities for art galleries in Newburyport now than there ever has been,” Brown said. “Just last year we had one of the major art galleries, the Walsingham Gallery, close down. When I was given my license in 2009, there were actually three art galleries on Inn Street alone.”

But Brown is not the type of person to sit idle when he sees a problem. After a McDonald’s kiosk found its way onto Inn Street to the consternation of many people during Yankee Homecoming in 2015, Brown decided to form the first Inn Street Artisans Revival last summer.

More than 35 artisans and nonprofit organizations such as Brown’s Spirit of Newburyport gallery, Amy’s Creations, Angela Chiklis and the Support the Pink House organization, lined Inn Street during last summer’s Yankee Homecoming, and Brown is putting out a call for even more artists, nonprofits and even chefs to join the event this year.

“This is also a call to farmers,” Brown said. “We would like to include an agricultural element to the revival this year as well. So we would like to have a farmers market mixed in with the artisans and the nonprofit and humanitarian groups. That was one element we really didn’t get off the ground last year.”

Brown also extended his invitation to a local winery and brewery to take part in a potential revival tasting event.

“Whether it is a lack of interest or support or the higher rents, whatever it is, we are losing it,” Brown said. “The revival has really given us a platform to say, ‘Hey, this works.’ We hit it out of the park (last year) and we made some good money.”

Eric Hover, a steering committee member of the Support the Pink House organization, said having a kiosk on Inn Street last summer was important to his cause, which is trying to save the legendary vacant Pink House located along Plum Island Turnpike.

“Yankee Homecoming was pivotal for us turning things around,” Hover said. “Not a lot of people knew who we were then, and because of all the people that were there, we got a lot of exposure. It gave us a lot of visibility.”

The owner of Amy’s Creations, Amy Sciuto, said the Inn Street Artisans Revival gave her an excellent opportunity to sell her wares to an appreciative audience.

“It was awesome and I did very well,” Sciuto said. “I do this full time and I travel, and to be home and do it locally is such a positive for me. I just wish Newburyport would do more of it.”

An artist working in photographic images, Brown has been selling his iconic images from Inn Street for the past nine years and spoke to the importance of city festivals to a business like his, which many visitors expect to see when they arrive.

“When you take into account the Spring Festival and the Harvest Festival, which are both organized by the Chamber of Commerce, that is really all there is,” Brown said. “That is not good enough for an artist to make a living at. Two or three festivals a year doesn’t cut it.”

Brown asked that artisans interested in joining this year’s revival visit the Yankee Homecoming website (yankeehomecoming.com/event/inn-street-artisans-revival) to apply.

Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter  @ndnsully.

A Community Call to Action

Dear Friends of the Revival,
You are receiving this email notification because you were part of the first ever Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival last year, have shown interest in the Revival, or have been determined that the Artisans Revival may be of some interest to you. If you would NOT like to be part of this email list, or would no longer wish to receive these updates for the 2017 event, or related interests, please reply with ‘Remove’ in the subject line.
This update is in regards to the following points of interest;
1. Vendor participation and reservations for the 2017 Revival
ALSO; “A Community Call to Action
2. Notification of an upcoming meeting regarding the creation of a local, creative, Home Studio Network.
3. Notification of an upcoming meeting regarding Newburyport Transient Vendor licenses, and creation of an Artisans Market.
I am reaching out to the Newburyport Daily news writer, Jim Sullivan, who has been instrumental in following the creation of the Inn Street Artisans Revival from the beginning (See Article Links below), and possibly doing yet another article regarding this ‘Community Call to Action“.
First, for anyone who has not received the first update of 2017, the Inn Street Artisans Revival second annual event will take place during Yankee Homecoming on July 29th – August 6th 2017. Prime Inn Street Vending booths are now available based on a first come first serve basis. Due to the huge success of last years inaugural event, the interest and success of local artisans, buoyed by the increased exposure of local buskers, musicians, non-profit and humanitarian groups, healing and culinary artisans, the Revival expects to fully reserve all of its vending spaces for this years event. So much so, that any future artisan vending for the Revival beyond 2017 may be by juried selection, or previous commitment only.
In other words, if the Revival is something you are looking forward to, as well as being part of one of the most exciting new events in the second longest running festival in America….be sure to take advantage of early registration and be part of this year’s show!
For those of you that have already reserved your space, thank you for booking early and I will be following up with all of you shortly.
If you were part of last years event and you have NOT reserved your space as of yet, please get in touch with me and let me know if you intend to take part in this years event. I will make every effort to reserve your space. However, I would like to have all deposits for reservations by April 1st, with balances paid by June 1st.
Even in the wake of lasts years inaugural success of the Revival, there were still many elements that I would like to see expounded on. One in particular was the participation of local farmers, culinary, and agricultural industry, whether it was due to promotion of the event or lack of interests. If you are, or know of, a local farmer, dairy, organic food, or agricultural business, please have them get in touch with me. We will try once again to create a local Farmer’s Market element to the Inn Street Revival, including local wineries and breweries to feature a ‘wine and beer’ tasting event.
Secondly, many local artisans have felt that Newburyport is losing it’s unique, creative, small business ‘appeal’ that has drawn both locals and tourist to this historic seaport over the years. On top of rising retail rates, small business, especially artist, are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a brick and mortar retail outlet in downtown Newburyport. At a time in which Newburyport has been recently designated a ‘historic and cultural district’ in the State of Massachusetts, many are seeking more support, interaction, and inclusion from the city.
Regardless, and more than ever, many fine artists, photographers, musicians, agriculture (farmers), non-profit and humanitarian groups, healing and culinary arts, are moving forward and developing ‘Home Based Studio’s, and turning to the internet for marketing and promoting their local business.” Hence the idea for the creation of a ‘Home Studio Network“.
Are you a local artisan, musician, non-profit, humanitarian, farmer, healing or culinary artist with a local, or home based studio in the greater Newburyport area?
Fed up with the out of control rental rates in downtown Newburyport?
Feel that Newburyport is losing its local, creative appeal in exchange for more commercialized ‘bling ching’?
Looking for an alternative way to market, promote , and empower yourself and your small creative business?
If you are interested in being a part of a Home Studio Network, please contact me as we are now looking to set up the first ‘Home Studio Network’ meeting to consider alternative ways to promote and market our small creative business ventures. Let me know when a good time for you to meet would be. I will then contact you with a proposed time and place (possibly my new “home studio’ for the Spirit of Newburyport) for the first Greater Newburyport  ‘Home Studio Network” meeting.
Lastly, this dovetails into the final point of this update, and that is the issue of possible expansion of Newburyport Transient Licenses. The Inn Street Artisans Revival was created with the intention as a stepping tone, and possible ‘demonstrational model’, for a more permanent or semi-permanent, seasonal ‘Artisans Market’ in downtown Newburyport. 
Personally, as the one and only artist to be granted a city transient license in the city of Newburyport (Of which there are ONLY three) for the past eight years, I am appalled that during this time no movement whatsoever has been made by the city itself to either expand the available transient licences for other artisans or see any effort at all to create a downtown Artisans Market. Then again, there really has been any concerted community effort to make this happen!
Enough. The time has come to reach out to the local community and force more attention on the issue and create the avenues that need to be created in order to give local artisans a more viable and visible opportunity to promote and market their wares in a seasonal and/or year round prime market space.
Many feel that this is not only beneficial to the local artisans that make up this community, but also for the community and city itself in order to restore the creative, inspiring, local culture that seems to be intentionally eliminated due to the emphasis on more commercial and corporate pursuits.
The Inn Street Artisans Revival was created out of a backlash to commercial overreach on Inn Street. The same ideas and elements of empowerment can be applied to create more permanent avenues of trade and commerce for local artisans and small business ventures to further its appeal as a local, and truly more cultural and diversified, district.
The meeting for a Home Studio Network can be separate, or combined in one all encompassing meeting with the ‘expanded transient’ license and Artisan Market concept.
Let me know if there is anyone else out there that feels the same as I do and is interested in rising to the occasion to do something about it…just like we have with the Inn Street Artisans Revival.
For more insight on an Artisan Market proposal that I have had for many years now, please see;
As well as much more information in the links below.
Thank you and look forward to hearing from you and your ideas,
suggestions and contributions to any and/or all of the above!

Best Regards,

John William Brown
Spirit of Newburyport
42B Federal Street
Newburyport, MA 01950

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street
Artisans Revival Coordinator

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival

Newburyport Daily News Article – Worth The Price of Admission
Newburyport Daily News – Home Grown Festival
Yankee Homecoming Chairman Plans New Events
Artisan Revival Library Presentation

Ester Sayer Interview

As part of a continuing series of interviews conducted for the ‘Making of the Revival’ documentary by coordinator and Artisan John Brown of the Spirit of Newburyport, this interview with Ester Sayer is the first part of an elaborated exchange between some of the Inn Street Brick and Mortar businesses and concerns prior to the event, as well an ongoing dialogue between just about anyone who is someone in the City of Newburyport, resulting in a citywide organizational co-operative effort in adding the final touches to the Inn Street Artisans Revival, the Inn Street Pictorial Banners. (Designed by the way, by Inn Street Gallery owner Greg Nikas of Sweethaven.

To me as coordinator of the Revival, this resulted in one of the most prouder moments as an artist in Newburyport, but also as one of the most emotional gratifying.

Please stay tuned…

Artisans Revival Radio Interview

WNBP Local Pulse Radio with Joe Dibiase interview with John Brown of the Spirit of Newburyport on the creation of the very first Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival 2016. For more information please go to the Yankee Homecoming events web page ; or for the full story of the ‘Making of the Revival” go to the Spirit of Newburyport Bog.

This blog post will follow up with Joe Dibiase and Local Pulse radio interview live on Inn Street on August 6th, 2016 with Eric Hoover from Support the Pink House representing the Non-Profit and Humanitarian element of the Revival, and Lexi Simmons of VynlTime, and Inn Street Revival Artisan.

The Birth of the Inn Street Artisans Revival

It had been talked and joked about many times over the course of the past year regarding how the Inn Street Artisans Revival was born. So, in my own words, here is the full story;

After the release of the now infamous ‘Inn Street Blues‘ Newburyport Daily News article on August 2, 2015, (The day before the last day of the festival) Dennis Palazzo made his way down to Inn Street on a Public Relations Mission. Here is when I had an opportunity to engage him regarding some of my concerns.

What Dennis hadn’t realized at this point was that I had many years of pent up frustration regarding what I, and many others, had come to view as an over commercialized and over corporatized Homecoming event. One that had strayed off its original vision for years, and after having one of the worse Yankee Homecoming events in recent years, I was ready to unleash my fury. Unfortunately, or fortunately in hindsight, Dennis was my target, as well as a few others who were ready for a public lynching.

Of course, the biggest beefs (pardon the pun) were the very presence of a McDonalds Kiosk on Inn Street. But that wasn’t all. It was the overall inconsiderate and pompous attitude of the kiosk itself, parked right in front of a local restaurant, as well as its ‘theater ropes’ blocking and cordoning off a section of Inn Street itself. I mean, who do these people think they are?

They had come to the wrong city, and the wrong street in America, and the people of Newburyport made it known. Dennis Palazzo, on behalf of the Yankee Homecoming Committee, had made a mistake. On top of some other bad judgments in the placement of food vendors on Inn Street, and the utter lack of consideration for the existing ‘art vendor’ (and I might add, the ONLY art vendor on Inn Street), had reached a boiling point. This was it. I had had enough, and I was about to make known that this was the ‘Straw that broke the YH corporate sponsored back’.

Perhaps a different time, a different person, and different circumstances, a different result may have occurred. But I have said many times over the past year and have given much credit for how it was handled. Many would like to credit me for bringing about the Inn Street Artisans Revival, but, I really feel that the real credit was the level of professionalism that was demonstrated by Dennis Palazzo. Dennis didn’t have to be down on Inn Street that day. He could have stayed away and coward in another safe zone of the city. But he didn’t. He came down to Inn Street and met his accusers head on. As a matter of fact, he even went one step further. After our initial discussion he set up a ‘community meeting’ and invited anyone that had a gripe to come a vent and discuss their issues. In hindsight, none of what was to happen after the initial conversation between Dennis and I mattered. Because none of what was to happen after that was going to change anything that was discussed and proposed during that initial conversation.

To the best of my recollection, here’s how the conversation went:

I could tell I had pushed Dennis to the point of physical retaliation. I could see it in his eyes. Perhaps if we were in a different place and a different time he would have hauled off and punched me. As I have joked many times, I am fortunate, as well as Yankee Homecoming on a whole, that he refrained. Personally I was grateful he didnt, as I was to find out later that Dennis was a black belt in Karate. I may had never gotten off the ground. Instead, after all my complaining and grievences had been aired, and probably due to his professional training in the martial arts, Dennis asked the one question that changed everything;

‘Do you have any better ideas John’, he asked?

My response that  was about to change history of the Yankee Homecoming on Inn Street in Newburyport was then given.

“Well Dennis, seeing that I am the one and only artist down here on Inn Street for the past ten years, and I have had a lot of time to think about it,….it just so happens that I do.”

It was then I proceeded to tell him of my idea of replacing the commercial and corporate vendors located on Inn Street with a more local, arts and crafts foundation. I then asked  what motivates him to do what you do with these vendors? His answer was the most honest and obvious. “Money.” he said. We need to pay for the festival and this is the only way to do it. I told him I understood that we need to pay for the festival, but it was here in which I disagreed on how. I asked him on how much he got from the outside commercial and corporate vendors. He then told me.

I then said, what if you were to be able to raise that much money from a more local arts and crafts based venue? He didn’t think it was possible,….but, he liked the idea and was willing to think about it.

Dennis showed up at my cart the next day, Sunday, August 3rd, the last day of the 2015 Yankee Homecoming. He said, you know John, I took up the idea with my wife last night. She thought it was a great idea. She said, ‘Dennis, how come you never thought of that’?

The rest was to become history. I’ve said it many times since. Dennis also states in the following video, ‘My Mother always taught me to make a positive out of everything”. We all make mistakes. It always comes down to what we do with them. We can learn and correct them, and grow, or we can stay in denial, and allow our egos to lead us astray.

Dennis and I made a deal that afternoon on Inn Street. I told him I would give him a year of my life and organize the Inn Street Artisans Revival on the condition that I had full control over who participates and NO commercial or corporate outside vendors would be involved. We shook hands, and he said if it doesn’t work out then we go back to the way it is and no one says anything.

He also said, “If it does work out and you pull this off, Ill make you a banner and we will hang it from Market Square”.

I will continue to make post regarding the ISAR, as well as videos. I will also be doing a ‘Post Revival’ summary regarding the economic and public success of the Revival as well as some of the ‘Post Revival” disappointments.

Please stay tuned.

Inn Street Artisans Revival 2016 The Making of the Revival


During the course of the Inn Street Artisans Revival, as well as the time leading up to it, I did lots of videos and interviews. I am in the process of weaving them into a documentary. Ill be presenting bits and pieces here.

Here is a short interview with Patrick Ryan, a customer of The Spirit of Newburyport for the past ten years. Patrick is a long time resident of Newburyport and has been attending Yankee Homecoming since 1991.

I believe this interview is significant due to the broad nature and vast understanding of the economic relevance of what the Revival demonstrated on a community level.

Ill be posting snipets of the documentary along with more commentary within this blog in an attempt to integrate the many different elements of the Revival. Please stay tuned.



Local Pulse Radio – (9 AM Saturday Morning

Wnbp’s Local Pulse We’re excited! To learn more about the Artisans’ Revival, tune in to Local Pulse this Saturday at 9:00 am when we’ll be talking with John Brown about it. And be sure to stop by on Saturday, August 6, when we’ll be broadcasting live on WNBP 1450AM & 106.1FM “The Legends!” from Inn Street.
Joe Dibiase – Local Pulse Radio
Please scroll down to show #147 for interview with John Brown on the Inn Street Artisans Revival.

Critical Mass – Newburyport Commons; Are you excited yet? Hell ya!

Dear Friends and Participants of the Inn Street Artisans Revival,
I am going to try, as hard as it may be, to keep this as brief as I can ; )
Right now, we stand at a precipice of critical mass in creating history.
There are two things that I need to please ask each and everyone of you to do right now, or as soon as you can.
One of the early stories that led to the catalyst of the Revival was a conversation that took place on Newburyport Commons last year at, or around this time. This conversation ultimately created the Inn Street Blues article. You all should be very familiar with that article by now, so I’m not even going to bother posting that link….or telling the story,…nor get into any of the specifics that is leading up to this post ; )
BREATHE Johnny….
So Im going to get right to the point.
There is now an Inn Street Artisans Revival Facebook page.
I need everyone to please go there and like it. then share it.
Then please thank Liz U for do a fantastic job for stepping up and creating it and please support her in her ongoing efforts to promote this event all week long.
Then I need you to please go to Newburyport Commons Facebook
If you are not register, please do now.
A poll and conversation asking if you are excited about the Inn Street Artisans Revival has now been created by Joe Moakley Jr.
(Joe Moakley (Senior)
American Politician
John Joseph “Joe” Moakley was an American politician who served as the United States Representative for Massachusetts’s 9th congressional district from 1973 until his death in 2001)
I need to please ask each and everyone of you to go to this poll and tell Joe, and the city, how excited, and proud, you are to be part of the first ever Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival 2016, NO MATTER THE OUTCOME.
I said it before, and Ill say it again. History is in the making.
And you are a part of it. Its something to be proud of, and don’t ever forget it!
Best Regards,

John William Brown
Spirit of Newburyport
32 Water Street
Newburyport, MA 01950

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street
Artisans Revival Coordinator

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival

Newburyport Daily News – Home Grown Festival
Yankee Homecoming Chairman Plans New Events
Artisan Revival Library Presentation

A Home-Grown Festival

BRYAN EATON/Staff photo John William Brown is on a committee that worked to bring more local vendors and local artists to locations on Inn Street during Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming instead of out-of-town vendors and sales displays.
Dear Friends and Participants of the Inn Street Artisans Revival,
Today begins an intensive promotional campaign with a featured article in todays Newburyport Daily News. It will be followed up Saturday morning just prior to the opening commencement of the Revival in a live broadcast interview with your’s truly on the WNBP’s Local Pulse Radio Show with Joe Dibiase at 9.a.m..
Since there will be numerous changes throughout the week with all the different Artisans, Musicians, Non-Profits and Performers that are scheduled, there will be plenty opportunity by the local promoters and press to feature different stories of all the diversity that the Inn Street Artisans Revival plans to bring to the area and festival.
I will be making a special effort to make sure the names of every Performer, Artisan and Participant of the Revival is given his due credit in coming forward and claiming their seat in the First Annual Inn Street Artisans Revival. There will be a follow up news article during the festival next week, as well as a live broadcast by Joe Dibiase at the Inn Street Stage on Saturday Morning, August 6th.
I am doing everything I can to make sure the schedules for Sunday and beyond are posted as SOON AS POSSIBLE! Please bare with me.
This is only the beginning. For those that have never did Yankee Homecoming before and are in it for the long haul, remember this. From over ten years of experience doing this festival, my best suggestion is take it slow and pace yourself. Drink plenty of water and try to get the right amount of sleep! And lastly, but most importantly, try to have fun.
If there is anything you need, please let me know. I am here…for you.
Because I’m gruff, I’m tough, and I’m ready to do battle!
We are taking it to the Street!
Let’s have some fun!!

A Home-Grown Festival
Inn Street Artisans Revival a new feature for YH

Yankee Homecoming is known as a weeklong event that caters to thousands of visitors.

But local artisans will get their due when the 59th edition unfolds this weekend.

A program called Inn Street Artisans Revival has been developed to make sure local artists, craftspeople and musicians get good billing in a valued local spot — Inn Street.

Organizers say attention to locals was championed because last year numerous vendors from national food chains and/or sales teams had prominent locations on Inn Street or Market Square.

Some local vendors expressed concern, pointing out that Yankee Homecoming started as an event by local talent.

So this year, Inn Street will be populated with many booths run by those from the Newburyport area.

“We want local artisans to have a good chance at success,” said John William Brown, a photographer who has spearheaded a greater recognition of local talent on Inn Street.

“The original vision of Yankee Homecoming was to feature Newburyport artisans, shops and food choices. We’d had great response to our idea of seeking nearby talent, and many locals will be setting up shop here.”

Yankee Homecoming starts Saturday and runs through Aug. 7.

Inn Street is a coveted locale for small businesses, and Homecoming organizers are encouraging the Inn Street Artisans Revival so local participants can find an audience.

Presentations will include appearances by talented youth artists. The Artisans Revival will also host representatives of art, crafts and healing arts.

There will be an Inn Street Farmers Market and Culinary Arts.

Paul Swindlehurst, general chair of Yankee Homecoming, said, “Last year we did receive some criticism from local businesses about the Inn Street programming, particularly regarding out-of-town vendors. This year we headed in a whole new direction.

“John Brown stepped in and has an amazing group of local artisans, performers and small businesses that will hew closer to the original intent of Yankee Homecoming — a home-grown festival.

“I’m thrilled that we are able to offer the Artisans Revival as an important, new tradition for YH.”

Also, local nonprofit and humanitarian organizations will be hosted.

The “Revival” starts Saturday about noon with a sacred circle dance led by Ellen Kennedy.

Other artists and/or performers Saturday are scheduled to include: ArtyParty, with Diane Soares; Endless Energy, Jeff Cohen; Plum Island art, Sandra Turner; Amy’s Creations, Amy Sciuto; At the Beach, Darlene Grady Duggan; Golden Closet, Laura and Megan Golden; Angela Chiklis; Jafra, Deb Pynknowski; Fun Face Express (face-painting by kids); Ariana Bahret, lifeline practitioner; and culinary arts, at the nearby Greek Church, John Tasakirgis.

Brown will be offering high-end photos at his stand near Market Square. Many are artistic shots of the Merrimack River and other naturalist selections.

Organizers say that healing arts will be represented.

Among those slated to participate include Roberta Hoseman (crystal/healing stones); Kristin Robinson, reflexology; Laurie Perkins, animal and medium readings; Ariana Bahret, energy healing; and Michelle Lomasney, massage.

Diane Gronbeck, co-owner of the Brass Lyon gift shop at the base of Inn Street, said, “Another Yankee Homecoming is just about here, and all of us will be ready for the another year.

“Our store gets hundreds of visitors each day, and it will be a busy week for all vendors.”