Sunday, June 24, 2012

Check out the Boston Sunday Globe north Today!

Essex shibuilder wins arts fellowship
by Joel Brown
Boston Globe Correspondent

When called on his cell phone to ask about his big award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Harold A. Burnham said this:
“Could you call me back in about five minutes? I’m landing the boat at the dock.”
Figures. An 11th-generation Essex shipbuilder, Burnham built the 55-foot pinky schooner Ardelle, which he was docking at Gloucester Maritime on Wednesday morning, along with a number of other wooden ships that still sail local waters.
This week, Burnham was announced as one of nine recipients of 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowships, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. His fellow honorees include Tejano accordionist Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez and dobro player Mike Auldridge.
The fellowship comes with $25,000 and is intended to recognize that “these artists have honored the history of their art forms while also incorporating their own creativity and innovation to carry the art forms into the 21st century.”

Friday, June 22, 2012

Our First Music Night Sail

What a blast we had on our first music night sail last night. And, we had a photographer from Good Morning Gloucester on board to really record it all. Check out this link! 

A Mid-Morning Whiskey Plank Party...Well, Not Exactly.

We have been sorely neglecting our unsung heroes of the boatyard and would feel remiss if we did not say what an awesome job Bruce Slifer, with the help of Bernie Power and Mike Dyer, have been doing on building new spars for the Schooner Adventure.  What Bruce and Bernie are celebrating is the whiskey to speak...on the new Adventure boom seen in the bottom picture. They have been working through mud, rain, and heat to fit together and epoxy in place the pieces for this massive 65-foot Fir main boom. Great job Bruce and Bernie and you are truly the schooner Adventures' secret weapons...and have been working as volunteers without fanfare or much thanks and doing a great job!

Bernie and Bruce have a wee dram (of coffee that is) which Kathy Slifer brought over for the men. 

Fir main boom will be 65-feet long

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From the National Endowment for the Arts

Photo by Perry Ardelle Burnham

For immediate release                                              Contact:          Liz Auclair, 202-682-5744      
June 19, 2012                                                                           
National Endowment for the Arts Announces
2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowship Recipients

Recipients of nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts
to perform in Washington, DC October 4, 2012

Washington, DC — “Basketmaking for me is about innovation and creativity within the context of a traditional art form,” said basketmaker and 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellow Molly Neptune Parker. The same words apply to all recipients of the 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellows, which recognizes folk and traditional artists for their artistic excellence and efforts to conserve America’s culture for future generations. The fellowships are the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, and include a one-time award of $25,000.

Throughout their careers, these artists have honored the history of their art forms while also incorporating their own creativity and innovation to carry the art forms into the 21st century. For example, Harold Burnham, 11th-generation in a line of boat designers and builders, creates his vessels using hand tools and incorporating locally harvested wood, just as members of his family did some 300 years ago. However, while rooted in the past, Burnham's designs demonstrate his own blend of form and function. Another 2012 fellow, Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez, learned to play the accordion from his father, a giant of this early Texan-Mexican tradition, but then went on to collaborate with contemporary musicians such as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Ry Cooder.   

This year’s nine recipients are masters of diverse traditional art forms, including two that have never before been honored through the National Heritage Fellowships: Okinawan dancing and dog sled and snowshoe building. In addition, for the first time ever, the NEA is recognizing a director of a state arts agency for his work in promoting the importance of the folk and traditional arts in defining and giving life to a community.

The 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowship recipients are:
§  Mike Auldridge, Dobro Player (Silver Spring, MD)
§  Paul & Darlene Bergren, Dog Sled and Snowshoe Designers and Builders (Minot, ND)
§  Harold A. Burnham, Master Shipwright (Essex, MA)
§  *Albert B. Head, Traditional Arts Advocate (Montgomery, AL)
§  Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez, Tejano Accordion Player (San Antonio, TX)
§  Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone, Okinawan Dancer (Honolulu, HI)
§  Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy Basketmaker (Princeton, ME)
§  The Paschall Brothers, Tidewater Gospel Quartet (Chesapeake, VA)
§  Andy Statman, Klezmer Clarinetist, Mandolinist, Composer (Brooklyn, NY)
*Albert B. Head is the recipient of the Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellowship award. The Bess Lomax Hawes Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.

Profiles of the artists are available in the Lifetime Honors section of the NEA’s website, along with photos, audio, and video samples of their work.

"At the NEA, we are working to invest in, support, and celebrate all the arts in this country," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "From the tidewater gospel traditions of the Paschall Brothers to Mike Auldridge's innovative approach to the Dobro and Andy Statman's work in reviving klezmer music, these nine NEA National Heritage Fellows are not only national leaders in their art forms, but also leaders of their communities in which they live, work, and create."

The 2012 awardees will come to Washington, DC, in October for a series of events including an awards presentation and banquet at the Library of Congress, as well as a concert scheduled for Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. Free tickets will be available this fall. Check the NEA website for more details.

About the NEA National Heritage Fellowships
The 2012 honorees join the ranks of previous Heritage Fellows, including bluesman B.B. King, Cajun fiddler and composer Michael Doucet, cowboy poet Wally McRae, gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples, and bluegrass musician Bill Monroe. Since 1982, the Arts Endowment has awarded 368 NEA National Heritage Fellowships. Fellowship recipients are nominated by the public, often by members of their own communities, and then judged by a panel of experts in folk and traditional arts on the basis of their continuing artistic accomplishments and contributions as practitioners and teachers. This year the panel reviewed 200 nominations for the nine fellowships. The ratio of winners to nominees indicates the select nature of this national honor.

The NEA is currently accepting nominations for the 2013 class of NEA National Heritage Fellowships. The deadline is October 1, 2012. Visit the NEA's website to submit a nomination.

For more information on the NEA's National Heritage Fellowships, including bios, interviews, and audio selections for the NEA National Heritage Fellows; portraits of more than 155 NEA National Heritage Fellows by Tom Pich; and publications such as a 30th anniversary publication featuring a DVD-Rom, created by Documentary Arts, with photos, videos, and audio recordings of all the Heritage Fellows, and a Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide, visit

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

# # #

Harold Burnham Wins NEA National Heritage Fellowship Award

Well, we finally have the chance to announce the awesome news that Harold Burnham received a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship...particularly in the folk and heritage arts. So, we see that the announcement was made today. Harold is really, really happy about this coveted award and he had a lot of great people over the years rooting for him to win this lifetime achievement award. On Oct. 1, he will go to Washington, D.C. to receive the award from ... well, maybe from the First Lady .... followed by a dinner at the Library of Congress and ending with a big concert/show with the other recipients. We hope you will join me in congratulating Harold. On the NEA website, there is a great video of the building of the schooner FAME. Enjoy! 

From the National Endowment of the Arts Website

A master craftsman and dedicated student of design, Harold Burnham is the 28th member of his extended family to run an Essex shipyard -- a tradition that dates back to 1819 and includes 11 generations of his family.
Essex is a shipbuilding mecca -- a small town where the time-honored craft of traditional wooden boat building has been alive and well since the early 17th century. In the last 400 years, the town has produced more than 4,000 ships. In today's age of fiberglass boat construction, Burnham is widely considered to be the expert on working with wood. His designs are frequently praised for blending the traditional wood craftsmanship with today's safety and design standards.

In 1996, Burnham was commissioned to build a 65-foot charter schooner, theThomas E Lannon. The success of this project led to several other large commissions, including the Lewis H. Story, a boat that travels throughout New England representing Essex's maritime tradition.

Not only is Burnham a highly skilled craftsman, but he also has extensive experience operating and studying ships and marine life. He graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

With deep roots in his community, Burnham is passionate about sharing his extensive knowledge with those he works with. In 2001, he received a Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) grant in the traditional arts, and in 2003 received a MCC Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant. Harriet Webster, executive director of the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, praised Burnham's community involvement, "When Harold undertakes a project, it inevitably becomes a community project. He involves both skilled craftsmen and enthusiastic community members in the work, demonstrating and teaching as he goes. In the process, not only does he build fine boats, but he nourishes a community of individuals that develops an appreciation for and understanding of this traditional art form -- and determination to help keep that tradition alive."

In a 2011 interview with the Cape Ann Beacon, Burnham said, "Up into the last few years I considered building boats something that I wanted to do, and now I feel like it is something I want to preserve. Like an endangered species, once it's gone it can't be recreated. And so, I am happy to share what I have learned with anyone who takes an interest in the hopes that these skills will be carried on long after I am gone."
Sailing ship at sea

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to and from the men who built the schooner Ardelle - pictured here last year on a lobster break thanks so Steve Willard. We have had a lot of fun with these guys - almost all Dads' and really good Dads, too! We hope you consider taking your Dad for a sail this weekend on the Ardelle. Our sail times are on the website

And Happy Father's day to two great Dads. Tom and Steve Hastings, first cousins of the Burnhams.

Happy Father's day Harold

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Graduate

Alden Burnham getting his high school diploma

Nice job, Alden!

Prom night!

Nicole D'Ambrosio, Alden, Harold and (Nona) Maria Burnham

Marching in the Memorial Day parade

Playing the alto sax
Alden, you are one to watch!
OK, we know this will embarrass and perhaps frustrate young Alden but we have to say this was a week or so of milestones. Alden Burnham graduated from Manchester-Essex Regional High School and did so in great style..finishing off a great career with the high school band, and winning the national John Philips Sousa award, also Alden took a beautiful girl named Nicole to the senior prom and basically took that diploma at a great graduation ceremony this past Friday night in style.  This coming Thursday night we are going to have his graduation party on the Ardelle. Alden will be heading to Boston University on Sept. 1 so we do feel we need to take this opportunity to say you are one to watch, Alden, you will be great.

Alden in 2007 sailing with his dad, Harold, in the "Dunno" which Alden  and Aaron Snyder re-built that fall.
Harold and Alden working putting the finishing touches of paint on the Ardelle this past spring.