Written By: Leise Trueblood & Kelly McCarthy | Photography By: Kit Noble
Who will be Nantucket’s next big breakout artist?
As a restless fourteen-year-old stuck out in Madaket, Dan LeMaitre picked up a camera and began shooting the beauty of his own backyard. This hobby to ward off boredom soon developed into a full-blown passion that has since taken LeMaitre far from the shores of Madaket. In the past year and a half, Dan has lived in Australia and California, and spent months backpacking in Indonesia and Central America.
He has also gained access to the inner circles of world champion surfers on the North Shore of Oahu, capturing intimate moments of them away from the surf break. “I’m obsessed with the ocean, and Nantucket is definitely to blame for that,” he says of what has driven him around the world. “I feel at peace every time I submerse myself in the South Shore. I do my best work in the water.”
LeMaitre honed his craft at Nantucket High School, where photography teacher Beth Morris encouraged the fledgling photographer to swim against the tide. Although he plans to continue traveling, Dan LeMaitre feels a constant pull of the riptide back to Nantucket where he returns to recharge.
Lifelong summer resident Marina Morrissey is no stranger to hard work. A long-time dancer, Morrissey spent her teenage years touring around Massachusetts, Miami, and the United Kingdom before discovering her real love for acting and the theater. The Williams alum and current Brown/Trinity MFA student now has big plans for Nantucket, including making the island an epicenter for the creation of new theatrical work. “I would love to find a way to make this place a gestational development destination for theater, a year-round destination,” she explains. “I want to create infrastructure so that playwrights can come here in the fall, write into the winter, and enjoy the creative boons of being in such a remote, beautiful, and aesthetically stimulating location.”
After her debut role last summer as Peggy in the White Heron’s production of Family Furniture, Morrissey has won the hearts of many Nantucketers, including the president and artistic director of the White Heron Theatre Company, Lynne Bolton, who sings the young star’s praises. “I think Marina is one of those gifted people who was born to be an actress. She intuitively understands characters and situations. She has the will, and she certainly has the gift,” she says.
Marina is incredibly grateful for her start at the White Heron, and will continue her work with them this September in the White Heron’s upcoming production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Catch it before it closes September 9th.
Nantucket High School senior Morgan Sayle comes from a family deeply rooted in Nantucket artistry. Sayle’s great grandfather, Charles Sayle, was a celebrated scrimshander whose ivory carvings can be found in the Whaling Museum, while her grandfather, Bill Sayle, is an expert lightship basket weaver. Although her work differs from that of her eminent relatives, Morgan’s drawings and paintings are equally impressive. “I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pen,” she says.
Morgan has created an entirely new set of artistic standards for those her age. Cecil Jensen of the Artists Association describes her as one of the most talented, prolific young artists on Nantucket. “The judges for the annual Lloyd Schultz Awards recognized her fine eye for composition and said that her drawing skills were advanced beyond her age,” she says.
As an honors art student at Nantucket High School, Morgan submits her work to local gallery exhibitions and has earned two first-place prizes and one honorable mention in the past year. “Her line drawings are gorgeous in their detail, and they clearly illustrate her dedication to her craft,” Jensen says. At this time, Morgan considers drawing to be more of a passion than a career, though in the future she plans to carry the artistic legacy of the Sayle family forward on her own terms.
They say it takes a village, and Jacob Anthony Butler’s music career on Nantucket is the perfect example. After moving to the island with his family in 2003, when he was thirteen, Butler began his work as a musician under the watchful eye of his mother, a piano teacher with the Nantucket Community Music Center. “Even from an early age, he connected to the most inner emotions of vocal music,” says NCMC Executive Director Barbara Elder. After picking up both the guitar and cello, Butler widened his musical range to singing by performing with the Nantucket High School chorus, directing the singing group the Cobbletones, and even spending time studying music in Florence, Italy, and at the New England Conservatory.
Here on the island, he has collaborated with other local artists and recently debuted his first album, More to Offer, which was co-produced by Butler, Nick Ferrantella and Victor Ferrantella of Garden Rock Studios. “There’s been a lot of locally based artists involved, as well as collaborations from musicians around the country,” he says. “It’s uncommon for two painters to paint on the same canvas, but it’s totally common for two musicians to play on the same track.” At press time, a number of Butler’s tracks were being considered for cinematic and commercial use. Until you hear him on the big screen, you can enjoy Jacob Butler’s music here on the island at Kitty Murtagh’s, Cisco Brewery and Brant Point Grill.