Artists Make Work From Salvaged Pieces of JFK’s Cape Cod Home

The local artists received some unusual art supplies thanks to a major renovation at JFK's house.

Cecil W. Stoughon, JFK and family in Hyannis Port, (1962) Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Cecil W. Stoughon, JFK and family in Hyannis Port, (1962) Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

President John F. Kennedy would have turned 100 on May 29 of this year. As part of the centennial celebrations, the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, located just two miles from the Kennedy family’s former Cape Cod home in Massachusetts, has enlisted 30 local artists to create artworks based on window panes, shingles, and rusty nails salvaged during a recent renovation of the property.

“The thought was to take advantage of the extensive art community on Cape Cod,” John Allen, the museum’s executive director, told the Associated Press.

JFK and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy owned the nine-bedroom clapboard home with their two children from 1958 until his death. Nicknamed the “President’s House,” it is one of three buildings in Hyannis Port’s famed Kennedy compound.

Donna Mahan, <em>Safeguarding</em>. Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum and photographer Ben Hughes.

Donna Mahan, Safeguarding. Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis MuseumDonna Mahan, Safeguarding. Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum and photographer Ben Hughes.

When the home’s current owners, Ted Kennedy, Jr. and his wife, Kiki, began an extensive structural renovation of the late world leader’s home in 2011, designer and builder Mark Grenier was well aware that he was dealing with a piece of American history. “This material was not worth of the dumpster,” he told a local FOX affiliate.

Construction debris that would have normally wound up in the trash, such as scraps of wallpaper and the hooks from an old porch swing, and even the floorboards from JFK’s bedroom, were instead saved in a storage trailer, and became the jumping off point for mixed media works.

Carl Lopes, <em>Spirit of Courage</em>. Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum and photographer Ben Hughes.

Carl Lopes, Spirit of Courage. Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum and photographer Ben Hughes.

Donna Mahan’s Safeguarding combines bent nails from Kennedy’s home with seashells from a local beach, representing the former president’s love of the ocean. Lauren Wolk’s wooden sculpture Camelot Sea Star takes its title from JFK’s association with the legend of King Arthur, stemming from Jackie Kennedy’s famed quote in LIFE magazine, “There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot.”

These works are currently on view at the museum in “Artwork Inspired by a Presidential Home,” and will be auctioned off to help raise money for planned renovations at the institution at a benefit event on August 7.


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