Salty Air

A Flag Inspired by the Cape Cod Canal

Laura M. Reckford
Written by Laura M. Reckford
Artist Karen Scata poses with her daughter, Siena Bos, 10, in front of the American flag she designed using the artwork of children from Bourne, Sandwich and Wareham.

Artist Karen Scata poses with her daughter, Siena Bos, 10, in front of the American flag she designed using the artwork of children from Bourne, Sandwich and Wareham.

BUZZARDS BAY – In the flurry of sensations that was the Cape Cod Canal Centennial, an artist with an idea stood as a testament to inclusion.

Karen Scata, 49, of Bourne is an artist who usually works in acrylic paint.

But three years ago when she heard about the canal centennial, she came up with the idea to tie together the three towns on the canal, Bourne, Sandwich and Wareham, by creating a large stylized American flag that included the work of local children. inspired by the canal.

She asked the children what the canal meant to them. What she got in return was hundreds of images of the waterway and bridges.

She and a panel of judges chose just 100 to be included on the piece.

The four by eight four work becomes more interesting the closer you look. That’s because contained in the flag are dozens of small drawings by local children.

Skata received funding from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, Figawi Charities and—why not?—Bic Pens, which donated the markers that served as the children’s artistic instrument of choice.

The flag’s stars are starfish in keeping with the maritime theme. There are six of them because Massachusetts was the 6th state to join the Union in 1788.

Among the drawings are some that strike a particularly poignant chord.

A drawing that includes the canal inside the shape of a heart was made by a child who recently received a pacemaker.

Another drawing was done by an autistic child whose mother was particularly moved by the achievement and the way the project allowed the boy to be included with his peers.

An art teacher said the inclusion of the work of one of her students—a girl who was always in trouble—had made a major positive difference in the girl’s behavior. It had made her proud and confident.

Skata wants the flag to be kept near the canal. The current plan is for it to be displayed at the Sandwich Visitor Center, a perfect introduction for visitors to the creative side of Cape Cod.

 

– Laura M. Reckford

 

About the author

Laura M. Reckford

Laura M. Reckford

Laura M. Reckford is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. She has been a reporter and editor on Cape Cod for more than 20 years in magazines, newspapers and radio. She has also authored numerous Frommer’s Travel Guide editions on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

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