The Block Island Times

Go: A party at the Historical Society

By Lars Trodson | Jul 31, 2014
Photo by: Kari Curtis

Becoming a member of the Block Island Historical Society will never be so easy — or perhaps so much fun.

On Friday, Aug. 1, from 7 to 9 p.m., the Historical Society is holding a members-only party to celebrate the venerable institution.

A members-only party? That’s right, but you can go even if you’re not a member. A mere $15 donation not only allows you entry into the party, but it will also get each donor a year-long membership. Historical Society Executive Director Pam Gasner said her goal is to raise $75,000 this year, which will be used for upgrades to the Society’s building, including work on the façade, the foundation and the floors.

At the party, there will be prosecco and sushi, live music, and members of the Society, including President Bob Champagne-Willis, who will give tours of the Society’s displays and artifacts.

One of the highlights of the tour will be the collection of paintings by C. Sperry Andrews (1917-2005), who captured the island’s charms in a series of oils and watercolors, some of which will be seen for the very first time at the event. The Andrews show is called “Landscapes and Seascapes: Oil and Watercolor Paintings of Block Island’s Past.”

Sperry’s style is a unique combination of the Edward Hopper — his use of light — and children’s author and illustrator Robert McCloskey — who had a loose brushstroke. The paintings are colorful and evocative, leaning toward the impressionistic.

“He found his inspiration on Block Island,” said Gasner. Andrews painted here during the summer from the mid-1950s to the late 1990s. The paintings are for sale.

Sperry was a life member of the Historical Society and supported many of the programs over the years. The Andrews family has generously placed this collection of their father’s oil and watercolor paintings with the museum.

The Historical Society is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, please call (401) 466-2481 or visit

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