Center 14


Provincetown Magazine | Center Garden Condominium (Unit 3).

Founded in 1977, Provincetown Magazine is the oldest of the three principal periodicals serving the town. (Provincetown Arts dates to 1985 and The Provincetown Banner to 1995). It’s a glossy, pictorial arts and entertainment guide, published from April through October and distributed for free, that concentrates on the social and cultural scene of the moment without forgetting that the tides make Provincetown tick. (A tide table is in every issue.)

Originally, the magazine was more of an offbeat literary and design showcase, featuring the work of Candy Jernigan, Mary Oliver, and E. J. Kahn III, among others. Louis Postel, the publisher of issue No. 1, had been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in 1971-1972. He acknowledged that the magazine began like something of a spinning top. “Everyone has his own idea,” he wrote in his opening note to readers. “But that’s no kind of editorial direction.” So it proved.

Richard LeBlond was the first editor. He would go on to co-found the Provincetown Conservation Trust in 1980 and the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts in 1986. His discovery of a rare dragon’s mouth orchid at Shank Painter Pond was credited as a factor in mitigating development of what is now a wildlife sanctuary. LeBlond’s work on the Cape led him to a new career as a botanist in North Carolina.

Candy Jernigan — a New York painter, sculptor and set designer who was married to the composer Philip Glass — gave the original Provincetown Magazine its compelling, distinctive look. Each page seemed to have a slightly different aesthetic, but the engaging overall result could be described with the same words The New York Times used to speak of the rest of her oeuvre: “Witty, vivid collagist work that was as much social commentary as art.” Jernigan died in 1991, at 39, of liver cancer.

As is often true with embryonic creative enterprises, Provincetown Magazine got off to a tentative organizational start. By issue No. 2, Postel moved over to join LeBlond and Stewart Weiner as one of the magazine’s three top editors. And Jim Smyth, who had headed a nationwide chain of trade papers, was the new publisher. “I saw this concept/art/discovery magazine as a boon to the immediate needs of the community — and myself,” Smyth wrote in his opening note.

Gary L. Chefetz and Jim Evangelista were co-publishers in the mid-1980s, by which time Provincetown Magazine had moved from its birthplace, 333 Commercial Street, into its current home at 14 Center Street, which Chefetz purchased in 1984. Tara Adler and Jim Hildreth were co-editors.

Richard R. “Rick” Hines became the publisher in 1992 and remains that today, through Brutus Inc., a corporation organized in 1999 with Ronald Polcari, a/k/a Ron Robin, who then owned the Mews restaurant. Hines bought a small version of the Pilgrim Monument — at a scale of about 1/35th of the original — at a North Truro art gallery in the 1990s. It now stands like a sentinel next to the magazine’s front door, though it’s typically occupied by nothing more ferocious than mourning doves.

In 2008, Rebecca M. Alvin, a filmmaker, writer and associate teaching professor at the New School in Manhattan (from which she received a master’s degree), became the editor of Provincetown Magazine. The associate editor, Stephen Desroches, an alumnus of the Columbia Journalism School and The Cape Codder, has been a prolific contributor to the magazine since he joined the staff in 2009, revealing many hidden stories that have added considerably to the record of town history. The graphic designers are Ginger Mountain (since 2007) and Patricia D’Auria; the sales directors are Peter Donnelly (Desroche’s husband) and Lee Hudson. Jeannette de Beauvoir is the contributing writer and the ubiquitous Dan McKeon is the event photographer.

Hines introduced a new website, pmag.provincetownmagazine.com/new/, in 2018. One of its terrific features — for this historian, at least — is the ability to page through virtual copies of the print edition.

¶ Last updated on 19 March 2018.

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