Field Guide ADV | BEKS Condominium (Unit 1).
With a display-window bay on Commercial Street, Unit 1 is easily the most visible space at the BEKS Condominium, and it’s been occupied steadily since 1990. The first owners of the unit were Jonathan R. Summit and Valerie J. Kepler, who bought it from the BEKS Limited Partnership in December 1989 for $240,000. Their store was Opera, a year-round business that sold “fine contemporary jewelry by European and American designers, with high-quality diamonds and colored gemstones,” Gillian Drake wrote in The Complete Guide to Provincetown of 1992. Summit sold his own work there, along with crystal by Baccarat, Hoya, Lalique, Orrefors, Pairpoint, Saint-Louis, and Swarovski. They sold the unit in 1996 to Mary C. DeRocco, for $250,000.
Unit 1 at 167 Commercial in 2008, when it was Ruby’s Provincetown Fine Jewelry. Photograph by David W. Dunlap.
DeRocco operated Ruby’s Provincetown Fine Jewelry with her business partner Ruby Druss (1944-2017), who had grown up in the Bronx and had previously run Tumbleweed Jewelry, 374 Commercial Street, with Sandy Block. In the Explorer’s Guide of 2003, Kim Grant wrote about Ruby’s: “Mary DeRocco and Ruby Druss’s collection is an art gallery in its own right, featuring elegant and unique silver and gold designs for men and women. Particularly noteworthy are pieces that feature gorgeous Australian opals.”
The legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2004 proved a boon to Ruby’s, which sold rings to 400 couples. “That was a fantastic year,” she said.
For a time in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Francesca LaVecchia operated the Galleria Artemisia — after the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi — on the second floor of Unit 1. She represented Lynne Foy, Robert Goldstrom, Ramon Lombarte, David Sokosh, and others. LaVecchia and DeRocco are partners in Laruma L.L.C., which acquired the property in 2016.
The Jo Hay Open Studio gallery occupied the space from 2016 to 2018. Seen through the window is Hay’s Maddow portrait of Rachel Maddow, from the “Persisters” series. Photo taken in 2018 by Dunlap. (Maddow’s summer home is not far from here.)
The Jo Hay gallery showed works by Chris Lopez and others. 2016, Dunlap.
Left: One of Hay’s signature rabbit portraits, photographed in 2018 by Dunlap with uncustomary technical ineptitude, capturing himself in the reflection. Right: A display window at Field Guide Adv, which opened in 2018. Dunlap.
Field Guide window, 2018. Dunlap.
At this time, in 2016, the tenants were Jo Hay and her partner, Carolyn Kramer, the proprietors of Jo Hay Open Studio (also known as the Carolyn Kramer Gallery). Hay was born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. She earned her undergraduate degree at Middlesex University in London and her master’s degree in fine art from the New York Academy of Art in 2012. Hay also studied at the Art Students League of New York — almost a prerequisite for Provincetown artists. And she was awarded the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation Grant in 2010 from the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Kramer, who attended Boston University and was the assistant director of the Kobalt Gallery from 2012 to 2013, was the business partner in the gallery management.
They had opened the Jo Hay Open Studio in 2014 at 153 Commercial Street, closed up shop for a year because Kramer’s mother was ill, then reopened here in 2016. Kramer told Susan Rand Brown of The Banner that she appreciated the proportions of the first-floor exhibition space and the intimacy of the second-floor space, which gave the couple room to exhibit works from the artists represented by the gallery, including K J Shows and Tess Barbato. Hay also exhibited works including her “Persisters” series of oil portraits of prominent and important women, beginning with Maddow (2017). The canvases are powerful and quite large, either 60-by-48 or 84-by-72 inches.
Left: Ad from Provincetown Arts, 1996. Right: From The Banner, undated.
From the Provincetown Art Guide, 2010.
Left: From the Provincetown Gallery Guide, 2004. Right: Rack card, 2016.
From the Field Guide ADV website, 2020.
Jess Hughston Ewas, who attended the master’s program in historical archaeology at UMass Boston, opened Field Guide ADV in this space in 2019. The shop sells women’s and men’s clothing, accessories, and antiques. “As an avid mountain-biker and hiker, her clothing’s durability and versatility are essential,” the website said, speaking of Hughston Ewas. “These defining factors echo through her thoughtfully curated collection of clothing, art, and antiques. Everything in stock was chosen because of its power to enhance both indoor and outdoor experiences.”
She certainly convinced Ptownie magazine, which said in its 2019 review of the shop: “There’s something about the atmosphere at Field Guide that transports you to another time and space. A time when explorers followed hidden treasure maps, when mountains were climbed for the first time, when stories and spirits were shared around campfires. A space where other cultures are celebrated and studied, where tales are told, where legends are made.” Branded merchandise ranges up to $88, for a heavyweight hoodie or fleece zip-up. Hughston Ewas donated all profits from the sale of “Field Guide Provincetown” apparel to the Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force in the first half of 2020.
¶ Last updated on 2 August 2020.
167 Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 167 Commercial Street:
Thumbnail image: Photo, 2009, by David W. Dunlap.