chat with a local :: Julie Wake 

When she’s not planning the annual Pops By The Sea, a summer concert series, and all sorts of forums, Arts Foundation of Cape Cod Executive Director Julie Wake lives in Centerville with her entrepreneurial husband, two energetic kids, a newspaper fetching lab, and an orange cat named Vegas. We’re guessing life is never dull at the Wake house – nor in Julie’s role supporting and promoting Cape Cod’s arts-based creative economy. She took a few minutes to chat with us about her Cape Cod story, the important role of the arts here on the sandbar, and how we can all get more involved.

Tell us about your path to Cape Cod.
I am not a Cape Cod native, but my family has been here since the late 1980s. I grew up in Wrentham but spent many childhood summers fishing at the Cape Cod Canal with my dad. It was my parents’ dream to have a home on the Cape, and they made that happen after I graduated from high school. I headed off to Boston to attend college and then San Francisco to follow the high-tech boom.  I came back to the Cape when I met my husband while visiting my family. I have always considered Cape Cod my home.

Can you describe a day in the life of the Arts Foundation executive director?
I am always thinking about how the Arts Foundation can make a greater impact on Cape Cod.  Our mission is to support, promote, and celebrate the arts and culture of Cape Cod. My time is spent connecting with donors and members, reviewing business development opportunities, and making sure the arts are at the table in broader community discussions.  

What inspires you about our creative community?
The arts make us stronger and more vibrant and allow us to grow, both as individuals and as a community. We are fortunate to live in a place which values, treasures, and celebrates the arts. The arts are never stagnant; they are always changing and offering a new point of view.  That’s why working in the arts inspires me!  

Why are the arts and artists so important to Cape Cod in particular?
The arts provide inspiration for our students and healing for the injured or impaired.  They also help drive our local economy.  The Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board estimates that Cape Cod has more than 400 creative entities supporting approximately 7,000 local jobs, which is 13 percent higher than the national average. And, according to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, cultural tourists have higher levels of income and spend $62 more per day and $200 more per trip than other travelers.  

What are the most important ways that Cape Codders can get involved with supporting our local arts community?
First, buy art!  It will make you feel good. I also encourage people to become members of your favorite cultural organizations. Get to know the folks who run these entities because they are creative and strong leaders, and you will learn a lot. Volunteer or apply your skills to board work. We are a community that loves to learn about new things, especially when it comes to art, so spread the word.  This helps the arts tremendously!

What’s your favorite way to spend a Cape Cod day?
Our family loves to spend as much time outside as possible. There are countless places to explore from Falmouth to Provincetown. Our kids love visiting Hidden Hollow at Heritage Museum and Gardens, seeing a show (the Cape has 26 theaters to pick from!), and taking our yellow lab on a walk at Scorton Creek.

Thank you to Julie for her boundless energy and enthusiastic support for the value of the arts! Feeling inspired? Be sure to check out the excellent resources offered by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, and find a comprehensive calendar of arts-related events on ArtsCapeCod!

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