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Artist, Writer & Actor


When she was in New York City, Julia Salinger worked in art galleries and the music business. She produced records, and managed other artists’ creative lives. Then she began making her own art.  Here in Wellfleet, she lives in an old cape that she’s named The Mermaid’s Grange. Julia paints, draws, sculpts, writes poetry, acts, gardens, and is working on a play.


I grew up in New York. I loved it and had a lot of freedom. My parents divorced when I was really young, so I was just out and about, and somehow my mom trusted me.


It was such a great time for the arts. At that time it really was a black and white city. People got along.


I was working at a gallery that showed a lot of really cutting-edge people. I was in the music business. I managed performers, produced record albums. For 20 years, I was really nourishing the careers of a lot of very creative people.


Then in 1995, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. And when my mom was ill, I was pretty much the sole caregiver with my sister. And when she passed away, for about a year I went into a very dark place, into a deep depression, because she really was the rock of the three of us.


There's nothing like losing your mother. It's a very, very primal event in your life. There's this cord that bound you together. I just felt like there was this enormous amount of emptiness. You feel like you're just a kite flying aimlessly. Where is your anchor? Where do I belong?


I knew that there was something inside of me that needed to create, that needed to come out. I was 35 years old and feeling like if I don't make this change now, when am I going to make this change?


The Cape was always a very big part of my DNA, my soul. When my parents were together, they rented places in Truro and in Wellfleet and basically brought me here in a basket as a baby. Even when I wasn't living on the Cape, I always came to the Cape.


So, I got back here in 2004. It just felt peaceful. It felt like what I kind of needed at the time. After several years of moving between here and New York, I started to feel that this was really becoming my home.


The first time we pulled into this place the shutters were painted this green color that I absolutely love. And then the barn! I loved the barn so much. and I knew that it would be a great place to work.


My life isn't really that different with the pandemic. Most of what I do is in solitude. The hard part is not really being able to have   close social interaction with people. The quiet and the space and the solitude, that has been wonderful in terms of creating. The prolonged silence and quiet, it just stirs up so many things inside of you. You start to think maybe in a more spacious way. You start to make more connections.


As a kid, I loved puzzles. I still love puzzles. I love putting things together. And I still see that I work in that way. It's always making order from chaos. I pull from life’s experience -- of joy, of grief, of pain, of exhilaration. And it just is all combined into one piece. For me, it could be an installation, it could be a painting, a print, it could be a collage, a sculpture, a poem.


Actually, I'm loving this moment right now. I'm sitting inside the barn, and I'm looking at the frame of the beautiful trees and the different greens. And then at the same time, I’m looking at all these objects, and I'm thinking about putting various things together.

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