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Gloucester balances its intertwined past and future with assurance and skill. The city, long renowned among artists for the purity of its light, has traditionally been the home of internationally known painters like Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Fitzhugh Lane and sculptors like Walker Hancock. In addition, the Cape Ann Symphony makes its home in Gloucester as does the critically acclaimed Gloucester Theatre Company, whose director and playwright, Israel Horovitz, is known on and off Broadway. But the beautiful harbor that attracts a sizeable artistic population is also a working harbor which is one of the top three fishing ports in the northeast. The picturesque fishing fleet, manned primarily by Portugese and Italian residents of the city, supports a major fish packaging and freezing industry. Residents note emphatically that the city is not a bedroom community, offering work to many of its residents in five industrial parks which produce everything from T-shirts to electronics and engineering. Gloucester is equally proud of the diversity of its population, with working class and ethnic residents as well as old wealthy families and newer summer visitors. Estimates indicate that summer residents push up the population by about a third, drawn by the physical beauty of its location, by the vigorous whale-watching industry, sea-side restaurants and colorful festivals. Understanding the value of its healthy working waterfront, Gloucester has sought to protect it by banning all residential development there. However, acknowledging that the fishing industry is changing rapidly, the city is planning to develop further a controlled tourism, working with the National Park Service on proposals to create an historic industrial fishing park which will feature a working fishing fleet. The city hopes to use its physical setting and history as a basis for balanced growth and change, without losing those characteristics most loved by its residents.
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