Community art lovers and friends turned out on one of our last warm autumn Saturdays to attend a twofold ceremony in Wilmer Park: a groundbreaking for the installation of David Hess’ playscape sculpture, Broad Reach, and a dedication to Alex Castro, former Director of Washington College’s Sandbox Initiative and champion of public arts projects in Chestertown.
Having announced that Castro and his wife Kelly will be moving to Sarasota, Florida in December, gallery owner Carla Massoni and former interim Washington College Presidnt Jay Griswold formed a “Friends of” committee to raise funds for completion of the arts project and dedicate it to the man whose vision of interactive environmental art made it possible.
Castro brought a lifetime of expertise in the arts when he and his wife Kelly arrived in Chestertown seven years ago. His career as an artist and architectural designer whose aesthetic mission is to embrace the environment has left its mark in Baltimore with the design of the Visionary Art Museum, the morphing of the Charles Theatre and Famous Ballroom on Charles Street, the Memorial and Liberty Garden, and even the blinking neon “Mr. Boh” sign on Federal Hill.
As Edward Gunts wrote in a 2006 Baltimore Sun article, “As an art installation consultant, he has designed exhibits for the Los Angeles County Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Atlanta’s High Museum and the Smithsonian Institution, among others. His own works are in public collections at the National Gallery of Art, Brooklyn Museum and Newberry Library in Chicago.”
In Chestertown Castro strived to enhance the relationship between the college and town by cultivating art endeavors that would bridge the two entities through shared projects, particularly since Director of the environmental art showcase SANDBOX where he promoted creative alliances between the arts and sciences.
Of the many local initiatives in which he has been involved—the Public Arts Master Plan. Launching of the Arts and Entertainment District—look no farther than the new Sultana Education Building on Cross Street to be reminded of his imprint on the community.
In this video, Town Zoning Manager Kees deMooy, Carla Massoni, David Hess, Jay Griswold and Alex Castro talk about the dedication