Tracking the Journey of the Sun by Nancy Mugele

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Why do sunflowers make us so happy? The entire bloom is a smile and it so hard not to see its joyfulness. We flock to the nearest sunflower fields in late summer and snap smiling selfies amidst the endless bright yellow blooms. There is a small patch of sunflowers on the lane leading to Kent School. I have been away for a week and all of a sudden it seems they are blooming – although perhaps a bit too early. Their surprising appearance and their uplifted faces are so welcoming and fill me with hope.

English actor Dame Helen Mirren said, “I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.”

Tracking the journey of the sun each day, and in each new season, has become a recent fascination of mine after living on the Chester River for exactly one year. I have been enthralled by its gentle voyage up and down the river bank. Last week my family spent the 4th of July on Cape Cod with my brother’s family admiring beautiful sunsets on Cape Cod Bay that mirror ours in Chestertown. While I was on the Cape one of my dearest friends who lives in France posted a sunset photo from her cottage in Normandy. We were both following the same sun, 3700 miles and several hours apart, yet our connectedness was palpable.

Finding the sunlight, no matter how weak it may appear, is truly a great life lesson. I am a glass-half-full person and I look for sunshine in every situation. I believe that is why I am passionate about education. My chosen field is a reflection of the sunflower field, and I stand in awe of the inspiring teachers at Kent School who help students find the sunlight each and every day. All while nourishing their students’ hearts and minds so they grow steadfast with their faces confidently pointing to the sun.

Although sunflowers will bloom only for a finite time, I rejoice in their honest beauty as they follow the daily journey of the rising and setting sun. I think I may need a sun dial.

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown and a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s. 

Inside the Sprout Kitchen: The Milkman Cometh

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Editor’s Note: The Spy is pleased to continue our special food coverage by partnering with Sprout’s Kitchen on a series of educational programs related to food and the special backstories of  their ingredients and partnership with local producers. Sprouts’ owners, Emily and Ryan Groll, the two entrepreneurs behind the Mid-Shore’s innovative food delivery service using locally sourced products, have strong opinions and experience in what makes food so special.

First up for Sprout’s Kitchen when they started a year ago was finding the right milk guy. For most culinary enterprises the need to purchase milk is simply a matter of checking off how many gallons they need on their food distributors order forms. In most cases, they have no idea where that milk comes from, what the conditions of of dairy farm is or how well the animals are treated.

That was not good enough for Sprout’s Kitchen. Owners Emily and Ryan Groll, had made it part of their mission to find and develop a long-term relationship with a local farm who shared their high standards for their milk, yogurt and butter. That’s when Nice Farms Creamery came into the picture.

Located a few miles from Federalsburg, Nice Farms is now on its third generation of family farmers who have bred their 40 dairy cows specifically for grazing. maintain annual and perennial pastures, supplementing the cows diet with quality hay, hydroponic fodder, and almost zero grain.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For information about the Sprout’s Kitchen and their meal plans please go here

 

Mid-Shore Art: Howard and Mary McCoy in the Woods Again

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The forest is an unending source of inspiration for environmental artists Howard and Mary McCoy. On view in the woods at Adkins Arboretum through Sept. 30, their show of site-specific sculptures is called Suggestions because each of its ten works was directly suggested by what they found there. They will lead a sculpture walk during the show’s reception on Sat., June 24 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Since these two Centreville artists first began creating outdoor sculpture at the Arboretum in 1999, their work has become more and more directly inspired by the trees and vines along its shady paths.

“This is our tenth biennial show,” said Mary McCoy. “Over the years, certain places in the forest have become so familiar, they’re like old friends. We want to draw attention to them and help other people to get to know them, too.”

When the artists were walking through the forest this spring planning their show, they stopped at a favorite pine tree unusual for its three trunks. Howard McCoy began to think of “Accumulation,” a sculpture from their 2015 show, in which the artists had suspended a massive pile of branches in the lower branches of a tall pine tree.

“So we created a kind of inversion of that,” he said. “Instead of the branches being tucked around the tree, we inserted branches between the trunks of this triple-trunk pine.”

Although the McCoys rarely use any materials other than the natural ones they find in the forest, two of the show’s works include words either printed on cloth or written directly on a fallen tree.

Mary is both an artist and a writer who has published reviews and articles on art since the 1980s. During a quiet walk alone in the forest, she listened to what the trees might have to tell her. Two short poems came from this visit. One of them, “History of a Tree,” is just four words long: “Earth, Sun, Rain, Wind.”

“I was thinking about what caused this tree to be lying here in the forest,” she explained, “how it grew up from a seed in the ground, matured and finally was blown down.”

The two artists had also wanted to make sculpture with some grapevines swooping high into the trees along a path to the Arboretum’s Nancy’s Meadow. Directly across the path was another site that interested them, a sweetgum tree that vines had pulled down low to the ground in a graceful arch.

“‘Linear Elements (Free Form)’ was suggested by swooping vines that were already there,” Mary said. “We added more long, curving vines. And that sweetgum arch was just begging to be sculpture, so for ‘Linear Elements (Structured),’ we decided to point it out with a row of straight sections of vine that suggest not only architectural elements but also the straight, vertical tree trunks in the forest.”

“It’s interesting how when we’re working in the woods, we’re always using basic art principles,” Howard commented. “All the formal things from drawing class, like balance, composition, texture, movement, all the things we learned in class that now we’re applying out there in the woods.”

“How fortunate we are to get to explore ideas out there,” he added. “We’ve had full support from the Arboretum’s directors over the years, and some of the other programs, certainly the children’s program and the journaling class, have used what we’ve done out there as inspiration. The forest communicates with us through suggestion. All we have to do is pay attention.”

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Sept. 30 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

This video is approximately three minutes in length

Chestertown Spy Forum on Town-Gown Future

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Last Tuesday, the Chestertown Spy sponsored a public forum with Washington College President Sheila Bair and Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino. The purpose of the event was to have a meaningful conversation with the community about the future of both the town and the school as they adjust to the rather complicated and challenging times of the 21st century.

With the help of the Washington College digital media services, we are able to present the whole meeting in its entirety for our readers benefit.

This video is approximately one hour in length. Please rewind to the beginning to see the entire program. 

Senior Nation: Why Chestertown with Bill and Beth Mohan

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If there is just one question that the Chestertown Spy never stops asking in almost every profile we’ve done over the last eight years, it is, “How did you get here?” While some of our interviewees have the simple response that they were born here, for the vast majority it is an endlessly different tale of circumstances and fate.

But it is hard to think of a more intentional decision than when it comes to selecting Chestertown as a retirement community. For these decisions are not made because of career advancement, or the need for higher education, but for the pure pleasure of wanting to live here.

So there should be no surprise that the Spy focused on the motives of Bill and Beth Mohan, who recently gave up almost four decades living in Bethesda to establish residence at Heron Point. And like so many, there is always a backstory that we felt our readers would enjoy.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Heron Point please go here

Spy Moment: Love, Loss and What I Wore at the Garfield

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Veteran Director Diane Landskroener has assembled a formidable cast for the production of Love, Loss, and What I Wore, which opens Friday, April 14th at the Garfield Center for the Arts. Written by Nora and Delia Ephron and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, the show is a scrapbook of stories about unfortunate prom dresses, the traumatic lighting in fitting rooms, high heels, short skirts and the existential state of having nothing to wear.  The NY Times called it “Breezy and perfectly enjoyable for the stray men in the room, it’s like a big bowl of buttered popcorn (but calorie-free!) for the women who can share deeply in the particulars of experience dissected and discussed.”

Cast photo, L-R: Julie Larwrence, Jennifer Kafka Smith, Jen Friedman, Hester Sachse, Melissa McGlynn. Photo and video by Jeff Weber.

The five women tasked with bringing these stories to life are no strangers to the Garfield stage. Jen Friedman, Jennifer Kafka Smith, Julie Lawrence, Melissa McGlynn and Hester Sachse have been in a number of recent shows, including Short Attention Span Theatre; My Fair Lady; The 39 Steps; The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged; A Christmas Carol; Stretchmarks; and Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike, to name a few.

Opening night is also Ladies Night, with a buy two, get one free special for women. Or, choose to take advantage of the Garfield’s recurring opening night discount; get $5 off when you wear your Garfield t-shirt! The show runs three weekends, from April 14th-30th. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8pm, and Sunday matinees begin at 3pm. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for military and seniors 65+, and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.GarfieldCenter.org or by calling the box office at 410-810-2060. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

Spy Moment: Kenny Award Presented to Red Devil Moon Cast

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The Kent County Arts Council and the Hedgelawn Foundation gave the Hedgelawn Kenny Award annually for excellence and service in the arts in Kent County Maryland a few nights ago. The 2016 award goes to the Creators and Cast of Red Devil Moon, which performed highlights at the Garfield Center for the Arts, on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

Recipients include: Robert Earl Price (Book & Narrator), Pam Ortiz (Music, Lyrics & Musician), Principal Singers Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett, Jr., and Jerome McKinney, and Musicians of the Pam Ortiz Band, Ray Anthony, Tom Anthony, Nevin Dawson, Philip Dutton, Bob Ortiz, and Ford Schumann.

Leslie Prince Raimond, director of the Kent County Arts Council, and Judy Kohl, director of the Hedgelawn Foundation awarded the Kenny, which this year was designed by Rob Glebe.

Hee is Leslie’s opening remarks:

“I’m Leslie Prince Raimond, director of Kent County Arts Council, and this is Judy Kohl, director of Hedgelawn Foundation

It is our great pleasure and privilege to have been involved in the Arts of Kent County for decades. Our Community continues to support and appreciate all forms of Arts and Humanities, and it is this that strengthens us. It is very exciting to once again present the Hedgelawn KENNY award given for excellence and service in the arts in Kent County, Maryland.

Our program tonight offers, once again, the chance for all of us to celebrate this contribution to our lives by these incredible artists through the universal language of music and poetry.

…. And to quote actor Wendell Pierce, That’s what art is, a form in which people can reflect on who we are as human beings and come to some understanding of this journey we are all on.

As we grapple with the concepts of society’s struggle for freedom, and equality, we can be moved by the ARTS to help us understand. Our amazingly talented cast and creators of Red Devil Moon bring us the story.”

This video is approximately for minutes in length

Food Alert: Plan for First Friday Oysters

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Get ready for Barren Island oysters at Cassinelli’s Distillery at this coming First Friday in Chestertown. Buck-A-Shuck! will star John Andrew McCown heading up shucking department and will be in front of Cassinelli’s on High Street starting at 5 p.m. And if you step inside Cassinelli’s there’s beer & wine and mixed drinks are $6.

 

Spy Moment: Singing to Support the National Immigration Law Center

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There is no secret that the Spy loves the Pam Ortiz Band. So when we were sent a short video of their last performance to support the National Immigration Law Center by Spy friend Jeff Weber, we thought our readers would enjoy it as much as we did.

BTW, A concert to highlight climate change & clean energy with special guests Meredith Davies Hadaway, Celtic harp, poetry Andrew McCown, outdoor educator & storyteller Robert Earl Price, and poet Jeff Davis is now set for Friday, March 3 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 5 at 3:00 p.m.

To reserve tickets for these concerts: Visit http://www.pamortizband.com/