Mid-Shore Food Notes: Yelp Says Marlena’s in Middletown is one of the Top New Restaurants in US

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The Spy was taken by surprise this morning when it was noted that Buzzfeed used Yelp’s Top USA list to highlight that Marlena’s Mediterranean Deli in Middletown, DE. was to become a destination restaurant.  Yelp determined Marlena’s standing by using an algorithm that takes into account the number of reviews and star ratings for every new restaurant.

We are eager to hear from Spy readers if they agree with this assessment. In the meantime, you can find Marlena’s on 10 West Main Street in downtown Middletown.

An Evening and Poem for Leslie at the Garfield

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While there are many special evenings at the Garfield, it will take a long time to match what took place last night as the Kent County community gathered there to celebrate and to honor Leslie Prince Raimond’s long tenure as the executive director of the Kent County Art Council.

Assembling some of the best local talent in jazz, gospel, and poetry, the community toasted Leslie by offering a taste on stage of how her contributions have changed Kent County. The Spy also got in the act by offering up a video tribute to Leslie which is shown here.

One of the more moving parts of the evening was a poem authored by Robert Earl Price.

MAGIC GARDNER
A Sestina for Leslie Prince Raimond

A master gardener sowing heirloom seed
tending the shore’s aesthetic need
Plowing the furrow of creative deed
A breathing almanac for truth seekers to read
Insuring that the beauty makers are freed
To follow where cultured tendrils lead

Plotting visions shaped by imagination’s lead
Plucking fruit from each exotic seed
Patiently waiting for art’s wildness to be freed
And desire become an urgent need
A need to plot starry nights for all to read
Inciting rebellion with a graceful deed

Forgiveness folded into tenderness by a creative deed
A trail of celebration following this mystic’s lead
Along rows of petals etched with mantras for all to read
This horticulturist gifted with pods of the mystery seed
Sculpted wonder feeding the dreamer’s need
Revealing a hidden tableau waiting to be freed

Unleashing budding talents longing to be freed
Lacing costumes for the performance of the dramatic deed
Grafting lifelines and bloodlines to feed our social need
Drawing inspiration from this master gardener’s lead
Sprouting waves of harmony from a simple seed
Editing bronze inscriptions for all to read

Inscribing tinseled air with stars to read
A path to a golden gazebo to perform the ceremony of the freed
A ritual for scattering germinating seed …
We have witnessed the ripened fruit of Leslie’s deed
Audience and artist encouraged by her lead
Finding courage to touch that place of tender need

And play in harmonic spaces that unveil deeply felt need
To choreograph monologues for generations to read
And fill hearts with dreams reaped from the mystic’s lead
She waters oddities struggling to be freed
From the manacles of censored deed
Magic sprouted and spread by a solitary seed

Into our hearts she has scattered a seed and awakened a need
To bare witness to an indelible deed – a scroll for the future to read
The accounts of creative spirits freed by the boon of Leslie’s visionary lead

robert earl price 12-12-17

 

 

Grants in Action: Making Way for Daisies with the Women & Girls Fund

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While many private foundations do admirable work in countless ways in their support for nonprofit charities, very few of them have made it a priority also to encourage and mentor young philanthropists to understand the challenges and benefits that come with giving money to needy organizations.

That cannot be said of the Women & Girls Fund which for the last several years has done just that with a dedicated program called the Daisy Fund.

The Daisy Fund was designed to help parents, grandparents, or friend teach their young loved ones the art of giving by setting up them with a designated fund ($10,000 minimum pledge) in their child’s name with the Women & Girls Fund which requires the direct input of the participants in making grant decisions.

Now with eleven active participants involved, the Daisy Fund also provides educational opportunities and field visits to applicants to learn the importance of due diligence and the vetting process to determine the best use of their funds.

Over the last few weeks, we spent some time with two Daisy Fund participants, along with Women & Girls Fund Board member Donna Cantor, to understand how powerful this program has become. .The Spy reached out to Donna’s granddaughter, Lauren Westrick, in California via FaceTime (hence the poor audio quality) as well as Women & Girls Fund founder Alice Ryan’s daughter, Allie Prell in Easton, to talk about their experience.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Women & Girls Fund Daisy Fund please go here 

 

Spy Report: Academy Art Museum Members Take Over the Galleries

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About this time every year, the members of the Academy Art Museum stage a very polite coup d’etat on South Street and take over the walls in every gallery to share their artwork with the community. From oil paintings to sculpture, and photography to watercolors, over two hundred objects fill the Museum from July 29th through September 4th.

This tradition has been a part of the AAM since it first opened its doors in 1958, and also one of the most popular programs as friends and family members see these artists work in a museum setting. It was has become an important exhibition for Museum staff to see new talent, some of whom are invited to show their art in a one person show.

The Spy spoke for a few minutes with Ben Simons, the director of the AAM, as well as its curator, Anke Van Wagenberg, on the 59th year of the and sampled some of the art on display at the Annual Members’ Exhibition.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information on the AAM Annual Members’ Exhibition please go here

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