Spy Eye: Fired Up! Academy Art Museum’s Crafts Show Opens on Friday


Your first minutes at this weekend’s vibrant 2017 Academy Craft Show – Fired Up will give you even more proof of the delightful revitalization of the Shore’s own Academy Art Museum.  This regional jewel is becoming a ‘destination museum’ because of its exhibits, its creativity and its first-class events like the prestigious, juried, annual Craft Show happening October 20-22 in Easton.

Half the 70 artists are ‘new to this show’ for 2017. “That keeps us so fresh,” says Holly Fine, Museum Board member, artist, and 2017 Craft Show Chair. “The entire Shore should be proud,” she adds, “that so many nationally recognized artists ask to be invited into our show.”  This year, the applicant pool was twice as large as the show itself.  The large pool results from outreach by Fine and her team to high-caliber artists, aided by the Show’s growing reputation that now – apparently – travels alone and can sometimes get there first: “A number of artists,” Fine says, “are now finding us.”

The Academy Craft Show has grown in significance in its 20 years:  The 2017 show has more total artists than ever, more exhibits than ever, more artists-new-to-the-show than ever and more artists applying than ever and even a larger wait-list than ever.  And the Show’s public Raffle of artworks donated by show artists has more high-end artworks to win, than ever.

A teapot by ceramicist Lucy Dierks.

The 2017 artists hail from 18 states, coast to coast, including Maryland.  “So many,” Holly Fine says, “are at the top of their game, and certainly give us the ‘WOW factor’.”

The word “honored” signals they are talking about internationally celebrated ceramicist Bennett Bean who returns with his wisdom and quick humor to be the 2017 Academy Craft Show Honorary Chair and Visionary

Artist for all three days.  The phrase “real legend” signals that they are talking about the return of Mary Jackson herself, the MacArthur Fellow who preserved the Gullah tradition of weaving exquisite sweet-grass baskets.  And they say “thrilled” rightfully about so many other artists invited again, like J.J. Reichert who imagines and makes one-of-a-kind handbags that other people just, can’t.

And “exciting” is the word for every ‘new-to-show’ artist: Vermont goldsmith Jacob Albee combines gems and slices of meteorite – yes, meteorite – into pins, rings, wearable things men and women will happily attach to themselves.  Geoffrey Roth of Sedona styles ‘statement watches’ for men and women, timepieces of such immaculate precision that his work is deemed “watch engineering.”  Laurie Olefson makes sure you can actually use her “Optical Art,” her playful, pretty, eyeglass frames, through connections with actual Opticians.

Paul Willsea blows swirling colored luminous glass forms that will own the wall on which they will hang.  Designer Andrea Geer’s unique clothing gracefully floats on you while being completely cutting-edge.  Lucy Dierks’ ceramics mimic nature, hoping you’ll hear the clay birds perched on her teapots and vases.  Maryland’s Mea Rhee turns her clay vessels into the sweet bell-shape of Korean traditional dress and also turns an endearing pottery-salute to Asia’s elephants. 

Glass by glass blower Paul Willsea.

And this year, Shore businesses and neighbors set records as more than ever stepped up to sponsor the Craft Show and through it, the Museum; dozens of Shore businesses, starting with Easton Utilities, Ameriprise International and PURE Insurance.  “These businesses do not have to do this,” Fine says, “but they genuinely understand the critical role of art in a community’s overall health.” Fine also says the public should thank them: “We put every one of the sponsor names on the Craft Show website and encourage the public to take a look and learn who the good guys are.” However, she adds, “Support is never a spectator sport: Everyone can support the arts, this time while having real fun with the Craft Show.” “Every purchase of one Party ticket,” says Fine, “and one Show admission ticket, every Raffle ticket, helps the arts and yes, it matters.”

All 70 artists will be at all events on all three days at the Academy Art Museum in Easton.  The Preview Party with the Artists is Friday, October 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. “The party is elegant and fun,” says Fine. “There will be artists, oysters, libation stations, all to the music of Kentavius Jones.”

Raffle items this year are worth more than $75 each; most are worth many times that.  Yet Raffle tickets are only $5 each, and five tickets bundle for $20. They can be bought online at AcademyCraftShow.com.

Check out one more “first-ever,” AcademyCraftShow.com, the new, information-packed website.  Every 2017 artist is there, illustrated, profiled, and linked.  The donated Raffle artworks are there.  So are the names of the business and citizen sponsors who deserve public thanks.  And the links are active for everyone to buy their Admission, Raffle and Preview Party tickets online.

To be there, go here for all information and online ticket sales: AcademyCraftShow.com.BOX

The 2017 Academy Craft Show – Fired Up! The Academy Art Museum, 106 South Street, in Easton, Maryland

Preview Party with the Artists, Friday, October 20, 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets: $100 each and include complimentary show admission ticket and Raffle TicketShow Admission tickets for Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, October 22 from 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m.  Tickets: Museum members $10 each; Non-members $12 each. To celebrate the Show’s 20th year: ONE ADMISSION TICKET IS GOOD FOR BOTH DAYS OF THE SHOW! Academy Craft Show Raffle TicketsTickets: $5 per ticket OR Five-ticket bundle for $20. No limit on ticket purchases.


The 2017 Academy Craft Show – Fired Up!


The 2017 Academy Craft Show – Fired Up! happening this weekend.

The Preview Party with the Artists on Friday, October 20, 6 to 9 p.m. Awards & Brief Program: 7:30 p.m.

Craft Show Hours: Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, October 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

70 Artists, Live Demonstrations, Raffle of Artists’ Works, and “Little Crafters” at the Academy Art Museum & Waterfowl Armory.

This weekend’s 2017 Academy Craft Show – Fired Up (AcademyCraftShow.Com) – the prestigious, juried show which has grown into a mainstay resource for the Academy Art Museum — is fresh and full of “firsts” for the Show’s 20th Anniversary.  This weekend, it brings 70 nationally-acclaimed artists to Easton from more than 18 states and a dozen fields of high-end craft. Breathtaking ceramics, sparkling glass, cutting-edge fashion and bags, precision-engineered watches, jewelry fused from meteorite and gems and much more.  The 2017 Academy Craft Show has more total artists than ever, more exhibits than ever; more artists-new-to-this-show than ever; more artists applying than ever; and even a larger wait-list than ever. And the Craft Show’s public Raffle of artworks donated by show artists has more high-end artworks to win, than ever.

All 70 artists will be at all events on all three days starting with Friday evening’s elegant and fun Preview & Awards Party featuring oysters, libation stations, and the music of Kentavius Jones.

The Craft Show is an important, major fundraiser for the Museum and a delightful way for the entire community to support its many community-based programs for all ages.

Mid-Shore Arts: Marc Castelli’s ‘Swinging the Lantern’ at Massoni Gallery Begins October 20


For nearly a quarter of a century, Marc Castelli has been exhibiting his stunning watercolors of the workboats, watermen, historic log canoes and sporting events of the Chesapeake at the Carla Massoni Gallery in Chestertown, Maryland.  Swinging the Lantern, his annual one –man exhibition opens on October 20 and continues through December 2.  Collectors and friends will have the opportunity to visit with Castelli and attend the Collector’s Reception on Friday, October 20, from 6-8 pm.

The festivities continue the following week with the Sultana Education Foundation’s annual Downrigging Weekend from October 27-29.  Massoniart is proud to have been an event sponsor of this premier tall ship and wooden boat festival since its inception.  The Gallery is hosting a reception for the opening of Downrigging on Friday, October 27, 5-7:30 pm where they will welcome the return of the Kent County Watermen’s Association to shuck oysters out on the sidewalk followed by Sultana’s Fireworks at the foot of High Street.  During the weekend we sponsor an Open House on Saturday from 10-7 pm and Sunday From 11-3 pm.  But wait – there’s still more – plan to stay in the party mood through Chestertown’s First Friday Celebrations November 3, 5-8 pm and December 1, 5-8 pm.

During Downrigging, Marc Castelli will be honored with a special exhibition, Building Sultana – A Selection of Marc Castelli Paintings, at the Sultana Education Foundation’s new center. Between 1997 and 2001, Castelli captured the construction of the schooner SULTANA in more than 50 vibrant watercolor paintings. Taken together, these works represent one of the finest and most complete artistic surveys of the construction of a traditional wooden schooner produced over the last half century. Most of Castelli’s paintings of Sultana’s construction were rapidly acquired by private collectors, and haven’t been seen by the public for almost 20 years.  With the assistance of Marc Castelli, MASSONIART, and multiple private collectors, the Sultana Education Foundation is assembling a selection of these paintings for a special Downrigging Weekend exhibit. Also of note, Castelli’s “Building Sultana” exhibit shares its name with a new limited-edition book of his pen and ink drawings of the construction of Sultana that will be released during a special event at 6:00pm on Saturday, October 28 at Sultana’s Holt Center.

Castelli is considered a master of his genre.  He is on the water over 100 days a year gathering material to paint. Forty years of crewing on racing sailboats, and over twenty years actively participating on workboats has enabled him to get past the spectator view that represents the majority of marine and regional art.

The potential for abstraction, still life, figurative, atmospherics and sharp focus vignette, may exist in all the subject areas he explores but for Marc it is the strongest when on the water. It is the light, as it moves on and in water and is then reflected back on the watermen and their boats, that pulls at him.  Wherever he trains his focus, from the Sultana to the simplest of skiffs, he brings to the viewer a deeper understanding of the magic of the Chesapeake.

This year his annual exhibition, Swinging the Lantern, features over forty new watercolor paintings with a full range of subjects guaranteed to delight both collectors and those new to his work.

For additional information please contact Carla Massoni at 410-778-7330 or visitwww.massoniart.com. To learn more about Sultana Downrigging Weekend visitwww.sultanaeducation.org

Downrigging at Garfield Center


Jonahtan Boulware, Executive Director of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City

Celebrate the tall ships coming to Chestertown with a full schedule of events at the Garfield Center for the Arts.  Captain Jonathan Boulware lectures on the recovery and rebirth of New York’s South Street Seaport Museum on Friday October 27  and The Pam Ortiz Band plans to pack the Garfield for an 8pm concert on Saturday, October 28.

On Friday October 27, Capt. Jonathan Boulware, Executive Director of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City will provide an entertaining, historical, celebratory tour through the history of the port of New York; the Museum that aims to interpret that history; and an overview of the recent, multiple-award-winning restoration of the mighty 1885 iron sailing ship Wavertree. Join the Captain for an hour of history, hyperbole, and a photo journey through New York’s port. This event is free and begins at 8 p.m.

Pam Ortiz

Then join us at 8 p.m. October 28 for an evening of songs of the sea, water and ships. It promises to be a fun night of new songs, old and new friends. The Pam Ortiz band has performed sold out Downrigging shows for the past five years. Join the celebration on Saturday night at the Garfield Center for the Arts. The band will perform a set celebrating songs of water, sea and sailing and a set of original tunes and stories written by songwriter Pam Ortiz. Tickets are $15.

Tickets for the Pam Ortiz Band concert can be purchased at the Garfield Box Office, online at the Garfield’s website or by calling 410-810-2060. The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre is located at 210 High Street, Chestertown.


Old Oysters, New Corn


Environmental art installation by Howard and Mary McCoy currently on the lawn outside the KCAC Buliding across the street from the Post Office.  Photo credit: Peter Heck

Howard and Mary McCoy, Queen Anne’s County artists, were at the Town Arts Building in Chestertown, Sunday, Oct. 15, to install their environmental art piece, “Old Oysters, New Corn.”

Sited on the lawn next to the building, across the street from the post office, the piece is constructed of centuries-old oyster shells from a Native American midden and newly harvested corn, both from their farm near Centreville.

Twelve stakes form a circle around an interior circle filled with old oyster shells.    Photo credit: Peter Heck

The artists began by sketching out two circles on the lawn; the inner circle was filled with the oyster shells, then 12 stakes were set in the outer circle for attaching the corn stalks. They began with the four cardinal compass points – North, South, East and West, then went around the circle clockwise beginning at the north.

The corn stalks, a modern variety genetically modified to resist the herbicide Roundup, still have ripe ears of corn on them. “The squirrels are going to love this sculpture,” said Howard.

The sculpture, Mary told us, while reminiscent of ancient harvest customs, is not based on any particular tradition.  Rather, it is “a meditation on the bounty of this fertile region and the ever-changing ways humans have used its resources.”

The sculpture will remain in place through the end of the month for the RiverArts studio tours, which take place on two weekends,  Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29, at sites throughout the area. The large exhibition space in the Town Arts Building will also host exhibits by several artists who wanted to take part but couldn’t make their actual studios available. The McCoys will have an exhibit along the wall overlooking the lawn where their sculpture stands.

Artists Howard and Mary McCoy, with Kent County Arts Council Director John Schratwieser (center) Old Oysters, New Corn” environmental art installation by Howard and Mary McCoy. Photo credit: Jane Jewell

The Kent County Arts Council, which owns the Town Arts Building, obtained permission to install the sculpture on the lawn adjacent to its building from the Chestertown Mayor and Council. The property belongs to the town, which received it in a gift a number of years ago.

Old Oysters, New Corn” environmental art installation by Howard and Mary McCoy. Photo credit: Peter Heck

The installation’s sign notes, “Oysters were an important food for Native Americans. Over the centuries, the shells they discarded built up in layers several feet deep, but because of their small population, this food source remained sustainable. More recently, due to disease, pollution and over-harvesting, oyster populations have plummeted.

“For nearly two decades, the corn grown in this area has come from seed genetically modified to withstand spraying with the herbicide glyphosate, also called Roundup. Promoting efficient weed control, this farming practice helps boost harvest yields but is controversial in terms of the safety of genetic modification, as well as glyphosate’s possible hazards to human, plant and animal health.”

Howard, Mary and John play “scrarecrow” by the corn field.

Howard and Mary McCoy are collaborative artists. Much of their work is created directly in the landscape and is based on archetypal motifs concerned with the earth and how people have approached their own relationship with the earth through the centuries. Made primarily of natural materials, their work aims at honing viewers’ awareness of particular environments.

In addition to their ongoing site-specific installations created as Artists in Resident at Adkins Arboretum, their installations have been shown in the U.S., Ireland, Wales and New Zealand.

Howard McCoy has a B.A. in art from Georgetown College and an M.F.A. in painting from George Washington University.

Mary McCoy

Mary McCoy has a B.S. in studio art from Skidmore College and has written on art for several publications, including The Washington Post. She also writes for The Chestertown Spy.

“Old Oysters, New Corn” is part of RiverArts’ upcoming Studio Tour weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, Oct 21- 22 & 28-29, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, rain or shine. This free self-guided tour on the picturesque Eastern Shore of Maryland includes close to 50 artists, many of them nationally-known, who will invite you into their studios to talk about their art, demonstrate their techniques and offer original art for sale at studio prices.



CFF Preview: Tom Horton and the Rising Sea Levels of Dorchester County


The Chesapeake Film Festival has gone out of their way this year to emphasize the important theme of conservation, and has consequently assembled a first rate collection of the most current documentaries on climate change, sea level rising, and other global warming issues to screen in the last weekend in October in Talbot County.

Ranging from Leonardo DiCaprio to short films on forestry and the fishing, the festival’s curatorial hand has carefully vetted out the the very best in international filmmaking, but it is suspected that the film that will have the most impact locally is case study of rising sea levels in Dorchester County.

The local dream team of filmmaker Sandy Cannon-Brown, photographer David Harp, and environmental author Tom Horton, who were responsible two years ago for the popular Beautiful Swimmers Revisited, a documentary inspired by William W. Warner’s classic book on of the Chesapeake Bay, have now reunited to tell the sobering tale of the disappearing landscape of Dorchester and the possible for the thirteen other Counties.

The Spy caught up with High Tide in Dorchester writer and narrator Tom Horton a week ago at Bullitt House to talk about the film and its mission to send an important warning to the entire Chesapeake Bay region.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Chesapeake Film Festival please go here

A Wave and a Sail — Broad Reach Sculpture Dedication Oct. 14


Broad Reach sculpture representing a wave and a sail, by artist David Hess. Photo credit: Jane Jewell.

The Town of Chestertown and the Chestertown Arts & Entertainment District invite the public to the Saturday, October 14 dedication of the David Hess sculpture Broad Reach, which is being installed in Wilmer Park as the first artwork commissioned under Chestertown’s Public Arts Master Plan.

The ceremony will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will feature music by Jigs and Reels, poetry by Meredith Davies Hadaway, greetings from the artist, and a Chester River blessing of the large-scale steel sculpture. A reception will follow at the site.

Broad Reach pays tribute to Chestertown’s nautical past and strong connection to the Chester River with a 20-foot-tall sail, a breaking wave and grassy berms that mimic a ship’s wake.  In it’s article “Point of Sail”, Wikipedia explains the nautical term “broad reach” “When the wind is coming from the side of the sailing craft, this is called reaching. … In a broad reach, the wind is coming from behind the sailing craft at an angle. This represents a range of wind angles between beam reach and running downwind.”

The Sandbox on Cross St. in downtown Chestertown in 2015.  The program moved to the Washington College campus in 2016.

The artwork is being dedicated in honor of artist and arts advocate Alex Castro, who broadened Chestertown’s artistic and cultural horizons during his time here as a resident and Washington College faculty member.  At the college, Castro lectured in Art and was for several years the director of the Kohl Gallery.  Castro was the driving force behind the Sandbox, a creative arts program of Washington College.

The stainless steel sculpture, which was constructed in Washington, Pa. came to Chestertown Oct. 2 on two large trucks. The concrete foundations had already been laid by Yerkes Construction, and a large crane arrived around 1 p.m. to hoist the metal pieces into place. Hess and several of his workers, including his son Eli, were on hand to perform the installation, and Hess remained in town for several days to polish the metal and oversee other details of the process, including building the earth berms around the base of the sculpture.

Sculptor David Hess (left) with his son Eli at the site in Wilmer Park on Oct 2, waiting for the sculpture to arrive.

Hess, a Baltimore-born artist and engineer, has designed public art for sites all around the country, including several in Baltimore and vicinity. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he works in a number of media, both large and small sculpture and works on paper. He studied with realist wood sculptor Fumio Yoshimura, whose humor and precision made a strong impression on him. His exhibit, ‘”Gun Show,” 80 sculpture-assemblages constructed from “found items” like vacuum cleaner parts and gas station pump nozzles to resemble guns, appeared at Washington College’s Kohl Gallery in February 2015, shortly after his design for Broad Reach was selected to be installed in Wilmer Park. Click here for short interview of Hess about the “Gun Show” exhibit.

Waterline by David Hess.  Visit his website to see more of Hess’s work.

In addition to dressing up the entrance to Wilmer Park, Broad Reach is meant to be a “playscape” – unlike traditional sculpture, it is designed for children (adults are allowed, too!) to climb on, slide down, and use their imaginations to incorporate it into their games and stories. At the same time, its nautical theme echoes the town’s history as a river port, dating back to Colonial days, and the thriving recreational activity along the nearby Chester River.

Castro chaired the jury that selected this first installation, which was presented to the Mayor and Council in January, 2015. Broad Reach was one of a dozen designs from artists all around the country submitted in response to the town’s request for proposals. The jury, made up of seven local arts professionals, made the selection based on appropriateness to the town and the site, functionality, feasibility, ease of maintenance, safety and fun. The installation was originally planned for a site nearer the center of the park, but the site was changed to make it more visible from the road and to provide more shade when children are playing on it.

Alex Castro

Castro was also an integral part of the Public Arts Master Plan process. His friends and admirers raised the majority of the funding to make Broad Reach a reality. Other large donors include the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, the SFW Foundation, the Chestertown High School Class of 1967 and many other groups and individuals who contributed funds and services.

While the funding of the artwork itself is complete, the Town still seeks gifts to complete the landscaping, site work and installation.  For example, the piled earth berms around the sculpture will be landscaped.  Tax-deductible donations can be made online at Go Fund Me – Ctown Sculpture or by check marked “Broad Reach donation,” made payable to Town of Chestertown and mailed to 118 N. Cross Street, Chestertown, Md. 21620.

Below is a gallery of photos from the installation, from Oct. 2 to the date of publication, Oct. 11. Photography by Kees de Mooy, Peter Heck, and Jane Jewell.

The two trucks arrive at the corner of Maple Ave. (Rt 213) and Cross Street.

Photo by Peter Heck

Passing the old train station. Photo by Jane Jewell

Concrete pads poured by Jay Yerkes Construction in preparation for Broad Reach. Photo by Jane Jewell

Photo by Kees de Mooy

Up it goes! Photo by Kees de Mooy

The Wave imitating a blimp coming in for a landing. Photo by Kees de Mooy


The Sail makes landfall. Photo by Kees de Mooy

The Sail swinging into place. Photo by Kees de Mooy

Drilling bolt holes. Photo by Kees de Mooy

Securing the Wave. Photo by Kees de Mooy

photo by Jane Jewell

David Hess, the sculptor, arrives. Photo by Kees de Mooy

Kees de Mooy, Chestertown Zoning Administrator, pitches in to help cordon off the installation site. Photo by Jane Jewell

Installation of Broad Reach sculpture accomplished. Waiting for Dedication Oct 14, 2017. Photo by Jane Jewell


Sign in front of Broad Reach installation site in Wilmer Park. Photo by Jane Jewell




New Artists Keep RiverArts Studio Tour Fresh and Fun


Lesley Campana at her loom

Now in its 18th year, the RiverArts Studio Tour promises to be exciting as always. Fifty artists and artisans will be opening their studios to the public on this free self-guided tour on October 21-22 and 28-29, 10-5, rain or shine. In addition, the RiverArts galleries feature examples of art by the artists on the tour.

There are many artists who have been a part of the tour for years. Visitors enjoy revisiting their favorite artists to see their latest work and how it has evolved. This year there are six new artists on the tour whose work you must see.

Fifteen years ago, Lesley Campana was looking for a challenging art form.  An interest in textiles led her to a week-long beginner weaving class at The Mannings in East Berlin, PA. She is now a member of the Harmony Weavers’ Guild in Wilmington.

Lesley’s weaving uses classic designs that she modifies to make unique. She also creates many of her own original designs. “When I’m learning a new weave structure I follow an established design to learn the technique. Then I create my own designs using that structure. I have even obtained a copyright on an original design.”  In addition to exploring new weave structures, Lesley likes experimenting with color.

Lesley’s work includes infinity scarves, table runners, and kitchen towels. The towels are a great medium for learning new techniques because they are relatively quick. All of her scarves and shawls are unique.

Decoy carver Doug Gates has been a waterfowl hunter since the 1950’s and collected wooden ducks. He came to admire each one of them for their artistic characteristics. Along the way, he got to know a few carvers and became friendly with the late Charlie Joiner, a nationally recognized local carver. Doug decided to try carving in 1989 and has been whittling ever since. “I’ve made more canvasbacks and blackheads than anything else and quite a few black ducks too. I have tried my hand at different birds including barn swallows, owls, crows, snipe, a few swan, geese and a slew of shorebirds.”

Doug Gates

For Doug, carving has been more of a therapeutic endeavor, a challenge, a desire to create something that pleases him. Of late, he has been focusing on rescuing old wooden decoys that have seen their day, yet retain a character of form and use, with an untold history and mystery.  And so he cleans them up and resurrects what he can, not to their former glory, but out of respect for their proud past. He probably has a hundred or more decoys in his collection, some of which will be displayed during the Studio Tour.

Robert Lasus’ art background includes an MFA in Sculpture. He creates sculptures in stainless steel, wood, and found objects. “The artistic challenge is to take heavy, lifeless materials like wood and evoke a sense of lightness and movement.”

With all his work there is an environmental consciousness. Re-use is the best recycling. “I work with found objects, found wood, especially from trees I have known. I limit the use of toxic materials and when I do use them, I am careful of collateral effects.

After years of working with other materials which require varying degrees of maintenance to retain their pristine looks and survival, stainless steel seemed to be the material of choice. Most of Bob’s major public works have been stainless steel horses. They can be found in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, at AstraZeneca US Corporate Headquarters in Wilmington and in private collections. There are a number of pieces visible in and around his Rock Hall Studio.

Joanne Lantzy Plum

Joanne Lantzy Plum’s interest in art developed from her father. He was an oil painter but worked another job and had a farm. By age nine, Joanne wanted to paint. Her father gave her a brush, oil paint, and a board. Her first painting was a snow scene with a tree, stream, and bridge. Her major was art in college but she dropped out and eventually studied with well-known local artists she admired. The last artist she studied under was Sean Wyeth.

Through the years, Joanne worked at a gallery/frame store and as a floral designer. In 1998, she began teaching private art lessons at her studio in Pennsburg, Pa. She moved to Worton last year but still travels once a month to Pa to teach some of her remaining students.

Currently, Joanne is concentrating on painting. She works in oils, soft pastels, acrylics, color pencils and some graphite and charcoal. Her subject matter ranges from landscapes, seascapes, still life, and portraits of pets and people for which she takes commissions. Her favorite medium or subject matter happens to be what she is working on at the moment.

Alice Ritchie took art classes as a child and enjoyed that immensely. She got back into art after retiring from a career as a lawyer and child advocate. She is now able to indulge her passion for travel and her art is often based on those experiences. Alice studies pastels with Mary Pritchard and acrylics with Cindy Fulton, both very popular local artists who will also be on the tour.

Alice is a very adventurous pastel painter in that she tackles complicated compositions, particularly those of people and architecture. Her portrait of “Market Man” has a Van Gogh-like vibe because of its vibrant colors and graphic shapes, while her pastel of Cuban ballerinas uses subtle shades of ochre, gray and green to depict the light of the ballet studio enveloping the young dancers. Her landscape paintings that are inspired by her travels are also notable for their strong shapes and textures, particularly the street scenes in which she uses pastel’s unique ability to show light raking across brick and stone. Alice continues to explore media, subject matter, and style. She finds the exploration exciting.

Sherrie Von Sternberg started to explore photography by watching her daughter, Morgan. Nine years ago, when Morgan was 13, she begged for a camera. Sherrie started watching her create and thought “I would like to try that. It sparked in me the creative light I remember that I had from childhood through my early 20’s…the creativity I gave up for the corporate world.”

Sherrie’s greatest mentor has been Dawn Gardner, a photographer in Manassas, VA., “who is technically amazing. I am encouraged by her, especially by her telling me she can always recognize my work! That gave me a lot of confidence by knowing that I had a voice that a professional recognized.”

Sherrie uses three different cameras. The Nikon D750 is a tool she can use in any situation. It is a full frame camera with an infinite range of uses. Her subject matter ranges from a simple stalk of corn to a complex human being.

Sherrie’s iPhone 7+ has a great app. Technical camera advances in this iPhone as a camera have made it very similar to using film. She can see what she is shooting and manipulate it in the camera. “Sometimes it is like a toy; it is so much fun to use. I use it every single day.”

Sherrie just started using the Polaroid 600 Plus which is definitely a challenging camera – you have no control over it. Photos come out the way they come out – it is a surprise every time. “I use it for getting a different perspective on a project. It lets me show a different kind of art.”

Studio Tour brochures may be found at the Gallery and at restaurants and shops throughout Kent County. Examples of each artist’s work are included on the Riverarts website and will be on display at RiverArts, 315 High Street, in Chestertown. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11-4, First Friday, 11-8, Saturday 10-4 and Sunday, 11-3. During the tour, the gallery will be open Saturday and Sunday, 10-5.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Chesapeake Bank and Trust, Kent County Tourism and Development Office, WYPR Delmarva Public Radio.

Rockabilly by Josh Christina at the Mainstay, Oct. 14


Josh Christina

Josh Christina, a Baltimore based rockabilly and country singer and songwriter in brings his band for a good-time FallFest concert at The Mainstay in Rock Hall on Saturday Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. Admission is $17 in advance and $20  at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Josh Christina is only in his early twenties but already he has been dazzling audiences from Baltimore to Nashville with his piano and vocals. He is a ridiculously good piano player, born into a musical family in Baltimore who has spent the last 15 years of his life honing his sound. It’s a danceable combination of country, classic rock, big band and rockabilly with influences from Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and maybe even a little Elton John. It’s a sound distinctly his own and there’s a modern streak as recent influences have included Adele, Charlie Puth, Chris Stapleton, and Meghan Trainor.

This is concert is the culmination of a day of music, crafts, food and fun at Rock Hall’s annual Fallfest billed as a celebration of Family, Community and Oysters.

Christina’s most recent recording, “I’m 21” (a reference to his age) was released last year and was produced in Nashville by Kent Wells (who has worked with Dolly Parton) and features the title song as well as other originals such as ‘Rockabilly Saturday Night’ and ‘Kiss Me when You’re Sober.’

Christina’s personal journey began at age six, when he took an interest in the King,  Elvis Presley. “Hearing Elvis for the first time, I remember thinking his sound was so unique and raw. I watched DVD’s of his performances – my favorite was his 1954 performance of That’s All Right. His sound was so clean, yet so edgy. As I developed as an artist, I found myself gravitating toward that same sound.”

By eight, Christina had organized a Junior Blues Brothers act that performed regularly at venues in the Baltimore area. At 15, he began playing piano after taking a trip to New York City with his parents to see Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway. “While I bought tickets out of my love for Elvis, I remember being blown away by the stylings of Jerry Lee Lewis… He had such flare. He redefined the piano for me.”

With his newfound passion for piano, Christina began writing, drawing inspiration from the “simple, yet clever, corny rhymes” of writers Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Stevie Ray Vaughn. After graduating from Dulaney High School in 2013, the Cockeysville native went to work on his debut album. “Man From Another Time,” featured several rock and roll and rockabilly covers, along with a few original songs written by Christina.

His sophomore effort, “Good Old Love,” released in 2015 was produced by Wells in Nashville. “Making your debut in the Nashville scene – a scene currently dominated by pop country – is tough. I couldn’t have landed in better hands. From the start, Kent insisted on embracing my vintage rockabilly sound.”

And on the subject of Nashville’s pop country dominance, Christina isn’t worried, “I think the country genre is beginning to shift back to its roots. Meghan Trainor has done it with the pop genre, taking it back to its roots with her sound’s doo-wop influence. Bruno Mars has done the same in R&B with notes of funk in his sound. Slowly but surely, artists in the country genre are putting their foot down and adding notes of classic country and rock to their sound. If anything, I feel I’m at a bit of an advantage. My sound isn’t headed that direction. It’s already there.”

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

October 16      Joe Holt welcomes Chuck Redd

October 21      Sue Matthews: Matthews Sings Porter

October 23      Joe Holt welcomes Rebekah Hock

October 30      Joe Holt welcomes Brad Chaires

November 4    Peter and Will Anderson Quartet featuring Chuck Redd