“Songs for Our Future” by Pam Ortiz


Pam Ortiz Band – Phil Dutton (keyboard), Ford Schumann (guitar), Bob Ortiz (percussion), Nevin Dawson (violin), Pam Ortiz (guitar & lyricist)           Photo by Jeff Gruber, Blue House Productions

It’s Fall, and Downrigging Weekend is right around the corner — with a featured concert by the Pam Ortiz Band at the Garfield Center at 8 p.m. on Saturday evening, Oct. 28. This has been a very active year for the band, and the Spy thought it would be a good idea to catch up.  Following the article is a photo and video gallery of the band by Jeff Weber. Here’s the story of this year’s activities in Pam’s own words.  — Editors.

It was three days after the election of 2016.  I had several friends who were showing clear signs of PTSD.  Beyond the kvetching and rending of garments, many people I ran into were staring blankly into one another’s eyes, googling “Sweden” or “Canada” and figuring out when and for how long they would have to go “news dark” in order to maintain their hold on life.

My husband, Bob Ortiz, and I play original music in a five-piece band.  After an interesting but exhausting year, I had suggested we take a bit of a hiatus.  We had done our annual show at the Sultana Downrigging Festival at the end of October, and, with that commitment behind us, I was looking forward to some downtime.  Then the election hit.

My immediate thoughts turned to those groups of people who would be vulnerable going forward.  And the critical rights, those rights that leverage other rights – the right to vote, the right of free speech, and others – all of which were now at risk.

On November 11th, I wrote the following to my band mates, Nevin Dawson, Ford Schumann and Philip Dutton:

I know I said I felt like I wanted to take a break, but the events of this week have caused me to reconsider.  I sat down after the election and made a list of: i) rights to protect; ii) people to protect; iii) people to support; and iv) people to challenge or stop.  I came up with 12 to start with and put organizations that do that work by each one.  So I have a list of 12 organizations I want to support.  I was thinking Bob and I would write some puny checks (which we will indeed do, which is about what we can do). Then tonight I thought about how everyone around us is anxious to DO something and thought:  we could host a series at Bob’s shop of monthly concerts and each one would be designed to address one of those issues and support one of those organizations.  

Within days, the group convened to plan what became the Songs for Our Future concert series.  Ultimately, we narrowed down the list of organizations to seven. We planned one concert each month, to be held between January and July, 2017.  Here’s what our final list looked like [with all proceeds going to the listed organization]:

JANUARY – A Concert to Protect the Right to Vote  – NAACP Legal Defense Fund 

FEBRUARY – A Concert to Protect the Rights of Immigrants  – National Immigration Law Center 

MARCH – A Concert to Highlight Climate Change & Clean Energy (2 events) – 350.org 

APRIL – A Concert to Protect the LGBTQ Community  – FreeState Justice 

MAY – A Concert to Protect Our Muslim Neighbors  – Council on American Islamic Relations 

JUNE – A Concert to Support Women’s Reproductive Rights  – Planned Parenthood 

JULY – A Concert to Protect the Right of Free Speech  – ACLU of Maryland 

My husband is a furniture maker.  His studio is a large, funky space in Chestertown, Maryland, a town in a rural county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Amazing things happen in that space.  People stop by all week for counseling, advice, help with a project, or just to check in.  We have hosted a myriad of concerts, parties and special events there over the years, so it seemed a natural place to host the series.  We initially planned six events.  When former director of The Mainstay, Rory Trainer, asked if they could participate, we added a final, culminating show to be held there in July.

We invited special guests to join us for each show — poets, artists, musicians and singers who had a connection with the group or right we were supporting. – Sombarkin, Meredith Davies Hadaway, Sue Matthews, John Schratweiser, Capt. Andy McCown, Howard and Mary McCoy.  Guest bassists Tom Anthony, Mark Dykeman, and Jeff Davis each joined us for several events.  Salvadoran songwriter and artist , Fredy Granillo, joined us for our show to support immigrants. Our friend and frequent collaborator, poet Robert Earl Price, became our “house poet,” but we had others too – James Allen Hall, Mary Azrael.  A high school friend and professor of Arabic read Arabic poetry at our event to support our Muslim neighbors.  And she helped us make a connection with a young Syrian immigrant who came and spoke eloquently about his experience – as a Syrian dissident, as a refugee, as a young man isolated from the community and far from his family.  He spent four years in a Turkish refugee camp. Of his family, he was the only one who got a Visa to come to the U.S.  His mother and sister are in Sweden; his dad remains in the refugee camp.  When asked if he could talk or Skype with his family, he said, “Of course.  But I can’t do this.” And he proceeded to come over to me and give me a big hug, like you might give your mom who you hadn’t seen for 3 years.  Our collective hearts broke.

As we put these shows together, over and over again, people came out of the woodwork offering to contribute or participate in some way.  Everybody wanted in.  Our friend and potter, Marilee Schumann, made “Resist” mugs which folks could have for an additional donation.  Her daughter, Brooke, made “Resist” soap.  Volunteers came forward to help set up the shop, transport chairs, carry equipment, help at the door.  When we celebrated women and raised funds to protect women’s reproductive health, Marilee and her sister-in-law, Jamie, made pink pussy hats for the audience. Videographer, Jeff Weber, set himself up to film most of the shows.

And we sold out every show.  We ended up raising over $18,000.  All this from our small town of 5,000 people in a county of fewer than 20,000.  Not everyone thinks the same in our small town. We have people from every walk of life and point of view.   I’m sure not everyone agreed with what we did.  But we did it in a way that was inclusive.  We framed these events as celebrations of what we stood for and who we are – not what we hated or who we were not.  And I think that is what made the difference.  Folks who came to these events – and many old friends came from far and wide for every show – told us time and again how powerful it was to be a part of this effort.

I had a sense that we were building community through art.  The arts provide us with a language when we do not have the words to express how we feel.  The arts give us a way to voice our discontents without being mired in despair.  Under the armor of the arts we have the courage to fight for something that seems impossible.

I am sharing this because it is my hope that as a nation we can find a way to reclaim who we are and what we stand for.  Maybe your community will host a concert series, or maybe you’ll gather people for a special exhibit or theatrical performance that allows people to feel they are part of building something new – something that challenges the diminished vision of America we see in the mirror of the media —  and in our leadership.

I leave you with these words, which I hope will inspire you as they have guided us. When we launched our series my husband read this to the audience.  It is a framed quote we have in our house, from Spanish cellist and composer, Pablo Casals.

“I am a man first and an artist second. As a man, my first obligation is to defend human dignity. As an artist, I will fulfill this mission through music — the unique weapon which God has given me – and that which transcends the boundaries imposed by language, politics and national borders. My contribution to world peace will be humble, but at least I will have given all for this ideal which, to me, is sacred.”

Pam Ortiz,      Chestertown, MD

Photo & Video Gallery Below by Jeff Weber.  Video is from the final “Songs of Our Future “concert at the Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD last summer.

Phil Dutton, Marc Dykeman, Nevin Dawson, Pam Ortiz, Ford Schumann, Bob Ortiz         Photo by Jeff Weber


Pam Ortiz       Photo by Jeff Weber

Bob Ortiz       Photo by Jeff Weber

Phil Dutton       Photo by Jeff Weber

Ford Schumann Photo by Jeff Weber

Nevin Dawson photo by Jeff Weber


“A Time to Speak” — Holocaust Memoir at Garfield Center


Joan and Sam McReady

A Time to Speak, the remarkable story of endurance during the Holocaust, comes to the Garfield Center for the Arts Saturday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m.  Helen Lewis, a dancer in Prague at the beginning of World War II, was interned in the Terezin ghetto, then deported to Auschwitz, and finally to Stutthof Labor Camp on the edge of the Baltic Sea.  After the war, she settled in Belfast and became active with the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.  Later she formed the Belfast Modern Dance Group, the first modern dance company in Ireland.

Her struggle to survive amidst the carnage of Hitler’s Final Solution is told with wit and a controlled anger, which never displays itself in rancor or censure. Helen died in her mid-90s; this presentation acts as a fitting tribute to an extraordinary survivor.

A Time to Speak has been adapted and directed by Northern Ireland native, Sam McCready, internationally respected actor, director, and writer.  The production, which has toured the US and Europe, was named by Baltimore’s City Paper as the outstanding production of the year when it was presented by Performance Workshop Theatre.

Helen’s story is performed by Joan McCready, an experienced actress who has moved audiences in Europe and the US with the extraordinary sensitivity and truthfulness of her portrayal. This incredible story of survival will be at the Garfield Center for one night only.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 410-810-2060. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

“Feeling the Pinch” – Morgan Raimond on Sculpture


Have you seen the giant crab claw on the Chestertown waterfront? Rising from the river side of the foot bridge between High and Cannon Streets, the copper sculpture, “Feeling the Pinch,” is a testimony to the natural environment as well as to the skill and imagination of the sculptor – Kent County native Morgan Raimond.

Morgan Raimond with “Feeling the Pinch”

Talking about his sculpture, created for the RiverArts 2017 Riverfest, Raimond said a crab’s claw looks powerful and strong, “but it’s sort of like the river – it’s really not. I mean, the crab is the basis for every fish’s diet – look at us – they don’t have a chance against us. They look like they could turn and fight, but that’s when they lose. And the river’s sort of the same way, it looks so strong and powerful and at the same time it’s really delicate and needs protection. So I just love the form and shape, and I love the taste of crab, so I was just inspired.”

Andy Goodard, RiverArts executive director, said the sculpture will be up through the end of Downrigging Weekend. She said there have been some inquiries about possible purchase of it and two others by Cindy Bowers Fulton, though none have sold yet.  So there’s still a chance for you!

Raimond, the son of Vince and Leslie Prince Raimond, is a 1986 graduate of Kent County High School. He began learning the blacksmith’s trade at age 12, when the family went to Mexico for a summer. Vince thought the experience would be a good way for the children to learn Spanish, Morgan said.

A resident of San Francisco for most of his adult life, Raimond specializes in rendering natural shapes –plants, butterflies, birds – in metallic form, whether as part of a gate or fence or in a free-standing site specific sculpture such as “Feeling the Pinch” or the Phoenix sculpture created on the Raimond family farm near Still Pond in memory of his father, Vince. (Click here for Chestertown Spy obituary for Vincent Raimond.)

Hand-wrought Metal Railings and Gate for the Jungle House, a private home in the San Francisco Area – designed and made by Morgan Raimond.

Raimond said he enjoyed growing up here – he mentioned fishing and crabbing in the river in his high school days – but by the time he graduated, it was “time to get out of Dodge,” he said. He spent a year traveling in Europe and North Africa, then headed for San Francisco, where has lived almost the entire time since.

Asked about how he got in to metal working, Morgan said that when Vince build the farmhouse at Toad Hall, he didn’t put in central heating because of the cost of oil. But after a couple of years, he decided that wood stoves were too much trouble, so he took the kids out of school and went to Mexico for the winter, putting the kids in school there. “But the upshot was that he was taking sculpture classes there, and he met this guy Angelo, who was a blacksmith from Sicily, and they became really close friends. So that summer, I was invited to go up to Angelo’s house in Canada and study blacksmithing with him. So when I was 13 I did my first apprenticeship with him.”

As it happened, Leslie’s sister ended up marrying Angelo, and they moved to California. So when Morgan decided to leave Chestertown, he became Angelo’s apprentice in San Francisco, working for three or four years with him. “He was a real old master,” Morgan said. ”I spent like the first six months sweeping the floor – that kind of old school apprenticeship. There was a lot of stuff I should have paid more attention or done more. I wish I remember half of what that guy had forgotten.”  He said Angelo’s work included “amazing gates and railings,” along with furniture, “really beautifully done high-end work.”

Since then, he’s been doing “whatever came along, some things not very exciting, others really exciting.” He said he ended up meeting several sculptors with whom he collaborated on monumental sculptures and public works in San Francisco. He described his own style as “naturalistic – stuff just comes out of me for some reason.”

“What’s so neat about metal work is that there’s so many different aspects to it, anywhere from rocket engineering to this kind of stuff (“Feeling the Pinch”) where you just whack it with a hammer and call it good,” he said.

One piece he mentioned that he particularly liked was a collaboration with his friend Brian Goggin. The pieces consisted of fragments of furniture cut apart, for which Raimond would build an internal steel armature to make them look like animals running. One installation had the “furniture animals” running off a roof at the Arts Center in the Yerba Buena Gardens section of San Francisco. Another was up for 15 years in San Francisco, at a residential hotel condemned after an earthquake. “We had bathtubs jumping out of the window, and lamps and couches and tables and chairs – it’s called ‘Defenestration.’ Tour buses would stop to look at it.”

“Defenestration” project with artist Brian Goggin in San Francisco hotel.

“Defenestration” close-up

He also mentioned a piece done at the Burning Man festival in collaboration with his friend Pepe Ozan. “I would help him weld together these big towers – we would go a month early to build these things. After the tower was built, they’d cover it with stucco mesh, then collect mud – “probably radioactive,” he joked – from the nearby hot springs to cover the sculptures, “and when it dried, it would crack so it looked like it was just growing right out of the playa.” They did that for four or five years. They also did another public sculpture in San Francisco. “I’ve been lucky over the years just to have really great artists become friends and collaborators,” he said.

“Everybody should go to Burning  Man at least once, just to see what’s possible in America – it’s kind of mind-blowing,” he said.

The Phoenix in memory of Vince Raimond

The phoenix created for Vince was a by-product of the work Morgan did with Pepe. “We would build a structure very similar to that and put the fire inside,” he said. “The phoenix just came out of a few lines I drew.” Leslie Raimond said the night Vince died she had been explaining the concept of resurrection to their granddaughters, “so we thought that was pretty appropriate.”

Morgan Raimond and Leslie Raimond

“I discovered I really like working with copper as a material,” Morgan said. He said he did an artichoke for the Napa Valley wine auction about 15 years ago, and he said he has been enrolled in a sculpture class in Mexico when he was young. “They would give you chisels and a hammer and a piece of tin and you would hammer on it and mark out little masks and stuff like that. So when I started doing the copper, it was like, ‘Wow, I used to do this when I was a kid. What’s neat about copper, is when you work it, it gets harder and harder, but when you heat it up and it gets cool, it’s soft as butter until you work it again. So you can hit it when it’s cold and it’s really malleable. There’s something really pleasurable about that.”

Raimond says he wears eye protection when he works, and in recent times hearing protection. “They have these headphones with a radio in them, so I turn those on and listen to my music. It’s funny, because a lot of the hammer marks are to a particular song, and then the tempo will change and it looks a little different.”

He said Angelo had built a forge out at the family farm, and did a lot of the ornamental railing there. “Feeling the Pinch” was built there. A year earlier, he had caught a crab and put one of the claws in the freezer, thinking there might not be any crabs around when he came back to do the sculpture. He said he was able to scale the claw up for the sculpture. He hadn’t done the elbow or shoulder yet, and then accidentally crushed it. So he went down to the Coast Guard station – “and I guess the first moult had happened, because I found hundreds of empty crab shells on the beach. So I was able to get another claw. That was lucky.”

The artistic gene runs in the family. Raimond said his daughter Camila has become an actress, currently studying drama at the San Francisco School of the Arts. He said Leslie had taken her to London and Paris to see several plays. “She was really inspired,” Leslie said.

“It’s really heartening to see how the arts have grown here in Kent County,” he said, crediting his parents for their work with the Kent County Arts Council. “Even people in San Francisco, when I tell them about it, they’re really impressed. Here the excitement’s raw, and you can see it making a difference.”

“Feeling the Pinch” is currently on a pedestal over the Chester River along the wooden walkway that goes from the foot of High Street to the Fish Whistle restaurant and the Chestertown Marina.

“Feeling the Pinch” on pedestal over Chester River . Sculpture by Cindy Fulton on next pedestal.




Habitat: Artists Take Over a Building in Easton


As property owners continue to ponder how they might transition their light industrial space in small Mid-Shore communities into more viable opportunities, one solution can be found on a seldom frequented street in South Easton where artists have taken over the building.

In this case, the artists have not only signed leases but contributed both time and money in making the needed enhancements for habitable studio space after years operating as a machine shop. And over the last several years have combined forces to create what is now called the Davis Art Center.

This was not an overnight success. At first, visual artists and musicians would happen upon the old building almost by accident in their search for working space. And one by one, they came to the same conclusion that the Davis building had all the critical ingredients required to provide functioning galleries including large windows, tall ceilings solid “bones.”

The Spy caught up with two of the pioneering artists that took a chance on Davis Street.  The first, Elizabeth Casqueiro, left a career in architecture to focus on her artwork, and now shows her work in her native Portugal, the World Bank gallery in Washington to the Massoni Gallery in Chestertown. The second is Heather Harvey, who is currently serving as the chair of the Art and Art History Department at Washington College.

Both of these talented artists reflect on why they agreed to invest in the Davis Center as well as what it means for the seventeen other artists who are now a part of a thriving art community.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Davis Art Center and the artists based there please go here

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.