Queen Anne’s County Arts Council Accepting Grant Applications


The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council is accepting applications for 2018/19 Arts in Education (AIE) and Community Arts Development (CAD) Grants.  Each year the Council makes AIE grant awards to support programming in schools through the Art in Education Grant and to community organizations through the Community Arts Development Grant.    Qualifying programs range from art related assemblies and artists in residences in schools to performance and operational assistance to non-profit arts organizations.    Since 1984 we have awarded more than $640,000 in support of the arts in Queen Anne’s County.

Rick Strittmater Executive Director said of the program, “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to provide support to some of the wonderful art based non-profit organizations and groups we have here in Queen Anne’s County.  It is my hope that the financial boost these grants provide will help expand their efforts in a meaningful way.”  Eligible programming includes the visual arts, music, performance, and literary programs for presentation in local schools and performance and operational expenses for community arts organizations.

These awards are made possible in part by funding from the Maryland State Arts Council, Queen Anne’s County, and the Town of Centreville.  Applications are available on line at www.queenannescountyarts.com or by calling the Council at 410-758-2520.   The application deadline is May 1, 2018 Anyone with questions regarding the application process can call the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council 410-758-2520.

The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council, Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to promoting, expanding and sustaining the arts.  All donations are 100% tax deductible.

WC to Confer Honorary Degree on Frederick Douglass on Feb. 23


On the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth, Washington College is posthumously awarding the famed abolitionist orator, author, and statesman the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. Douglass’s great-great-great grandson, Kenneth Morris, co-founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and David Blight, a professor of history at Yale University and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, will offer remarks and receive the College’s Award for Excellence.

The free, public event, part of the annual George Washington’s Birthday Convocation, is slated for Friday, Feb. 23, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. The ceremony will also be livestreamed: https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/digital-media-services/live/

“Two hundred years after his birth, it is truly an honor for Washington College to recognize the tenacity and the moral courage Frederick Douglass exhibited by speaking out in support of equal rights for all men and women,” says College President Kurt Landgraf.

Born into slavery in February 1818, not far from the College’s campus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,Douglass came to understand at a very young age that education would be his path to freedom: “Knowledge unfits a child to be a slave,” he wrote. In 1838, he escaped slavery and spent the rest of his life speaking out on human rights issues, including abolitionism and women’s rights, in addition to serving as a federal official and diplomat. His first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), is taught in universities around the world. Yet Douglass himself never had a college education, and Washington College is believed to be the first institution to award him an honorary degree since Howard University did so in 1872.

When Douglass was born, Washington College—the first college in Maryland and one of the oldest in the United States—had already existed for almost 40 years. Among its founding donors, alongside George Washington, were members of the Lloyd family, on whose Eastern Shore plantation Douglass was enslaved during his childhood. The College remained a racially segregated institution until the late 1950s.

“Even without a formal education, Frederick Douglass steeped himself in newspapers, political writings, and treatises to become one of the most famous intellectuals of his time,” Landgraf says. “Washington College should have been thrilled to enroll such a promising scholar. We can’t change that history, but we can and should learn from it.”

The event coincides with Black History Month and a program organized by the College’s Office of Student Affairs, “The Black Experience: From Slavery to Modern Times.” Over the course of several weeks, students and faculty will learn about and discuss contributions African Americans have made to our society, as well as the legacy of slavery that remains. They will visit the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Douglass sites in Talbot County, as well as Cedar Hill, Douglass’s home in southeast Washington that is now a National Historic Site. For a complete listing of events commemorating Frederick Douglass’s bicentennial, visit https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/student-affairs/frederick-douglass-bicentennial/index.php

As part of the Douglass centennial activities on Feb. 23, members of the College’s Black Student Union will deliver copies of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Slave to eighth-graders at Chestertown Middle School. Morris will join them; to honor Douglass’s 200th birthday, Morris’s family foundation is distributing one million hardcover copies of the book to middle-schoolers across the country.

The Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives is a modern abolitionist organization dedicated to teaching today’s generation about one of the most influential figures in American history and raising awareness about the ongoing crisis of human trafficking.

As director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, David Blight oversees the annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize and other public outreach programs regarding the history of slavery and its abolition. Blight is considered the nation’s foremost Douglass scholar; he recently completed the first major biography of Frederick Douglass in more than 20 years, which will be published later in 2018 by Simon and Schuster.

During Convocation ceremonies, recipients of the President’s Medal, the President’s Distinguished Service Awards, and the Alumni Service Award will also be honored.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Upper Eastern Shore Anglers February 20th Meeting


The Upper Shore Eastern Anglers fishing club will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 20th, at American Legion Post 36 (9155 American Legion Rd, Chestertown, MD 21620).  We meet at 6:00 PM for dinner (optional at $15 per person), and the meeting begins at 6:30.

Upper Eastern Shore Anglers is a diverse group of fishermen from Delaware and the Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland.  We’ve been fishing together for over twenty years now.  Our goal is to share our love and knowledge of fishing with other fishermen.  We meet on the third Tuesday of each month to socialize, share a meal, plan events, listen to expert speakers, and swap fish stories. Members enjoy discounted charters, tournaments, and fishing trips, as well as annual fish fries and crab feasts.

The public is welcome to attend.  For more information, contact Stephen McWilliams at 862-591-7327 or here


Main Street Chestertown Announces Grants for Downtown Façade Improvement


The nonprofit downtown revitalization organization Main Street Historic Chestertown is offering a total of $40,000 in matching façade-improvement grants to spruce up commercial buildings in the Historic District. In this first year of the program, owners of downtown buildings or businesses may apply for grants covering 60 percent of the cost of their improvement project, up to a maximum grant of $20,000. The minimum grant amount is $500. Applications will be accepted any time after February 12, 2018.

Funding for the grants is provided by the State of Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development, through its Community Legacy program. Throughout the State, façade grants encourage building renovation, historic preservation and improved economic vitality for historic downtowns. Studies have shown that quality aesthetics increase property values and sales revenues, improve the marketability of spaces within a building, and draw businesses and residents to the area.

A building on Cross Street gets a new coat of paint in the fall of 2016. Photo by Kevin B. Moore.

Chestertown’s Façade Improvement Project will be administered by a three-member panel drawn from the Main Street Design Committee. Architect and historic preservationist Barton Ross will chair the review panel. Working with him will be retail stylist and designer Ellen Hurst and artist and graphic designer Joe Karlik.  Ed Minch will represent the Historic District Commission as a non-voting advisor on the panel.

Any owner of a commercial building in the Historic District, or a store owner who is a tenant of a building in the District and has permission from the building owner, can apply for funding. No government buildings or private residences are eligible.  The grants can apply to a range of improvements, from simple additions such as awnings, flower boxes, signage and painting, to more complex construction projects such as restoring an original façade or replacing windows.

To illustrate how the 60 percent grants apply: A property or business owner must make a minimum investment of about $834 to qualify for the minimum grant reimbursement of $500 (60 percent of $834). If the improvement costs $2,000, the grant would reimburse $1,200; and for $8,000 in expenses, it would reimburse $4,800.  For all renovations costing $33,500 and up, the grant would reimburse the maximum amount of $20,000.

“Preference will be given to projects that restore a building’s historical integrity and improve the exterior appearance of a retail store or restaurant,” says review panel chair Ross. “We also encourage coordinated efforts by contiguous properties.”

Timing is important: Applicants must apply before work begins and are asked to submit “before” pictures and detailed drawings of the proposed renovations, along with at least two bids from contractors. Approved projects will be reviewed by the Maryland Historic Trust and the applicant will need to present the plans to the local Historic District Commission for approval, as is required of any downtown renovation. Reimbursements will be based on actual project costs and will require proof of expenses.

“Façade grant programs have been effective in sparking improvements in small-town commercial centers across the country,” says Ross. “Main Street Chestertown is excited about helping property owners keep our own historic downtown looking fresh and inviting.”

To learn more about Main Street’s Façade Improvement program and to download the application documents, visit www.mainstreetchestertown.org or contact Main Street manager Kay MacIntosh (kay.chestertown@gmail.com410-778-2991).

Mid-Shore History: Frederick Douglass at 200 with Harriette Lowery and Vicki Wilson


There is always something quite remarkable about a bicentennial. For those who experienced it as a national phenomenon during the country’s 200th anniversary in 1976, it cemented the notion that these American milestones have a special reverence attached to them.

One of those unique moments will be taking place this month and throughout the year as the Mid-Shore, and the rest of the nation celebrates the legacy of Frederick Douglass on the anniversary of his 200th birthday.

Talbot County has had an exceptional history in acknowledging the native roots of Douglass on the Eastern Shore thanks in part to the diligent efforts of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, including the moving 2011 installation of the Frederick Douglass statue in front of the Talbot County Courthouse. But even with that remarkable success story, and many others since then, the Honor Society, the Talbot County Council, and some helpful philanthropic angels have not taken lightly the task of being the first in the nation to honor this remarkable national hero.

The Spy sat down with Harriette Lowery and Vicki Wilson from the Frederick Douglass 200th Celebration planning committee to talk about the extensive programming and extraordinary outpouring of support that has come from Douglass native homeland. We also thought it would be fun to include a few of our images that came from that extraordinary moment in June 2011 when the County was blessed by a unique day of respect and harmony.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For the most current information about the Frederick Douglass Celebration schedule please go here.

The National African-American Read-In at Kent County Public Library


Join us for a community celebration of African-American authors!

The National African-American Read-In is the nation’s oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English in order to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.

Kent County Public Library is planning an interactive, multigenerational program that will include readings from a wide variety of authors shared by members of the community. You can come just to listen or plan to step up to the mic and take part as a reader.

Readings may include short essays, passages from novels, poetry, children’s books, or other types of writing. A selection of readings will be available the day of the program, but those interested in reading are encouraged to plan ahead, choose a selection that resonates on a personal level, and practice reading their pieces out loud. To accommodate as many readers as possible, selections should be no more than 2-4 minutes when read aloud.

In order to allow for a wide variety of selections and encourage participation by all ages, the readings will be broken into two sets:

10am – Readings that are family-friendly for all ages
11am – Readings may contain more mature themes

After the readings, stay for a slice of pizza and conversation.

Questions about the program? Please call 410.778.3636.

Saturday, February 10 | 10am
Kent County Public Library | Chestertown Branch

CBMM Offers Highlights Tours on Weekends this February


Each weekend this February, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., is offering guided highlight tours of its exhibitions, with the tours offered free for CBMM members or with general admission. CBMM is also offering free weekday admission—including President’s Day—throughout the month of February.

Guided by an interpreter and offered at 1pm every Saturday and Sunday in February, these hour-long tours explore CBMM’s can’t-be-missed exhibitions and objects, including the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, Edna E. Lockwood restoration and floating fleet of historic Chesapeake Bay boats, Oystering on the Chesapeake, Waterman’s Wharf, and more.

In addition, admission will be free Monday to Friday throughout the month for all CBMM guests. This program is offered through the generous support of Free in February sponsors Shore United Bank and Awful Arthur’s of St. Michaels, Md. CBMM guests visiting in February will also receive a discount card for 15 percent off all meals at Awful Arthur’s, which will be redeemable through March 15, 2018.

General admission is otherwise good for two consecutive days and is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students with ID, $6 for children 6-17, and free for CBMM members and children 5 and under. During the winter months, CBMM is open 10am–4pm seven days a week, with inclement weather closings announced at cbmm.org.

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving more than 80,000 guests each year, CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and 12 exhibition buildings, situated in a park-like, waterfront setting along the Miles River and St. Michaels harbor. Charitable gifts to CBMM’s annual fund enable the museum to educate and inspire the next generation of Chesapeake Bay stewards, and can be made online at cbmm.org/donate.

Poet & Playwright Robert Earl Price at Kent County Public Library


On Saturday, February 3rd, Kent County Public Library welcomes African-American poet and playwright Robert Earl Price for a presentation that weaves together readings from his work with insights into the key events that shaped his career as a black cultural worker in America.

Mr. Price is a veteran of the Black Arts Movement that influenced and was influenced by the recent Civil Rights movement. His poetry strives to capture the visceral impact of the heroism of survival in an oppressive society, often incorporating the lyricism and rhythm of Jazz and Blues.

This program is free and all are welcome to attend.

Kent County Public Library
Chestertown Branch
Saturday, February 3 at 10am

League of Women Voters of Kent County Meeting February 7


On Wednesday evening, February 7 at 7:00 PM the LWVKC will join with the Goldstein Program for Public Affairs at Washington College for a discussion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, otherwise known as DACA. The speakers will be Estela Vianey Ramírez, Assistant Director of the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center in Easton, MD and Ivette Riera Salarich, Court Liaison/Outreach Coordinator for Pro Bono of Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. Ms. Ramírez is herself a DACA recipient, having come to the United States from Honduras as a child with her mother and brother to escape the violence in her country. Ms. Salarich is from Barcelona, Spain and earned a law degree in her own country and practiced law there. She is currently moving toward an American law degree. This event is free and open to the public. It will be held in Hynson Lounge at Washington College. The most convenient parking locations on campus are in Lots B (by the stadium) and C (behind the theater). For more information call: 410-810-1883.