D.J. Spooky, Alex Castro, and the Great Future of Art in Chestertown


Over the next three days, a fellow that goes by the name of D.J.Spooky will be walking the streets of Chestertown. While the name might not immediately be recognized at first, the enormous effort and teamwork needed to bring the artist and author to Washington College speak volumes about how important it was for the former Metropolitan Museum of Art artist-in-residence to be on the Eastern Shore this Fall.

The Spooky visit is also the kind of event that should give every resident of Chestertown a sense of profound gratitude that Washington College is amongst us. By pulling together resources from SANDBOX, the Starr Center, and WC’s Concert Series, the College continues to demonstrate, year after year, its ability to bring some of the best international examples of artists and writers at the very peak of their creative output.

D.J. Spooky’s visit also marks an important moment in Chestertown’s cultural history. It will be the last art program that SANDBOX founder, and first director, Alex Castro, will host before his well-earned retirement in December.

It’s safe to say that this is a very bittersweet moment for those who know of Alex’s remarkable contribution to the arts in Chestertown. After years of extraordinary professional achievement as an architect, magazine publisher, and gifted artist in both Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Castro and his wife, Kelly, chose Kent County as the place to begin a new phase of their life experience in 2009. And since that moment of arrival, Alex’s handiwork can be seen in virtually every part of the community’s art and cultural undertakings.

Alex has not only contributed to the community through creative leadership roles with groups like RiverArts and the Sultana Education Foundation; he single-handedly obtained a $600,000 grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation for Washington College to create SANDBOX as a way to integrate WC into the community through art.

In his second interview with the Spy, Alex talks about SANDBOX, the future of art in Chestertown, and the use of the word “soup” as a metaphor, which he first used six years ago in his first interview with us, to describe the carefully blended combination of art, artists, and arts organizations into creating a remarkable rich texture that now makes up one of the most exciting and emerging new centers for art in the mid-Atlantic region.

This video is approximately seven minutes in length. For more information about D.J. Spooky, please go here. For information about SANDBOX, please go here.

About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Thanks for your boundless enthusiasm and devotion to the cause of art in Chestertown, You will be sorely missed.

    Bob & Pam Foss

  2. Mary Wood says:

    Am I the only one who finds the curving metal shape i Wilmer park dangerous? Look at the picture of the little child playing under it, his head inches away from its sharp edge.

    • Kees de Mooy says:

      Hi Mary, the edges of the brushed stainless steel sculpture will be rounded, thereby making it a lot safer than the image might suggest. David Hess designed the interactive sculptures at Pierces Park in Baltimore (http://baltimorewaterfront.com/pierces-park/), which are made of the same material and are likewise safe for children.

  3. Carla Massoni says:

    Alex Castro’s “broad reach” will be felt for years to come. Since the day he arrived, he has shared his creativity and visionary sensibilities with our community. His humility and willingness to elevate both the dialogue and the human being is at the heart of his many successes. I will miss him.

  4. Howard McCoy says:

    Many, MANY thanks for including Mary and me in your vision, Alex. Your way of bringing interesting and creative people together at Sandbox was remarkable.

    Best wishes,
    Howard and Mary

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