The recent delivery and installation of seven sculptures from the Hanna and Peter Woicke Collection in St. Michaels are transforming Chestertown into a gallery of public sculptures emphasizing the town’s commitment to the arts.
Ben Tilghman, Chair of the Chestertown Public Arts Committee and Washington College Associate Professor and Chair, Art + Art History says that the benefit of public art is well-researched and enhances the community on several levels.
“Public art increases a feeling of civic pride, and there are connections between having public art around and people feeling more inspired to care for their community,” Tilghman says.
With 17 more to come, each sculpture by individual artists will be placed throughout the town, from along the bike path and H.H. Garnett Elementary School to the Chestertown Library and Carpenter Park at Washington Park.
The Chestertown Public Art Committee refers possible locations for specific sculptures to the Town Council for review with the idea that there will be a thematic relationship between art and its placement.
The installation process began by creating bases for each sculpture by Tom Parker Welding and Fabricating in Millington, then transported by Chris Hansard at Level Arts Services & Installations in Annapolis. Concrete and bluestone base installation was completed by Ben Herr at Anthony’s Flowers and Landscape, and landscape design and installation management were directed by Miles Barnard at South Fork Studio and Landscape Architecture.
A recent press release by the Chestertown Public Arts Committee described the newly paced art as:
“The new installations feature two works by Serbian sculptor Magdalena Miočinović Andrić, the first permanent installation of the artist’s work in the United States. A versatile artist who works in bronze, wood, and stone, Andrić explores the borderlands between representational and abstract art. The two newly installed works, The Big Courtship next to the Kent Cultural Alliance’s newly refurbished Raimond Center and The Great Yes along the Gilchrest Rail Trail where it crosses High Street, both arise out of the deep artistic traditions of bronze figural sculpture while exploring new forms.
Vessel by Peter Burke, installed in Louisa Carpenter Park, is another work that explores meaningful ways to represent the body, as the widely-exhibited English artist has done for over forty years. Constructed out of small steel bars welded together, the sculpture presents a human body on its head waiting, as the name implies, to be filled up. The sculpture asks its viewers to consider what exactly it is that fulfills them.
Another work, Figure by Walter Bailey, presents a similarly mysterious human form in the pocket park at 107 S. Cross St. Working with a chainsaw in wood, the English artist created a faceless figure out of sinuous lines, evoking a spiritual or ghostly form.
The American artist Susan Stamm Evans also created an air of mystery in Face Fragment III, which has been installed in Remembrance Park along Horsey Lane. Noticing the unsettling effect of works of art where we cannot see a person’s eyes, Evans removed the eyes for this series of sculptures. With its lips lightly parted, the viewer is left to wonder what secret knowledge the sculpture might be trying to impart.
The final work to be installed is Sentinel, a lively representation of an owl by the American artist Don Rambadt. Gracing the new rain garden at the Cerino Center in Chestertown Marina, Sentinel pays tribute to the vibrant confluence of art and nature that animates so much of Chestertown and Kent County.”
The Spy recently sat down with Ben Tilghman to talk about the new arrivals, the significance of public art, and what the collection means to the community.
This video is approximately seven minutes in length. Images and video courtesy of Marianne Sade and David Hegland. For more about Chestertown Public Arts Committee go here.