About Dave Wheelan

At the Academy: AAM’s Love Affair with Photography

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If there was any doubt about the Academy Art Museum’s commitment to photography, the galleries of the art center in Easton this spring should put that concern to rest.

From a display of photographic additions recently added to the AAM collection to the exhibitions of John Gossage and Matthew Moore, the Academy has assembled a robust demonstration of the institution’s love affair with photography.

The Spy talked to AAM director Ben Simons and curator Anke Van Wagenberg for a small download on these three remarkable exhibits.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Academy Art Museum please go here

Mid-Shore Arts: When Art and History Meet with Jason Patterson

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College towns are typically blessed with, and perhaps even a bit dependent on, the academic version of “twofers.” With each talented faculty member recruited, there is a good chance that an equally gifted spouse or partner will be part of the package.

Examples in Chestertown are endless of this form of collateral benefits. A recent case came to mind when the Spy announced that Sabine Harvey, wife of Washington College’s Dr. Michael Harvey, had been appointed to run Chestertown’s beloved farmers’ market. This was just the latest of Sabine’s remarkable contributions to Kent County agriculture and gardening.

And this is undoubtedly the case with the arrival of Dr. Meghan Grosse,  a professor with the College’s communication and media studies program. Dr. Grosse’s partner, artist Jason Patterson, agreed to make the move East from his native Campaign-Urbana in Illinois and now has his studio in Chestertown.

In the months that followed his arrival, Jason almost immediately became Kent County Arts Council’s first artist in residence. A few months after that, he was invited by Sumner Hall to exhibit his art (on display until March 24), and around the same time became a Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellow at WC’s Starr Center.

The Spy sat down with Jason at the Spy HQ in Chestertown for a quick chat about his work and the unique opportunities that come when art connects with history.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. More information about Jason Paterson’s art work can be found here.

Breaking Clear Away by Craig Fuller

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Don’t know about you, but from time to time I just get obsessively curious about something.

Driving to enjoy the special features of the beautiful area in which we live, I kept noticing that Scenic Byway signage often had a Chesapeake Country sign attached. Whether there are more of these signs being mounted around the area or I am just noticing them more frequently, I couldn’t help but wonder just what the geographic characteristics of Chesapeake Country entailed or who founded this “country” within a country.

Turns out, it’s not so clear.

Seems that a confluence of thinking related to the protection our scenic beauty and encouragement of citizens to travel purely for the sake of enjoying our unique heritage culminated with federal, state and local officials launching common initiatives. So, who knew? But, with too few successful collaborations around these days, why not recognize a worthy effort.

Research uncovers that the states got into the action first in 1910 with Massachusetts enacting legislation authorizing cities or towns to designate scenic roads. Now, there are about 900 state scenic byways nationwide.

At the federal level, a burst of national awareness occurred back in 1965. Then, at a White House Conference on Natural Beauty, discussions on scenic roads lead to a call for scenic development and road beautification in the Federal highway system as part of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965.  

One wonders why things didn’t move faster….although, the US Forest Service did start designating scenic roads in the late 1980s. Then, in 1991, The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act established an Interim National Scenic Byways Program authorizing the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to designate National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads, as well as providing dedicated funding for byway projects. From 1992 to 2012, the Secretary made 150 such designations and provided $507 million for 3,174 projects.

Of course, no place is better than Washington, D.C. at establishing interest groups, and the scenic byways have theirs – Scenic America... And, wouldn’t you know, at this very moment Congress is being pressed – successfully – to reinvigorate the “dormant” National Scenic Byway program! Here’s the press release from last month by Scenic America concerning recent developments: 

So, this brings us to Maryland’s scenic byways and what the State calls Chesapeake Country.

It appears the state embraced a federally designated national byway that runs from Chesapeake City to Kent Island. State and local officials looked at plans late in 2011 to expand the national byway further south. Today, the State of Maryland literature suggests that the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway extends 419 miles from Chesapeake City to Crisfield. And, to add further emphasis, Maryland has designated a “Heart of the Chesapeake Country Heritage Area” governed by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and administered by the Maryland Historical Trust.

Believe it or not, this is the simple explanation for how and why Chesapeake Country came to be.

It also seems evident that well intentioned people wanted to capture the national excitement from James Michener’s 1978 novel, Chesapeake and thus encourage travel and tourism to our region.

However it all came about, in my view it is a worthy and important cause that brings people and revenue to the region by broadening the understanding of lands off of Highway 50.

As we look forward to improving weather with the arrival of spring, I intend to spend more time on the Scenic Byways of the region regardless of which governmental entity established them. They lead to important places that share stories of our past.

While the focus of the Scenic Byway program is road-based, the areas also provide hiking and boating opportunities.

From time to time I hope to provide a look at an interesting scenic place or two…but, don’t wait for me. Get your map and head out on your own adventure.

Ever seen this bridge? It’s found on the way to Hoopers Island and a world away from the larger cities we all pass through. Check it out one day. Share a favorite spot and we’ll give it well deserved attention.

There is no doubt that areas have been protected for generations so people can learn their stories and enjoy their beauty. And this all comes with a great benefit identified so eloquently by John Muir when he suggested we should, “…keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods….[to] wash your spirit clean.”

On the road at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge…

 

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Mid-Shore Arts: A Spectacular Monument Planned to Honor Fireworks’ Best Friend

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It’s too bad that liberal arts colleges don’t offer undergraduate majors in the field of fireworks. If they did, Washington College would undoubtedly find itself as one of the top schools in the country.

That is mainly because of the research work of the late WC professor Joseph McLain. Already known for his pioneering work in WWII with the development rocket propellant formulas, smoke grenades, and underwater torch blowers, McLain used this knowledge to usher in an entirely new era of firework science and design.

While some would consider McLain’s passion for fireworks science-driven, the truth was that as a product himself of a liberals arts education, his curiosity was equally related to the art that resulted from this form of combustion.

His capacity of multidisciplinary thinking was one reason Joe McLain was appointed president of his alma mater in 1973,  all the while encouraging his former student, and later colleague, Dr. John Conkling, to rise to become one of the nation’s foremost authorities on fireworks.

The fireworks connection was always on the mind of his daughter, Lynn McLain, as she pondered a fitting memorial for her father’s work at Washington College. This only grew as she discussed her idea with college officials and local arts leader Alex Castro, and the result promises to turn out to one of the most spectacular public art displays on the Eastern Shore.

With much of the money in hand , and with the blessing of the college’s current president, Kurt Landgraf, work will start soon on the installation of “Radiant Echo” by Baltimore-based artist Glenn Shrum and his design team at Flux Studio. The goal is to turn on this light sculpture in time to welcome a new freshman class in the fall of 2019.

The Spy caught up with Lynn and President Landgraf in Chestertown a few weeks ago to get some details. We also were able to chat Glenn via Skype to understand how remarkable this addition will be for both arts and science community of the Eastern Shore.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. To make a donation to the Radiant Echo project, Checks can be made out to the Washington College Office of Advancement, with “Atrium Sculpture Project” in the memo line. Please sent to the Washington College Office of Advancement, 300 Washington Ave., Chestertown, MD 21620.

A Chesapeake Charities Case Study: Public Transportation and Kent County

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“What is the difference between your organization and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation?”

It is quite likely Linda Kohler has been asked that question over one million times since she started working at Chesapeake Charities in 2005.

Throughout her day as its executive director, she graciously points out the Charities early mission of working with individuals or small groups, mostly with no resources at all, to create organizations that serve the public good.  And now, with close to one hundred nonprofits under the Chesapeake Charities umbrella, this story is compelling.

Yet, it is the other work of Chesapeake Charities that is equally impressive. Linda and her staff collaboratively work with those same organizations and others on mission delivery and funding.

A case in point has been Chesapeake Charities’ work with the United Way of Kent County. It took on a partner role with the United Way’s goal to identify the most serious challenges facing Kent County, and they successfully found funding for a professional assessment of needs. The results were four areas of major concern, including public transportation, generational poverty, senior care, and the implementation of Dial 211 public services hotline.

The Spy thought it would be interesting to drill down to the issue of public transportation as an example of this works.  Now that the United Way could confirm that getting to work, to health care, to school, or a community center was a problem,  the next step was to find transportation professionals to identify economically realistic solutions. And once again, Chesapeake Charities was there to help find the funds to do that critical first step.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Chesapeake Charities please go here.

A Chesapeake Charities Case Study: Public Transportation on the Shore

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“What is the difference between your organization and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation?”

It is quite likely Linda Kohler has been asked that question over one million times since she started working at Chesapeake Charities in 2005.

Throughout her day as its executive director, she graciously points out the Charities early mission of working with individuals or small groups, mostly with no resources at all, to create organizations that serve the public good.  And now, with close to one hundred nonprofits under the Chesapeake Charities umbrella, this story is compelling.

Yet, it is the other work of Chesapeake Charities that is equally impressive. Linda and her staff collaboratively work with those same organizations and others on mission delivery and funding.

A case in point has been Chesapeake Charities’ work with the United Way of Kent County. It took on a partner role with the United Way’s goal to identify the most serious challenges facing Kent County, and they successfully found funding for a professional assessment of needs. The results were four areas of major concern, including public transportation, generational poverty, senior care, and the implementation of Dial 211 public services hotline.

The Spy thought it would be interesting to drill down to the issue of public transportation as an example of this works.  Now that the United Way could confirm that getting to work, to health care, to school, or a community center was a problem,  the next step was to find transportation professionals to identify economically realistic solutions. And once again, Chesapeake Charities was there to help find the funds to do that critical first step.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Chesapeake Charities please go here.

The Power of Being Agile: Qlarant Embraces the Agile Manifesto

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There’s a good chance that most people, even those running major businesses on the Mid-Shore, have never heard of the Agile Manifesto nor its twelve principles of project management but there is an equally good chance they will soon.

This project planning strategy, which was created in 1983 by software developers in a remote ski lodge over a long weekend, has been the go-to system for complex product development but rarely used beyond its intended silo. In most cases, upper management was pleased to get their products to market but didn’t pay too much attention to what system was used to create those products.

But in the last decade, all of that has changed dramatically. Hundreds of companies have now adopted this unique methodology and applied it to other functions like marketing, business administration, human resources, employee education, and countless other areas of a business.

The Agile approach has become so effective that companies are not only using it but in some cases will not even be able to bid on projects unless they are officially certified as an Agile-based business.

Easton-based Qlarant had been one of those companies who adopted the Agile principles early on in the development of their sophisticated software to uncover health insurance fraud and waste. So impressed with those results, management took the Agile model and has now used it in almost every part of the company’s mission. But more recently, the company took it to another level; they applied for and received approval to train and implement these techniques with their clients.

The reason is quite simple; the Agile method works exceptionally well. While a few large corporations have had some trouble in developing the cultural shift needed to successfully deploy the twelve principles, the vast majority of companies using Agile have shown remarkable success.

In fact, the enthusiasm for this simple approach has been so great that advocates demand that nonprofit organizations and schools to integrate its use while others have promoted its use to manage their family life

Needless to say, the Spy was intrigued by this new development and what it may mean for Qlarant  to be one of the first in the country to offer this as an important part of their tool chest. We sat down with Qlarant’s Ellen Evans and Andrew Welsh a few weeks ago to learn more. 

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Qlarant please go here.

Spy History: Adam Goodheart on Washington College and the Mid-Shore

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Every year in February, the United States goes out of its way to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. And every year, Washington College uses this opportunity to remind the country that the first real monument to America’s founding father was the establishment of a liberal arts college in Chestertown in 1782.

It is a story worth telling. With Washington’s specific approval, accompanied by a significant donation, William Smith, the college’s first president, set out to create an entirely new curriculum dedicated to training its students to prepare for leadership and citizenship in a very new country. So new, in fact, that it had only completed its formal separation from Britain just months before Washington College opened its doors.

But what gets lost all to0 often in the narrative of the founding of Washington College is the fact that its genesis was much more the result of some of the country’s best and brightest living in Maryland making an extraordinary investment in what they considered to be an essential resource for the Eastern Shore.

With landowner names like Goldsborough, Lloyd, Paca, and Tilghman, many of whom served as Maryland governors, representatives to the Continental Congress, or signers of the Declaration of Independence, these families generously donated for the new college’s founding despite the considerable distance Chestertown was by land or water from their homes.

That is one of the many rich takeaways from the Spy’s recent conversation with historian and author Adam Goodheart, Washington College’s long-serving director of the Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. In addition, Adam talks about the remarkable backgrounds of these Talbot and Queen Anne’s sponsors (who donated almost two-thirds of the funds needed to launch the college), their vision for the Shore, as well as frank discussion on their slaveholder past.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length. For more information on Washington College Starr Center please go here

Mid-Shore Food: Chesapeake Harvest Goes Online with Jordan Lloyd

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Chesapeake Harvest, which has been incubated by the Easton Economic Development Corporation for the last several years, started out focused on preparing Eastern Shore farmers to expand their market reach by training them with best practices and food safety guidelines required for larger markets.

But from the very beginning, Chesapeake Harvest was also eager to help those farmers with marketing and sales strategies to satisfy not only wholesale demands, but develop creative new ways to open up retail and institutional opportunities.

One of those new opportunities has been the development of Chesapeake’s online farmers’ market. With the leadership of advisory board member Jordan Lloyd, his wife, Alice, Chesapeake Harvest’s Elizabeth Beggins, and EEDC director Tracy Ward, the team switched on their website a year ago to test the waters of this entirely new way to bring local food to local family tables.

Last week, the Spy sat down with Jordan at the Bullitt House in Easton to talk about this new program and its future.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Chesapeake Harvest and to access their website please go here.

 

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