At the Academy: Curator Scott Shields on the AAM Diebenkorn Exhibition


It is actually quite accurate to suggest that the Academy Art Museum has a blockbuster exhibition going on with its current exhibition of the early work of California artist Richard Diebenkorn.

While the small but mighty Academy has a history of pleasantly surprising visitors with powerhouse shows with the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, and James Turrell over the years; with Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 it has set a new high point for the Delmarva peninsula as the only venue on the East Coast to show this remarkable collection the artist’s early work.

In partnership with the Diebenkorn Foundation and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, the AAM has worked with Scott Shields, the exhibition’s curator, to document the extraordinary artistic journey of one of America’s greatest modern art masters.

The Spy sat down with Scott at the Tidewater Inn a few Sundays ago to understand more how Diebenkorn’s early work demonstrates his unique progression before 1955 which marked his rise to the forefront of American modernism.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 please go here

Mid-Shore Arts: The Tred Avon Players and their Laughing Stock


In the canon of theater repertoire, nothing can be more challenging or more humorous for actors than portraying actors in a play. Able to use a lifetime of knowing fellow actors as a reference for character development, or tapping into their own thespian id,  actors tend to flock to these productions.

So it no surprise that the Tred Avon Players quickly filled thirteen roles for their upcoming production of Laughing Stock written by Charles Morey.

Laughing Stock is a hilarious backstage farce and genuinely affectionate look into the world of the theatre. When The Playhouse, a rustic New England summer theatre, schedules a repertory season of Dracula, Hamlet and Charley’s Aunt, comic mayhem ensues. We follow the well-intentioned but over-matched company from outrageous auditions to ego-driven rehearsals through opening nights gone disastrously awry to the elation of a great play well told and the comic and nostalgic season close.

The cast includes C J Barnes as Tyler; Val Cavalheri as Daisy; Missy Doyle as Susannah, Alex Greenlee as Jack; Tyler Henry as Henry; Ben Lee as Braun;  Kyla Lynch as Karma; Brian McGunigle as Richfield; Bob O’Boyle as Vernon; John “Perk” Perkinson as Craig; Jackie Royer as Mary; Lynn Sanchez as Sarah, and Rob Sanchez as Gordon.

The Spy caught up with four of the cast members yesterday afternoon.

This video is approximately three minutes in length.

Performances dates are May 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Performance times are Thursday, Friday, & Saturday at 7:30 pm with Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Tickets are $22 for adults, and $11 for students (fees included). May 2 is Half Price Preview Thursday. For tickets go to or call 410-226-0061. The Oxford Community Center is located at 200 Oxford Rd. Oxford, MD 21654. Tred Avon Players are sponsored in part by revenues from the Talbot County Arts Council, which is funded by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.


Kids Grieve Too: Talbot Kids Grief Camp with Becky DeMattia


When Chestertown’s Becky DeMattia, Talbot Hospice’s bereavement coordinator, talks about providing support for children who grieve, it might seem odd at first to hear her talk about interjecting fun as part of that effort. But as you begin to understand that kids work through bereavement very differently from adults,  it becomes much more clear how important a camp environment might be for a child struggling with the loss of a parent or another loved one.

As Becky tells us in our Spy interview, this is the reason that Talbot Hospice has just started Talbot Kids Grief Camp. This special children’s bereavement camp is designed for any youth, ages 6-12, who have experienced that kind of loss. This two-day camp will be held May 18-19, 2019, at the Talbot County Agricultural Center, and there is space for 35 participants. Each child attends the camp at no cost, to learn how to cope with the complex feelings of grief.

The goal is to provide an opportunity for children to process their losses in a healthy, peer supported environment via a curriculum of activities and therapeutic practices designed to teach children about themselves, and the grief they are experiencing. Together campers will discover ways to cope, realize they are a valuable member of the group and work together to overcome challenges ahead. The camp will also provide grief education, support, and resources to parents and families and help strengthen the family unit as they process the loss together.

We spent some time with Becky at the Hospice office in Easton last week.

For more information about Talbot Kids Grief Camp please contact Becky DeMattia at 410-822-6681 or


A Film Teaser by Kurt Kolaja for Those Wild Horses of Chincoteague


As readers of the Spy know, we have a special affection for the masterful short teaser films that encourage attendance to film festivals as well as other special screenings of independent film.  Sadly, these sometimes work of shear genius are rarely acknowledged enough.

One of the most recent came to the Spy’s attention by local filmmaker Kurt Kolaja to drum up viewership for the upcoming broadcast on MTV of his speciatalor documentary The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague for Chesapeake Bay Week on April 22.

For more information please go here.

After the First Decade: Piazza’s Emily Chandler Looks Back and Forward


As the Spy celebrates its own tenth year of operation, it dawned on us that there were quite a number of businesses on the Mid-Shore that started at the same time the Spy began publishing.  Ranging from bakeries to contractors, dozens of small businesses opened their doors amid a significant economic recession, relying on instinct and self-confidence that their services would be sought after, no matter the current business climate.

With that in mind, the Spy has decided to interview many of these brave entrepreneurs over the next year for them to reflect on their experiences.

We start with Emily Chandler, the owner of the now extremely popular Piazza Italian Market, in Easton.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Piazza please go here.


Publisher Notes: The Spy Welcomes Columnist Angela Rieck


Adding to our roster of Spy columnists, we are pleased to welcome Angela Rieck as she begins her weekly column in both the Chestertown Spy and Talbot Spy today.

Dr. Rieck offers our Mid-Shore readers a unique perspective as a native of Caroline County and her professional life the led to her work at the prestigious Bell labs and other high tech companies after receiving her Ph.D. in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland.

Now retired in St. Michaels (and periodically Key West), Angela has reconnected with her Eastern Shore roots as she combines her sense of place, a love of analysis, and an uncommon literary sensibility for a mathematician in her writing. All of which makes her point of view a perfect fit with the Spy’s ongoing quest for thoughtful commentary on our world on the Eastern Shore and beyond.

Angela’s column will be published every Thursday.

Senior Nation: Ask Irma on Leaving Independent Living Too Soon


Senior Nation is committed to offering resources to help us deal with the challenges and opportunities of aging. To that end, we are launching a new monthly video blog called “Ask Irma” hosted by Irma Toce, C.E.O. of the Londonderry on the Tred Avon in Easton, where we will be exploring on all topics related to aging.

This month: Prematurely leaving independent living and the challenges of falling.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For information about Londonderry on the Tred Avon please go here

At the Academy: Dressed to Kill


It will be a shock to most visitors to the Academy Art Museum current exhibition entitled “Dressed to Kill” which features Roman, Greek, and Hellenistic jewelry, helmets, vessels that are nearly 2000-year old, how remarkably contemporary much of it looks in 2019. With stunning examples of earrings, bracelets, and other fine jewelry, it is hard not to assume that these same objects might feel right at home at the AAM’s annual craft fair rather that centuries-old artifacts.

But, of course, that’s what the Academy’s director Ben Simons and curator Anke Van Wagenberg wanted the Museum’s guests to experience when they asked Guest Curator Sarah Cox to organize the exhibition.

The Spy talked to Ben and Anke a few weeks ago about the exhibition.

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

Mid-Shore Education: Ben Dize Reflects on 50 Years of Teaching


While undoubtedly many teachers on the Mid-Shore have celebrated 50 years or more in educating our young people in the region, it is hard to imagine for more a diverse background than Ben Dize.

Ben has had the unique experience of teaching in the Kent County Public Schools system for 30 years,  and then immediately followed that up with now 20 years at the Gunston School outside of Centreville. All in the field of art education.

During those five decades, Ben has been a careful observer of the benefits and sometimes challenges that come with both public and private education, but even more so with the impact that art education has on young people.

The Spy drove over to Gunston a few weeks ago to spend a few moments with Ben to record his reflections on education and his love of teaching.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Gunston School please go here

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