The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s exhibition, The Changing Chesapeake, will open to the public on Wednesday, March 1 in the Steamboat Building gallery.
Artists were asked to reflect on how climate change and the impact of humans on the environment shapes their Chesapeake community, how the way they identify with and are inspired by the Chesapeake has evolved, what they would want someone 100 years from now to know about life and community traditions in the Chesapeake, and their vision for the future of life in the region.
The Changing Chesapeake will invite guests to explore the perspectives of artists from across Maryland and surrounding areas. The works were selected through a community panelist review process and include traditional media such as photography and painting, as well as stop-motion animation, found-object art, quilting, original songwriting, embroidery, poetry, and sculpture.
Just a few of the unique works featured: Peter Panyon’s music video, “Can’t Work the River,” presents the first-person perspective of a waterman facing a disappearing livelihood. Using quilt and crochet techniques, Laura Guertin’s fiber artwork, “Ghosts of the Coast,” portrays a window that frames its titular spirits, which are trees dying from saltwater intrusion. Writer Anna Marhefka’s creative nonfiction piece, “And still, she beckons,” reflects on her relationship with the Bay as a child and adult through memories of boating and fishing.
Sharon Dennis’ painting “Anchor of Hope Cemetery” portrays graves dating to the Revolutionary War falling into the water along an eroding shoreline. In his photo-artistic montage “Tangier Abandoned,” Tom Payne presents a fantastical depiction of Tangier Island underwater, which may become Tangier’s eventual fate. An oil painting by Sharon Malley, “Momfords Poynt from Space” examines the beauty and gracefulness of rivers as they intersect the land, by imagining John Smith’s map of the Chesapeake from space.
“Our concept for The Changing Chesapeake was to break down barriers and encourage artists of all types and experience levels to find their voice, share their personal histories, passions, fears, and hopes, and convey how the Chesapeake shapes and is shaped by individual and community identities,” said Curator and Folklife Center Manager Jen Dolde. “These artworks document how cultural traditions are evolving and transforming in an era of dynamic change. They are a human response to environmental, economic, and internal and external factors that often seem beyond our control.”
The panel selected more than 75 works, which will be on exhibition through Feb. 25, 2024, with public programming slated for spring 2023. CBMM members and the selected artists will be invited to view the exhibition and mingle during an opening event on Thursday, March 2 from 5-7pm. CBMM members can register now at bit.ly/ChangingChesapeakeOpening.
The Changing Chesapeake is funded through CBMM’s Regional Folklife Center under the Maryland Traditions program of the Maryland State Arts Council. Viewing this exhibition is included with general CBMM admission and free for CBMM members. Visit cbmm.org to learn more.