Shake off the winter blues and celebrate Family, Art, Food, and Culture on the Chestertown Art Crawl, Saturday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will highlight the rich network of arts and cultural producers at work in Chestertown right now. The overarching theme of the event is FAMILY. Stops along the crawl will feature special exhibitions exploring the theme. Participating venues include MassoniArt, RiverArts (all locations), Sumner Hall, Jason Patterson Studio, The Book Plate, The Historical Society of Kent County, Heron Point Art Gallery, Casa Carmen Wine House and The Retriever bar/restaurant. The event will also feature 2 stops at Washington College: Kohl Gallery and the studio of WC Art Professor Julie Wills. The FAMILY theme builds upon the Kohl Gallery exhibit, Intimate Generations, a six-person exhibition exploring family connection in contemporary art curated by new Kohl Gallery Director and Curator Tara Gladden.
The purpose of the Chestertown Art Crawl is to showcase the vibrant, creative culture and community spirit of Chestertown. The universal theme of FAMILY offers an accessible entry point open for all to participate in the fun.
The Art Crawl encourages participants to also enjoy the seventh annual Chester Gras celebration while they are downtown. Hosted by Peoples Bank to raise funds for the Kent County Community Food Pantry’s Backpack nutrition program for children, Chester Gras takes place in a heated tent on Spring Avenue, in front of Peoples Bank, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It offers a traditional Cajun Mardi Gras party with a parade on High Street, New-Orleans-style music, a selection of Louisiana specialties prepared by local chefs, a costume contest, and a silent auction. For information, visit chestergras.org.
Kohl Gallery director Gladden suggests starting the Art Crawl at Kohl Gallery (open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in the Gibson Center for the Arts on the Washington College campus, followed by a visit to the studio of WC Art Professor Julie Wills, who will have selections on view from her family-related series, Split Void. Wills’ studio (508 Washington Avenue) will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit Heron Point (501 Campus Avenue) any time between 10 a.m and 5 p.m. to view Shore Love Little Quilts!, an exhibit of art quilts, wall quilts and other small works.
Spend the bulk of the day downtown where you can take in more walkable venues, all open for the duration of the crawl from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MassoniArt (203 High Street) has invited gallery artists to exhibit artwork in its companion exhibition, Intimate Generations, Too. Sumner Hall (206 S. Queen Street) will showcase works by Kent County native Kyle Hackett in an exhibit entitled Spirits Rejoice. The Historical Society of Kent County (301 Hight Street) will feature a special window display. At the Book Plate, (112 S. Cross Street) Ezra Greenspan will offer a lecture at 4:00pm on the family Frederick Douglass left behind in Talbot County. The Garfield Center for the Arts (210 High Street) will offer a special exhibition in the Lobby of the Theatre featuring portraits of the comedic families from current show, Greater Tuna. Also on display will be Leslie Raimond’s portrait quilt made in the late 90’s featuring images of many of Kent County’s elders – a wonderful work of community connection and local history. Robert Ortiz Studios (207 S. Cross Street) will feature heirloom quality Shaker & Japanese inspired furniture with additional works on display by Latin American ceramic artists and metal artist, Rob Glebe. The Artists’ Gallery (239 High Street) will also have members works on display. New venue, Tish Fine Arts Plus (343 High Street) will feature an exhibition of regional artists and a music performance by Paul Santori from 1:30-3:30pm.
RiverArts will have artworks on display including Amazing People in the main gallery (315 High Street, Ste. 106). Amazing People, curated by Lani Seikaly and Gordon Wallace, features stories of local men and women who have experienced poverty growing up. The story tellers are all amazing people from whom we have much to learn. Collectively they model for all of us the courage, caring, generosity of spirit, perseverance, intelligence, resourcefulness and grace needed to deal with life’s challenges. As one single mom said, “You have to cope with the hand you are dealt,” and all of them have demonstrated their ability to be successful in doing that. Short videos of the stories can also be found online at EasternShoreStories.com/
Two of our many great downtown eateries have a focus on themes related to past generations in their décor. Casa Carmen Wine House (312 Cannon Street) will offer its tapas menu from noon to 4 p.m., with the owners’ family photos as backdrop. The Retriever bar/restaurant (337 High Street) will be a perfect place to conclude the day in Chestertown’s Arts & Entertainment District, with cocktails and dinner surrounded by antique and vintage family portraits.
A directory will be provided for visitors to tailor the crawl to their preference. If you are an arts and culture producer in Chestertown and would like to be featured on the crawl, please contact Tara Gladden, (347) 768-4930, tgladden2@washcoll.