Artfully Restoring America

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The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world.” ~ Allen Ginsberg

Several days ago, I returned to a town that I had not visited in almost twenty years. I was blown away by the change that has taken place in what used to be a run-down town filled with uncared for historic Federal Style buildings in the heart of the Civil War heritage Area.Frederick, amid the rolling hills and abundant farmland of Frederick County, Maryland has become a charming and vibrant community that has been designated as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations and as a Preserve America Community It was named a 2010 Top Arts Destinations by American Style Magazine in the Small Cities category. 

At the center of it all, are now vibrant shops, charming restaurants, and Federal style buildings that have been salvaged, restored, and renewed. Great testimony for the argument that rather than building new, America should be reclaiming spaces and places to bring life back into existing towns and cities. 

I took a walking tour of the city, strolling along the beautifully restored area of town along side the Carroll Creek, an estuary of the MonocacyRiver. I came across the  Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center and looked in on three exhibits that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

It is fair time in Frederick!  In the upper hall way of the brick cannery building reclaimed as Art Space, was an exhibit of black and white photos that brought back nostalgic memories of State Fairs. A second exhibit, a National Juried Quilt Exhibit was one the best selections of Art Quilts that I have seen. Few quilts were of the ilk that you see on Grandmother’s beds and it was interesting to see how the names of the quilts were carried out in the artistic creation of the quilts. 

The third exhibit – Painting with Thread by Joanne Bast  were canvases that had been so densely stitched with thread that they created fiber paintings of iconic Chesapeake Bay scenes, charming homes or gardens, and in street scenes of other places. One of my favorites appeared to be  perhaps a village in Italy. 

The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center was just the start of my afternoon tour of Frederick. Major support for this vibrant, restored Art Space is provided by the Delaplaine Foundation, the Ausherman Family Foundation, and the Maryland State Arts Council. 

Join me next time for more of my travels through Frederick. In a new millennium, this town is finding success in artistically fulfilling their vision, of a vibrant community through heart and spirit.

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