A Musical Canvas

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St. Ignatius Church, Hickory, MD

A beautiful venue always adds to the experience when art of any kind is on display. St. Ignatius Church in Hickory, MD did not disappoint. It was where The Deer Creek Chorale, a multi-generational choral group exhibited their vocal talents late last Sunday afternoon. The singers, comprised of more than eighty members, from Baltimore and Harford County as well as a few voices from southern Pennsylvania have entertained not only in Maryland but at The Forbidden City Concert Hall in Bejing and Carnegie Hall and other impressive venues.

The non-profit organization is under the direction of Martha Banghart and her artistic staff which includes Julie Culotta, who founded the Deer Creek Youth Group nearly seven years ago. Now, youngsters age fifteen and over can have their interests and talents in the musical arts nurtured through the multi-aged group. As the audience “walked the rainbow trail” with the youth singers, lyrics encouraged others to be colorful, be bold and powerful, but most of all BE YOU! The youngsters are not just walking the walk, they are talking the talk as they learn by doing and being involved with what strikes their passions, choral singing.

The music of the evening brought a broad spectrum of compositions, many of which had colors in their titles such as Bein’ Green and Orange Colored Sky, sung by the youth. Deep Purple and A Red, Red Rose, True Colors and The Blue Ridge were a only a few sung by the adults. There were a few lively songs, but never riotous, such as Build Me Up Buttercup and a Big Yellow Taxi, sung by The Lady’s Six +1.

Susan Zantop, who is also a member of Deer Creek Chorale and Cultural Events Coordinator for the Maryland Center for the Arts, did a fine job of narrating which brought context to the music and how it tied into the visual arts portion of the program. Two award-winning artists, Joan Hodous and Bill Rothenbach presented their two paintings for silent auction, a oil and acrylic on canvas, respectively. The painters also provided commentary on their vision of what they brought to the canvas. Joan Hodous’ landscape was of Blue Ridge Mountains in the background flowing down to a hilly pastoral scene in the foreground. The colors on the canvas were subdued autumn hues. On the contrary, Bill Rothenbach who is a painter of abstract impressionism, his painting looked like a clash of fireworks of red, white and blue, which was a foretelling of what was to come next in the program – a patriotic melody of tunes. I was particularly struck by the masterful selection of voices which at one point sounded like fifes playing in the background of a 4th of July parade.

My impressions of “The Musical Canvas” were many but they can be summed up in just a few more words, “the concert was a wonderful respite before the busy winter holiday season sets in.”

As if the evening was not enough, when I walked out into the blustery air, the bells of the church pealed out “Amazing Grace” and it was indeed, a beautiful ending to Sunday performance of a fabulous community chorus, The Deer Creek Chorale. Thank you to the Maryland State Arts Council and the Harford County Cultural Arts Board for making the evening possible through their generous grants.

Mid-Atlantic Art Corridor

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There are two significant art centers being built right here in Harford County, Maryland – Maryland Center for the Arts and Harmer’s Town Art Center. Space has been secured for both and there is solid interest and investment in seeing them both come to fruition. As each advances in progress, we look forward to keeping you updated and hope to have the opportunity to provide you with information from personal interviews from those at the head.

Yesterday was the groundbreaking ceremony for The Harmer’s Town Art Center. The Governor of Maryland’s wife, Yumi Hogan, was there. She is an outstanding Asian-American artist. The art center has many outdoors public art displays already in place through wall murals, which have historical references to Maryland and the role Havre de Grace played in the Revolutionary War. The murals are adjacent to the buildings that will be overhauled for galleries and art workshops. I’ve included photos of only a few of the murals. The plans for Graw Alley include a wonderful park with beautiful landscaping and benches to sit and ponder the art. Photos of yesterday’s events can be seen through this link to the Havre de Grace Living Facebook page.

Clearly, the town of Havre de Grace has grabbed ahold of their uniqueness.

The historic aspect of the town and accessibility to the Chesapeake Bay for boaters gives more reasons to visit.

From my viewpoint, not only will the centers put closer focus on the wonderful art connections within Harford County, Maryland but the cultural centers will draw many art enthusiasts because their locations are so accessible to the corridor of I-95 running through Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Other major routes lead into this area as well.

In our next post, we will be featuring the Maryland Center for the Arts being built in Bel Air, Maryland. Come on back to AllThingsFulfilling.com.

Expanding the Art Narrative – Part 2

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Welcome back! Today we are going to step in the door of Danforth Gallery in Livingston, Montana, where my son and I encountered an exhibit on Ledger Art. The art form has evolved from sketches of symbolism on cave walls to modern day ledger artists who draw on antique journal pages which long ago recorded information about land use and sale, acreage, harvest productions, weather and the like.

As my son and I made our way around the walls of the Danforth Gallery in Livingston, the town said to be “The Heart of Art in Montana,” looking at the images, he turned to me and said, “Mom, I feel like you and I have come full circle together.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Don’t you remember the book you bought me when I was a little guy that we used to pour over? It was an example of ledger art. “

“Ah yes, it was. How could I forget? One of our legendary favorites! But Marc, I can’t remember the full name of it.” We both batted around different titles getting close but not quite right. Then of course, he pulled out his cellphone and looked it up.

“Here it is,” he said, as he showed me the cover of the book on his cellphone. “Hey, whatever happened to that book, we spent so much time looking at it?”

“Don’t you remember?” I did!

“Oh, yeah, I loaned it to someone and never got it back.”

“It’s too bad. It would have been a great book to pass down to your daughter!” He loved it so.

I’m a very blessed Mom! When I am with him, my son shares my passions with me, and is almost always game for going to art galleries and art exhibitions, visiting libraries, and even discussing my faith beliefs. From the time he was a little guy he has had a very curious, active mind who tunes in well to other people’s stories.

Expanding the Art Narrative – Part 1

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This summer I visited a town which is referred to as “The Gateway to Yellowstone.” Never one to pass by an art gallery that seems as if it has the kind of art I truly enjoy, my son and I stopped into two galleries in Livingston, Montana on South Main Street. The first was Medicine Bird Gallery. Unfortunately, our time was limited so I may not have captured the best images of what I explain below, but, the gallery became food for thought.

Plein Air Painting of downtown Livingston, MT. On display at Medicine Bird Gallery.

The way in which the art was displayed was so uniquely different. Gallery Director Jinny Lee Story has made little narratives within the space, which in my mind helps tell the tale of early settlers heading west to the great unknown through the vignettes of carefully curated vintage items and antiques which are perfectly placed throughout the gallery. The accessories such as antique suitcases, antique globes, vintage cash registers and bellows cameras typically found in the Victorian portrait studio expands the whole narrative of what the art represents. The items accentuated the art and looked like scenes in old western movies. Fascinating! Draws you right in. Well, well done.

Medicine Bird Gallery, Livingston

Medicine Bird Gallery

Medicine Bird Gallery

Jinny Lee Story, it was a pleasure to meet you! The gallery was indeed medicine for my soul and it offered a great deal of what I like in art and culture.

This painting is titled “Susan’s house.”

Come on back on October 15, 2022. The second of this two part series about art in the “Gateway to Yellowstone” will be posted.

Artists Gather – Part 1

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It is All Arts Week in Harford County, MD. Wednesday’s beautiful weather could not have been written more perfectly by prescription by Dr. Howard A Kelly for plein air painters who love Liriodendron, his historic home and grounds in Bel Air, MD. Throughout the day, approximately a dozen painters came with their easels, watercolors, oils or pastels and enjoyed translating what they saw before them on their canvases.

It was great fun to walk the grounds and talk with each artist about the composition of their paintings and why they picked the viewpoint they chose to paint. Some for the perspective of the shadows cast on the building, others for the architectural interest such as a shapely balustrade or arch and yet others for the positioning of an urn of beautiful flowers. One painter chose a particular tree, a chestnut, that he was fond of because of his memories of zipping by it on his sled in the winter. Jonathan West grew up next door to the home of Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly, one of the founding four physicians of Johns Hopkins Hospital. The nearly 100 acres of the mansion, built in 1898, was his playground.

A couple of artists came from out of state but they are often seen in Harford County painting because they have historic, ancestral homes or farm land here in the county.

All artists have given me permission to post pictures of their works in progress, and they look forward to exhibiting their completed paintings on Saturday at the Armory in Bel Air after the two-hour paint out which will have even more artists at various locales lining historic Main Street.

I finished my day with a special event for literary arts enthusiasts. More will be posted about the evening literary event in a few days time.

Diane Gibson – Past President of Baltimore Watercolor Society

Cultural Travels – Part 3

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As I mentioned in my last post I was not quite ready to leave Bucks County, PA without completing the last place on my list – the home of an author whom I have long admired.

The spring blooms, the sunny, warm day and a surprise arts and craft show set up under tents made for a wonderful visit. Photos will show the best overview that I could give you.

View through the pagoda to the welcome center and gift shop
Pearl S. Buck Welcome Center and Gift Shop
Pearl S Buck Sculpture with a Child
Pearl S Buck Conference/Cultural Center

The last stop of the day was at the request of my sister, Jan. The Aldie Mansion built in 1927, in Great Gatsby style of the roaring 20’s, is now under the auspices of the Heritage Conservancy. It is used primarily as a historic wedding venue. From the exterior, it is impressive and beautifully maintained as are the fabulous grounds and patios surrounding it.

Front of the Aldie Mansion
Backside of the Mansion
Aldie Mansion gardens and stone patios.

Aldie Mansion Teahouse

As we said our good byes to Bucks County, PA, both of us felt the same sentiment, “Oh, what we would have missed if we hadn’t fully satiated our hunger for these last two places of interest!”

Jan and Sue inside the Mercer Museum. Thank you to our excellent docent, Gloria for offering to take this picture. Greatly appreciated.

Cultural Travels – Part 2

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Cultural Travels without visiting at least one church in a town filled with notable history is like leaving an area unsatisfied or not completely fulfilled. We passed by this beauty, Salem United Church of Christ, on our way to Henry Chapman Mercer‘s home, Fonthill Castle and to the Moravian Pottery and Tileworks, a place on the National Historic Register where Chapman made a good deal of his bread and butter during the Arts and Crafts Movement. Inside the church is the tilework of the man of whom our focus is on.

The Bible in Mercer’s Tile “The Baptism of Jesus”

Quite unexpected was the Spanish Mission Revival architecture of Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tileworks which was built to “master the potter’s art and establish pottery under personal control.” The working history museum lies adjacent to Mercer’s home – another enormous castle named Fonthill.

Moravian Pottery and Tileworks, Doylestown PA
Vase – Moravian Pottery
Moravian Tiles of Henry Chapman Mercer from the Arts and Crafts Movement Era
Henry Chapman Mercer’s home

Our visits to Mercer Castle, Fonthill Castle and Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tilework led me to ponder the enormous amount of energy and brainpower it took Henry Chapman Mercer to conceive his vision for all three structures and bring them forth. Fortunate that he bequeathed it all for public enjoyment of future generations and for those who like to learn and have cultural experiences in their lifetimes.

My hunger for more cultural sites from Bucks County, PA had not quite been satisfied nor had my sister’s. We each had one more place we wanted to visit before leaving the area.

Come on back on May 3rd for the final post in this three part series. If you hunger for more art and culture from your armchair, we believe we’ll have something more you’ll enjoy from AllThingsFulfilling.com.

Cultural Travels

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Culturally Fulfilling Travels

The weekend after Easter my twin sister came to visit. As always, we had a fabulous time together. Just a stone’s throw away northward to Bucks County, PA our travels took us. Our forays together usually include elements of exploring art, architecture, books and gardens and seeing landmarks of interest located in Main Street Historic Towns. It’s what floats both of our boat loads of interests.

We discovered Doylestown, PA just two hours north of where I live. What a gem, especially in terms of what we set our sites on seeing when we go on a “Sister’s Travel” excursion. Our first stop was the Mercer Museum, which was built to house Henry Chapman Mercer’s collections. He was “a noted tile-maker, archaeologist, antiquarian, artist and writer, a leader in the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts Movement.”

His museum is a “six-story reinforced concrete castle” designed by the man himself completed in 1916. It was built by just eight men over four years. Inside you can see artifacts from 60 types of arts and crafts of the period. Here are a few pictures outside and inside the castle walls. So impressive it was that we hope our two brothers in the building trade will someday take time to go see it and the primitive tools used to build the colossal castle.

Exterior Mercer Castle
Inside the castle walls looking out at some of the roofline
One of six stories of castle staircases – Yes! There is an elevator!
Writers loft in a castle, anyone?
As tempting as it is – this author likes brighter environments to write more lighthearted stories!
A glimpse inside a room with sewing artifacts at the castle. All 50,000 artifacts of pre-industrial tools and implements of 60 types of crafts which are stored in the Mercer Museum are individually numbered.

Our next stop was conveniently located across the street, which we enjoyed seeing with a walkabout – The James A Michener Art Museum is filled with a permanent collection of Pennsylvania Impressionistic paintings as well as a great range of revolving artist exhibits and they offer art workshops for children.

Exterior of Michener Museum of Art
Labyrinth on Michener Museum’s grounds. Bordered by spring flowering trees getting ready to pop any day! Lovely.

In the next post on AllThingsFulfilling.com I will share more information including another castle with a fantastic art attraction all on one gorgeous not so very small land plot.

There is so much to share, one story at a time, with our readers on AllThingsFulfilling.com about our visit to Buck’s County cultural and art attractions. See you back here in a few days time!

Sharing Art with Children

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My love for books and art often leads me to visiting the local library and local fine art and craft galleries when I travel. It is fun for me. My ten year residency in Colorado kept me somewhat in tune with Western art. When I was in Montana this summer, it was fun to revisit the works of artists who are located in the western part of the country,

I witnessed how very young children can enjoy art, too! I walked into the Rialto Theatre in Bozeman, MT and abstracts of horses greeted me. “Neigh, neigh!” a dear little sixteen month old girl, my new grand daughter whom I have finally met, shouted out as she pointed to the equines in the pictures! Frankly, I was surprised she recognized what it was in the abstract. But even the littlest ones, they often don’t miss a thing!

Once finished with the exhibit at the Rialto, next stop was a fabulous fine art gallery on Main Street I had heard of but had never visited before -, Montana Trails Gallery. My daughter-in-law, Meghan, my granddaughter Charlotte, and I had a grand time looking at the exquisite collection and stayed as long as a toddler could tolerate being contained in a backpack.

Once again, my little granddaughter shouted out “neigh, neigh” when she saw the horse paintings and bronze sculptures, “Baa-baa,” she said to the sheep in the pictures, and “moo-moo” to the cows. Ok, in her sixteen-month old experience and opinion, the “doggies” were mislabeled as wolves and foxes. Ah well…perhaps next time we return the labels will be corrected, I think in jest, with a big smile on my face as I remember her sweet little voice calling out to all the “doggies,” and her hands pointing to them as we walked through the gallery.

And lastly during my visit, my son and I took in the art scene at the Bozeman Art Museum. Unfortunately, with my faulty calendar reading we missed the plein air “paint out” two days prior. But on Monday,we did catch up and saw all the works of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters hanging, still wet with paint, at Bozeman Art Museum. I was familiar with a few artists such as Dave Santillanes, from working at the world-class Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat Springs a few years ago. And the work of Chuck Marshall was familiar as well as Kathy Anderson, who is now represented by West Wind Fine Art, LLC, another superb fine art gallery where I worked when it was in Vermont. If you’d like to see the results of the canvases from the two hour “paint out,” I invite you to visit this link I have posted. Some of the paintings are still available for purchase.

Now, I’m back to East Coast art, which I enjoy immensely too! With the diverse landscape and culture in the United States of America, opportunities abound to share all kinds of art with the next generations. Sydney Gurewitz Clemens once said, “Art has a role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.” I wholeheartedly agree!