New Art Director at QA Arts Council

rickphotoThe Board of Directors of the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council announced that, after a two month search, they have hired a new Executive Director. Rick Strittmater, a graphic artist and businessman, assumed the position on July 1st of this year.

“We interviewed a number of very qualified candidates, but Rick’s background made him a natural pick for us,” said Chairman Tom Helfenbein. “His artistic talents combined with his business background will help us to continue to move the arts council forward.”

Mr. Strittmater’s art career began at the Cleveland Institute of Art where he earned a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration.  He served as senior graphics designer at Accent and the Baltimore Zoo, and from 1998 to 2008 he was an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore in the Publications Design Masters Program.

In 2003 he started his own very successful graphic design business, the Blackpool Design Group. He taught courses that included graphic design, illustration, and video at Anne Arundel Community College, and while there, he became active in the arts community in Queen Anne’s County.  Mr. Strittmater, his wife Lori and their 2 dogs, Winston and Salem, live in Centreville.

Queen Anne’s Arts Council Adds New Board Members

The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council announced incoming Board Members at their recent Annual Retreat. “We are pleased to welcome Tom Helfenbein, Ann Turpin, Doris Pullman, Shari Smigo, Barbara Bedell and Ben Dize”, Board President Diana Saquella said. “We strive for strength and diversity among our board; the addition of these talented individuals accomplishes just that”, Mrs. Saquella remarked.

Executive Director Belinda Cook is enthusiastic about the new members saying, “These new Board Members represent such a perfect cross-section of Queen Anne’s County; they will bring invaluable insight as we work to expand our visibility and community reach. I have known several of them since childhood; we are blessed to have the benefit of their talents and expertise as we move forward”. “I congratulate our Board Officers who have been re-elected to second terms with no opposition: Diana Saquella, Chair, Audrey Scott, Vice Chair; Barbara Sharkey, Treasurer; and Anne Welsh, Secretary; with the addition of these new members, we have a great team!”, Cook went on to say.

Tom Helfenbein has lived on the Eastern Shore since the early 1970’s and is recently retired as President & CEO of Fellows, Helfenbein, and Newman Funeral Homes. He gives tirelessly of his time to many area non-profits including Queen Anne’s Hospice, Chesapeake College, Kent Island Fire Department and has served on the boards of CNB and Farmer’s Bank.

Ann Turpin is a professional musician and long-time resident of Centreville. She is a valuable member of the arts community, having directed the Queen Anne’s Chorale, founded the Chesapeake Youth Choral, and served as Artistic Director of the Chester River Chorale. Mrs. Turpin has been organist/director at several churches on the Eastern Shore.

Ben Dize is a well-respected member of the arts community as well, having lived on the Shore for many years. Mr. Dize is an accomplished artist and the Director of the Arts Department at Gunston School.

Shari Smigo grew up in Queen Anne’s County and is the Owner/Director of The Midshore Dance Academy with studios in Easton and Centreville. In addition to her studio work, Mrs. Smigo is a member of the dance faculty at Queen Anne’s County High School for and has done the choreography for Centreville Middle School musical productions, assisted with aerial choreography for Peter Pan, and created liturgical dance for Our Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church. She is on the Board of Directors of Maryland Council for Dance, as Secretary and Membership Chair, and taught at the 2008 Maryland State Dance Festival. Shari lives in Queen Anne’s County with her husband and four children.

Barbara Bedell is a thirty-year resident of Queen Anne’s County. She is the pharmacist at Denton Pharmacy and Gifts. She is a wonderful actress and costume designer and is actively involved in performing arts at both the Church Hill Theatre and the Garfield Center. An integral member of the arts community, Bedell is an enthusiastic collector of eclectic art pieces for her home in Church Hill.

Doris Pullman has devoted her life to community service. She moved to Centreville after raising her family in Riverdale, where she was a tireless community volunteer for many organizations. She has carried that commitment to the Shore and is a member of many local non-profits including the QAC Heritage Society and a regular volunteer here at the Arts Council.

Become a supporter of the arts and sign up for a yearly membership now – $25 individual/$35 family. Visit www.queenannescountyarts.com for more information about our classes, events, and offerings.

QAC Arts Council Announces Summer Free Concert Series

The 2014 “Thursdays in the Park” Free Concert Series kicks off on June 12th at Millstream Park with acoustic artist Keri Glorioso. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy the classics in blues, soul, and rock. With her soaring vocals and mesmerizing guitar skills, Keri is a favorite at area night spots. Millstream Park is located in Centreville Maryland.

June 26th: Get your flip flops on and experience the Chris Sacks Band at the Kent Island Yacht Club. Come and enjoy a creative blend of breezy Country Beach Rock, Americana and folk with influences of Jimmy Buffett, The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, and Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers. The Kent Island Yacht Club is located in Kent Narrows, Chester Maryland. Food and beverages will be available for sale.

Join us for a night of patriotic themed music on July 10th at the Centreville Court House Square in Centreville with the Chesapeake Bay Community Band. The band performs throughout the region delighting audiences with marches, classic concert band literature, and Broadway favorites. American flags are welcome!

July 24th: Local favorites 21 HORSES will bring a taste of country to the Kent Island Yacht Club. With deep roots here on the Shore; they will deliver a well-paced energetic show with a variety of material that will appeal to everyone! Come enjoy the picturesque setting and be ready to dance! Food and beverages will be available for sale.

August 7th: Milkshake will rock out the whole family! Led by Lisa Mathews in her trademark tutu and Frye boots, this nationally known band will deliver a show described as “a little like magic” for parents and kids alike. Come on over to the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitors Center located in Kent Narrows where we will have face painting and frozen treats from Rita’s available.

We wrap up our series with a Motown theme on August 21st at Matapeake Amphitheatre on Kent Island. A long time Maryland favorite, Bobby and the Believers performs funk, soul, rhythm and blues and Big Band top 40 dance and party hits from the 1960s to today. Come and enjoy great dancing music and an incredible Kent Island sunset! The Amphitheatre is located on the beach at the Matapeake Club House on Route 8 in Stevensville, Maryland. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Concerts begin at 7 pm. The series is presented by the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council with the help of our Sponsors – the Queen Anne’s County Tourism Office, Priceless Industries, and the Maryland State Arts Council. Bring blankets or chairs; picnicking is encouraged. Concerts will be held rain or shine. Contact the Arts Council in the event of extreme weather conditions or alerts. More information on the summer concert schedule is available online at www.queenannescountyarts.com

QAC Arts Council to Honor Students, Teachers, & Artists

start1Join students and their families on May 16th at the Queen Anne’s County Centre for the Arts as we honor this year’s participants of STArt (Students, Teachers, and Artists) program.

Each year, the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council brings working artists into the four middle schools in the County for a one on one mentoring program with students. Artists Ric Conn, Jean Higgins, Jonathan Shaw and John Pringle visited Centreville, Matapeake, Stevensville and Sudlersville middle schools to work with students to create artworks using a variety of mediums. The artwork created by the students will be on display at the Centre in May. The students will enjoy a two-week exhibit of their work and will be honored at the reception, which begins at 5:30 p.m. The exhibit will be on display from May 16 through May 29.

“The STArt! Program is part of the Arts Council’s outreach to support and promote young artists. The students have been very dedicated and have done amazing work in such a short amount of time. It’s our hope that this will only be the beginning of a lifelong appreciation of art and the joy of creating it”, program Chair Sharon Lipsius stated.

The public is invited to celebrate these young artists, their mentors and their families for art and refreshments. Our thanks to this year’s program sponsors: Walmart, Priceless Industries, Inc, Will & Ann Powell, & Susan Bastress.

Receive discounts on events & classes by signing up for a yearly membership now – $25 individual/$35 family. Visit www.queenancescountyarts.com for our full listing of classes and events. You can register on our website or call the Arts Council at 410-758-2520. Classes are held at the Queen Anne’s County Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD 21617 unless otherwise noted.

The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council, Inc., is a non-profit organization committed to promoting, expanding and sustaining the arts.

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Queen Anne’s County Arts Council Offering a Variety of Classes in Visual Arts

The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council has a variety of Visual Arts Classes available in our Summer Class schedule. Our skilled instructors are offering classes designed to renew existing artistic interests and develop new skills. Classes are limited in size to ensure quality individual instruction.

Learn to paint birds. The journey begins with information on avian anatomy as an aide to understanding their characteristics. Instructor Ric Conn will teach a variety of painting techniques with an emphasis on “Painting Birds in Gouache”. Classes will be held Tuesdays May 6 – June 3 from 10-noon.

Enjoy the fun of learning the basics of “One-Stroke” painting, loved by beginners and experienced artists as well! Ann Pyper will provide step-by-step instruction in the painting techniques of using One-Stroke to create beautiful designs…to decorate your home, paint a gift for a friend, or even start your own business. One-Stroke blends, shades and highlights all in one stroke. Painting with acrylics allows you to paint on almost any surface including mirrors, glassware and ceramics, mailboxes, slates, wood, walls, fabric, and canvas. You can find examples of Ann’s work on display at The Creamery. Classes will be held Wednesdays from 1-3 pm May 7-21.

Wye River Designs, Candice Liccione, will offer several classes including her popular “Clay Mosaics”. Take mosaics to a different level by creating your own mosaic pieces and combining them with other elements to create a 12”x 12”mixed media mosaic. Making clay mosaics allows you to personalize a mosaic with names, favorite words or symbols. Join Candace Liccione for an afternoon of rolling out clay, stamping it, painting and embellishing your clay creations for your project. The workshop is June 8 from 1-3 pm.

Make a work of art to wear and learn” Epoxy Clay Jewelry Making”. For those who didn’t win this much sought after piece during Small Works, come and create your own amethyst jewelry with Instructor Janice Colvin. Using two-part epoxy clay and crystals you will design your own incredible necklace and earrings. Class will be held June 14 from 1-3 pm.

Learn to weave a beautiful woven vase with a glass liner in a matter of hours. This is a great project for a group of friends! Award winning local fiber artist and basket weaver, Instructor Heidi Wetzel welcomes all skill levels. Spend an afternoon learning this timeless technique. Class will be held July 26 from 10-2 pm.

Receive discounts on events and classes by signing up for a yearly membership now – $25 individual/$35 family. Visit queenancescountyarts.com for our full listing of classes and events. You can register on our website or call the Arts Council at 410-758-2520. Classes are held at the Queen Anne’s County Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD 21617 unless otherwise noted.

The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council, Inc., is a non-profit organization committed to promoting, expanding and sustaining the arts.