Working Artists Forum Annual Show Opens at Chesapeake College

On Monday, April 3rd, the Working Artists Forum (WAF) will open their Annual Spring Show at Chesapeake College in the Todd Performing Arts Center. Member artists of WAF will display original paintings in oil, watercolor, acrylic and pastel, along with works in pen and ink, mixed media and printmaking. The Spring Show at Chesapeake College is a yearly judged event, showcasing talented member artists united in an exhibition that displays an exhilarating diversity of style and technique.

“Better Days Ahead”- oil by Amy Cummins

The Working Artists Forum is a non-profit organization of 90 professional artists who meet monthly at the Academy Art Museum in Easton for discussions, demonstrations and critiques by acclaimed artists. Membership is established by a jury composed of fellow artists. WAF members actively exhibit their work separately and together, and have pieces in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and internationally.

David Diaz, a formally trained, award winning plein air painter and teacher, currently based in Annapolis, Maryland, will be the judge for this show. Mr. Diaz’s works are included in collections within the United States, Europe and Asia.

The Working Artists Forum Spring Show at Chesapeake College is free and open to the public, Monday through Friday and during specially scheduled weekend performances. This show will hang in the lobby gallery of the Todd Performing Arts Center throughout the month of April. For more information about the Working Artists Forum, please see their website:

Mid-Shore Arts: Kevin Garber and His Birds

Kevin Garber’s road to the Eastern Shore, like many artists, was not a direct one. A native of Pennsylvania, Kevin headed west rather than stay on the East Coast to pursue his career in the fine arts, and eventually became a professor of printmaking and drawing at Washington University in St. Louis. And in that capacity, he was part of the famed Island Press, perhaps the most highly respected printmaking workshop in the country.

During that time, Garber was at the forefront of some of the innovative printing techniques that pushed printmaking into the high ranks of contemporary visual arts in the 1980s and 1990s. Working alongside such renowned American artists as Nick Cave, Tom Friedman, Willie Cole, and Ann Hamilton, Kevin devoted most of his energy to the workshop and his students and put on hold his lifelong passion for drawing and painting birds.

But after decades in St. Louis, Kevin, and his wife, Kathy Bosin, made the difficult decision to return to the Mid-Atlantic to be closer to aging parents in 2008. And with that move, Kevin finally returned to his first love of capturing birds on canvas.

The results of that return can now be seen at the Trippe-Hilderbrandt Gallery in Easton this month. From large scale watercolor monoprints to tiny renderings of birds from around the world, Garber practices his drawing skills and mark-making with these simple shapes to indicate a more complex view of the natural world.

The Spy spent a few minutes with Kevin at the Bullitt House last week to talk about his birds and his return to painting.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. There will be an opening reception on Friday April 7 from 5-8 during Easton’s First Friday Gallery Walk. The Trippe-Hilderbrandt is located at 23 N Harrison Street. For more information, please go here 

Chesapeake Music Receives Easton Rotary Youth & Community Fund Grant

From L to R: John Flohr, Easton Rotary Youth & Community Fund Board member; Steve Shearer, Easton Rotary Youth & Community Fund Board member; Don Buxton, Executive Director, Chesapeake Music; Jackie Wilson, President, Easton Rotary Youth & Community Fund Board; and Tom Lane, Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club and member of the Easton Rotary Youth & Community Fund Board.

Chesapeake Music recently received a grant from the Easton Rotary Youth & Community Fund for its YouthReach Program.  This grant assists Chesapeake Music in creating a transformational life experiences for children. According to Don Buxton, CM Executive Director, “The longer-term goal of the program is to awaken young people’s interest in, and ultimately their love for, the classical music art form.”

For further information about Chesapeake Music’s programs and musical offerings, contact Don Buxton at 410-819-0380 or visit The 32st Annual Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival will be held from June 4 through June 18, 2017 on the Mid Shore.

Greg and Jon Mort Return to Massoniart with “Full Circle” April 1

On April 1st, Massoniart welcomes father and son Greg and Jon Mort for the opening of the Spring 2017 exhibition – FULL CIRCLE. For over twenty-five years, the Carla Massoni Gallery has represented internationally acclaimed artist and amateur astronomer Greg Mort. His artwork reflects a fascination with the intersection of art and science and his passion for ecological issues. His work can be found in museums throughout the world and in the private collections of three United States presidents, two vice presidents, as well as in numerous embassies as part of the State Department’s Art in Embassies program. Greg serves as a member of the executive board of the Lowell Observatory and in 2007 established The Art of Stewardship Project, which supports and encourages artists to use their talents to promote awareness of the Earth’s fragile beauty and the delicate balance between sustainability and the needs of mankind.

Sunburst by Greg Mort

Sunburst by Greg Mort

His son, Jon Mort, is no stranger the gallery or the larger art world. He began participating in juried showings as a teen and has been in over twenty gallery exhibitions. His first showing at Massoniart was in the Next Generation exhibition in 2007. A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Jon went on to earn a masters degree in architecture from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. There is no effective way to measure the enormous value of the tutelage provided by his father throughout Jon’s life. Both father and son are balanced on the seesaw of art and science in virtually all of their undertakings.

Also featured in the FULL CIRCLE exhibition is sculptor and installation artist Sara Bakken. She holds a BFA in glass and fibers from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Sara has exhibited widely and is also an alumna of the 2007 Next Generation exhibition. Her goal to create art and create a positive impact on the planet resulted in her selection to participate in a biophilia research residency this summer in Canada.

“Creative journeys often begin with wonder,” Greg Mort said when discussing his new body of work. “On a recent visit to the Uffizi in Florence, I viewed Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo and was captivated by the image: its circular design, and especially the three-dimensionality of the figures. This experience ignited my desire to transform a two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional – as well as spherical – form, forcing the viewer to see and wonder beyond the image. I have long admired physicist Steven Hawking’s use of a sphere to illustrate that while the universe has no edges, yet it is limited, not limitless. He says, ‘Think of the surface of a sphere. On that surface you can travel North, South, East, and West and every direction in between. From this curved plane perspective you indeed never find an edge. That surface has a finite area but really no beginning or end… there’s only the surface; there is no place above or below the surface. So what is above the curved plane of the sphere becomes a meaningless question.”

Like a circle or a sphere, the Full Circle collection of Greg Mort paintings has no edges, borders, or endings. Mort wanted the images to relate to the continuous surface of our Earth and the mystery of space. The paintings are all the same size: 48 inches in diameter, coincidentally, the same size as the Doni Tondo.

In the last few years, Jon Mort has found himself captivated by circles.

Greb and Sphere PaintingThey have appeared more frequently in his work and once he noticed this happening and started looking for them, circles were everywhere: in art and architecture, and engineering and technology. In discussing his new work he shared, “Always a storyteller first, the cyclical, infinite narrative potential of circles settled over me, for the best stories in reality have neither end nor beginning; which is to say, they have both, and each is the other. Inalterably the son of an astronomer, I saw circles echoing both the false blue dome of the daytime sky and the inky, star-peppered abyss of night.”

Jon Mort’s work reflects his belief that there is an ancientness to the universe and to the heritage of living systems, that there is a connectedness of all living organisms and systems, that there is a connectedness of life to all non-living matter and structures, and there is a cyclicality to all living systems. It all comes Full Circle.

Full Circle is opens on Saturday, April 1st. There will be an Open House reception from 11-3 pm and an Artist Talk at 1 pm. For those unable to attend the opening reception, you are invited to Chestertown’s April First Friday town-wide celebration and a reception at Massoniart from 5-7:30 pm. All events are free and open to the public.

Greg Mort – Jon Mort
April 1-30, 2017
Also featuring sculptural installation by Sara Bakken

Saturday, April 1
Reception to meet the Artists – 11-3pm
Artists Talk – 1 pm

Friday, April 7 – 5-7:30 pm


Easton Middle School Theatre Department presents Once Upon A Mattress

Easton Middle School, under the direction of Richard A. Vitanovec, presents this “Seuss-like” production of Once Upon a Mattress at the Easton High School Auditorium on March 24, 25, 26, 31, and April 1.

Easton Middle School Once Upon A Mattress Sammy Bonnette as WinnifredIf you thought you knew the story of “The Princess and The Pea,” you may be in for a walloping surprise! Did you know, for instance, that the kingdom was ruled over by an overbearing, talkative queen (Haley Nestel) and a mute mischievous king (Luke Adelman) and that Princess Winnifred (Sammy Bonnette) actually swam the moat to reach Prince Dauntless the Drab (Logan Herron)? Or that Lady Larken’s (Sophie McGee) love for Sir Harry (Nick Voshell) provided a rather compelling reason for her to get married as soon as possible? Or that, it wasn’t actually a pea that caused the princess a sleepless night? Carried on a wave of wonderful songs, this “rocking” spin on the familiar classic provides for some sidesplitting shenanigans. Chances are you’ll never look at fairy tales quite the same way again!

Other principal players in this wacky fairy tale are Matthew Keeler as the Minstrel, Tah’Jay Jenkins as the Jester, Seth Wagner as Cardamom the Wizard, Claire Weedon as Lady Rowena, Sarah Anthony as Lady Merrill, and Emily Royer as Lady Lucille.

Richard A. Vitanovec, who holds a B.A. in Acting and Directing, an M.A. in Theatre Production and is currently working as a full-time student on his M.F.A. in Theatre, is in his 14th year of teaching theatre at Talbot County Public Schools. Back in 2004 he directed a production of Once Upon A Mattress with Easton Middle School. It was done very traditionally, set in a Medieval Castle with traditional Middle Ages Costumes. When he decided to redo the musical, he gave his “vision” and design a completely new twist and has taken his actors and production crew with him. Vitanovec has taken the show out of the Renaissance and set it in the “Rickyssance”—a crazy, sometimes scary, sideways world that could possibly be right out of one of Dr. Seuss’ children’s books or found somewhere in Wonderland. With fluorescent and vivid colors, off the wall costumes, and the addition of a rock band to the orchestra, the show will certainly be different than what you have seen in the past. The musical itself, with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer, and Dean Fuller is a fun twist on this classic story of “The Princess and the Pea”.

Creative team includes: Direction by Richard A. Vitanovec, Music Direction by Caitlin “CJ” Freeman, and Choreography by Brienne Garland.

Show days and times are Friday, March 24 at 7 pm, Saturday, March 25 at 7 pm, Sunday, March 26 at 2 pm, Friday, March 31 at 7 pm, and Saturday, April 1 at 7 pm.

Tickets for the show are $10 for an adult ticket and $5 for a child/student ticket (18 years and under) and are on sale at the door or in advance ONLY at Easton Middle School’s Main Office.

Don’t miss out on the “rockin’” fun for the entire family!

Chesapeake Music and the Inn at Perry Cabin Host Harlem Quartet

Chesapeake Music of Easton, Maryland and the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond are thrilled to welcome the acclaimed Harlem Quartet to St. Michaels, Maryland for an exclusive performance on April 1 at 5:30 p.m.

Praised for its “panache” by The New York Times and for “bringing a new attitude to classical music” by The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Harlem Quartet is one of today’s hottest musical ensembles. The Harlem Quartet was the Silver Medal prize winner at the 2010 Chesapeake Chamber Music (CCM) Competition, one of the nation’s most prestigious chamber music competitions with one of the world’s largest chamber music prizes.   

Harlem Quartet

Pictured (L to R): violinist Ilmar Gavilán, violinist Melissa White, violist Jaime Amador and cellist Felix Umansky. Photo by Amy Schroeder.

Since their debut in 2006, the New York-based foursome has performed in chamber music series around the world and collaborated with the likes of Itzhak Perlman and jazz legend Chuck Corea, to name only two of many.

In fact, it was the Harlem Quartet’s album made with Corea and Gary Burton, “Mozart Goes Dancing,” that won them the Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 2013. They have been featured on CNN, NBC’s Today Show and News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and in 2009 performed for President and First Lady Obama at the White House.

Violinists Ilmar Gavilán and Melissa White, violist Jaime Amador and cellist Felix Umansky each are seasoned artists in their own right. Individually, they have performed with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Julliard, National, New World, Pittsburgh, Puerto Rico and Utah symphony orchestras.

Not only exceptionally talented and musically versatile, the Harlem Quartet also is civic minded. Its mission is to advance diversity in classical music while engaging new audiences with varied repertoire that includes works by minority composers. The group will soon launch its fourth album—a collaboration with the Chicago Sinfonietta featuring a new arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s iconic musical, West Side Story.

Tickets for the Harlem Quartet’s performance at Inn at Perry Cabin are limited and available on (443) 258-2230. $85 buys entry for one to the performance as well as admission to a pre-performance cocktail reception. Dinner and beverage specials will be tailored to the evening in both Stars restaurant and Purser’s Pub. Reservations are recommended for Stars and available at (410) 745-2200 and

Avalon’s New Weekend Marquee

Editor’s Note: Each week, the Talbot Spy will be sharing with our readers the MCTV produced Weekend Marquee with Tim Weigand as host. We hope you enjoy this short two minute preview of what’s coming up over the next few days.

Harriett Tubman Bronze Bust sculpted by Troika Gallery Artist, Brendan O’Neill

Brendan O Neill

Photo: Brendan O’Neill, sculptor, third from left, unveiled the original clay cast of Harriet Tubman in October 2016 at the Troika Gallery for approval of Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources officials. From left to right, Susan O’Neill, Easton Business Alliance Town Manager Ross Benicasa, Brendan O’Neill, Troika Gallery Co-Owner Laura Era, State of Maryland Park Manager Dana Paterra, Troika Gallery Manager Peg Fitzgerald, Dept. Of Natural Reources Jordan Loran and State of Maryland Park Ranger, Angela Crenshaw. It took approximnately three months at the foundry to transform the clay bust into bronze.

The bronze bust of Harriet Tubman, to be unveiled this weekend at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Dorchester County was sculpted by Brendan O’Neill, a Troika Gallery artist.

Sculptor O’Neill works in bronze depicting American historical figures.  His first bust of Harriet Tubman was displayed in the governor’s residence in Annapolis, MD. “Harriet Tubman is one of the most inspiring Marylanders and greatest Americans we have ever known, and I’m grateful for Brendan O’Neill Sr. donating his talents to share her history with generations to come,” then Governor O’Malley said. “In commemorating the life of Harriet Tubman, we’re ensuring that the healing light of those who shine against the darkness of human frailty will never dim.” Brendan replied, “I am honored to have been involved in this project to pay tribute with my sculpture to such an iconic figure in Maryland and American History.  I wanted to portray Harriet as a young woman in her 30’s as she might have looked at the time of the Underground Railroad and to create an image of a powerful yet simple young woman, humble yet watchful, and strong in leading her people.”

A graduate of Georgetown University, Brendan has been sculpting in bronze for almost 40 years.  He studied at the Corcoran and took masters workshops with Eugene Daub, Paul Lucchesi, and at Nancy Frankel Studios. Busts of Native Americans, notable citizens, and animals sculpted by Brendan O’Neill are collected throughout the United States.

Troika Gallery currently is exhibiting a hand drawn pen and ink portrait of Harriet Tubman and a smaller bronze version of  Harriet Tubman by Brendan T. O’Neill.  The gallery is open Monday through Saturday 10 to 5:30. For more information visit

Academy Art Museum Offers New Spring Workshops and Classes

The Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD, is offering several new one- and two-day workshops for spring, as well a new six-week painting class by painter Brad Ross. The workshops will be held on weekends to give people who have busy work schedules the opportunity to take an art class at the Museum.


Painting by Brad Ross

The workshop, “Transcending Grief Through Making Art,” with facilitators Sheryl Southwick and Lauren Todd, will be held on Saturday, April 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is the first art therapy workshop that the Museum has offered and gives grieving survivors an opportunity to channel their sorrow into creating a piece of art to preserve the memory of a loved one. Sheryl Southwick is an accomplished artist and instructor at the Museum and she will be working with Lauren Todd, LGHSW, ATR-BC, an Art Therapist.

Rogers image

Painting by Julia Rogers

Matthew Hillier and Julia Rogers are nationally known artists who live and work in Talbot County. Both will be teaching favorite subjects in their weekend workshops. Matthew’s two-day workshop, “Oil Painting Workshop: Painting the Ocean,” will be held on Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will focus on capturing crashing waves, ocean spray and the beauty and drama of the waves. He was the 2015 Featured Artist of the Waterfowl Festival and is a member of the prestigious American Society of Marine Artist.

Matthew’s wife Julia has just been named the 2017 Featured Artist for the Waterfowl Festival and the first woman ever to have this title. She will be instructing students how to paint animals from photographs in her two-day oil painting workshop, “Fur to Feathers – Painting Animals in the Studio,” on Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Julia’s gorgeous paintings will inspire the class as she teaches the form, texture and value of a majestic lion or your favorite pet.

Finally, in addition to these workshops, artist Brad Ross will be teaching a six-week class, “Painting Intense Light in Oils,” from March 22–April 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. Brad’s work seems lit from within and he will be passing on these lessons to his students. This is a wonderful class for artists of all levels. Brad is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association, Plein Air Painters of the Chesapeake Bay, and the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD.

For further information or to register for these classes, visit or call 410-822-2787.


Distinguished Soloists to Join Mid Atlantic Symphony

International bassoonist Terry Ewell and acclaimed soprano Jessica Belchicha will join the Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra on March 9, 11 and 12 for concerts to be held at the Church of God in Easton, starting at 7:30 PM, Mariner’s Bethel Church in Ocean View, Delaware at 3:00 PM and Community Church in Ocean Pines, Maryland, at 3:00 PM respectively.

Terry Ewell

Terry Ewell

Mr. Ewell is a recognized performer, scholar, author and pedagogue, who is currently Chairman of the Department of Music at Towson University. Mr. Ewell will be the soloist in Weber’s Andante and Rondo Ungaresco for bassoon and orchestra.

Ms. Belchicha is an established soprano and composer who has sung for the late Pope John Paul II in private audience and made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2012. The Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra will accompany her in a selection of arias.

Maestro Julien Benichou will lead the orchestra in Franz Schubert’s youthful Symphony No. 5 to conclude the program.

Admission is $38 per person. Tickets may be purchase at Crackerjack’s in Easton, by phone at (888) 846-8600 or electronically by visiting

The Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council, the Worcester County Arts Council, Sussex County, Delaware and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Inc.– 4 –