Photographs by Lynn Teo Simarski on View at Adkins Arboretum

“Spikerush” by Lynn Teo Simarski

During the six years she lived aboard a boat on the Chesapeake and its tributaries, photographer and science writer Lynn Teo Simarski often slipped her kayak into the water to explore the delicate borders where water mingles with land. In her show Emergent: Visual Sips from the Waterline, on view through February 2 at the Adkins Arboretum Visitor’s Center, her digital photographs tell the stories of the remarkable plants she found in the region’s quiet coves and marshes. There will be a reception to meet the artist on Sat., Dec. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Sliding along low in the water, the kayak gives Simarski a close-up, intimate view of every detail of the shoreline. In photographs that range from spare black-and-white images of slender marsh grasses and their dancing reflections to masses of lotus leaves floating in water rippled with brilliant autumn colors, she distills moments of beauty and playfulness that few people get to see. There are softly rising mists, dramatic slanting shadows and an occasional dragonfly perching weightlessly on a bit of grass.

Simarski, who lives in Alexandria, Va., when she and her husband aren’t aboard their 40-foot trawler, Bright Pleiades, said, “I kayak as much as I can. That’s really my favorite part about having lived on the boat.”

In a perfect image of the interconnections of earth, water and sky, sprightly blades of grass emerge from satiny reflections of the clouds above in “Skygrass.” Simarski’s fascination with emergents—plants that are rooted in the underwater soil but grow up into the air—continually draws her to the fragile edges of the water where these aquatic plants perform a vital role in the ecosystem by providing shelter, food and breeding places for countless creatures.

The majority of the show’s photographs come from the Chesapeake region, but Simarski shot a few of them in Maine, Wisconsin and South Carolina. Interestingly, except for some tassels of Spanish moss dangling from a leafy branch, it’s hard to tell the difference. There’s a certain universality in the elegant calligraphic gestures of blades of marsh grass and the ever-changing effects of light, mirrored skies, turning tides and shifting seasons.

With its perky bright green stalks tipped with gold, Spikerush” is a jaunty image. A type of sedge, it’s small and grows just barely above the water’s surface. Simarski found it with tiny concentric rings dimpling the water where its stalks meet their own reflections.

“This is one that was not from a kayak,” she explained. “It was spring, and I was going for a walk at the marina in Galesville, Md., where we keep our boat. I saw these patterns in a ditch, and I was just stunned. Here were these rushes only about three inches high. So, I ran back to the boat and drove back over so I could stand on the car and look down at the ditch to get the viewpoint I wanted.”

In addition to her photography, Simarski has written articles on the Bay for Chesapeake Bay Magazine and Bay Weekly. She and her husband, Guy G. Guthridge, are currently working on a book called Chesapeake Winter about their years living aboard their boat and their conversations with scientists, watermen and others about the Bay’s future. They are planning a trip to Florida along the Intracoastal Waterway.

For Simarski, the margins of water and land are endlessly compelling. Speaking of her love for these vulnerable, ever-changing perimeters, she said, “The boat enables me to go to these places you can’t get to by road and put the kayak in. The boat is our magic carpet.”

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Feb. 2 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

Cast Chosen for Church Hill Theatre Production of Biloxi Blues

Director Michael Whitehill has announced the cast for Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues, the lead off production in Church Hill Theatre’s 2018 season. The Tony Award winning play is set at boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi during World War II. Loosely autobiographical, the comedy pits the cruel and caustic Sgt. Toomey against the draftees, especially the sensitive Arnold Epstein. His friend Eugene Morris Jerome channels Simon’s own memories of military service as a fledgling author. This classic coming-of-age tale includes danger, sex, love, prejudice, bravery and some pretty salty army talk.

Fresh recruits on their bunks in Church Hill Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues. Clockwise from the top left: Robbie Spray, Jeff Rank, Troy Strootman, Morgan Jung, Timothy Daly, Anthony Daly.

Arnold Epstein will be played by Robbie Spray and Eugene Morris Jerome by Troy Strootman. Other draftees are Anthony Daly as Roy Selridge, Timothy Daly as Joseph Wykowski, Morgan Jung as Don Carney, and Jeff Rank as James Hennesey. John Haas takes the role of their nemesis, Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey. Kendall Irene Davis is the sweet Daisy Hannigan and Christine Kinlock is the not-so-sweet Rowena. Scarlett Chappell completes the cast, playing a USO dancer.

Whitehill, one of Church Hill Theatre’s most experienced directors, most recently directed the thought-provoking Doubt: A Parable.  His production team for Biloxi Blues includes Sylvia Maloney, Laura Crabtree, Steve Atkinson, Katie Sardo, Douglas Kaufmann and Brian Draper.

Biloxi Blues will open at Church Hill Theatre on January 19, 2018, and run through February 4, with weekend performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 pm on Sundays.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members, and $10 for students, with special prices for groups of ten or more. CHT offers 2 for the price of 1 tickets on opening night, Friday, January 19, to those who reserve by phone. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

Christ Church Easton Celebrates Advent

This Sunday, December 10, Christ Church in Easton will present music of the Advent season in two contrasting lineups.  During the morning 11:00 service, the Christ Church Brass will present two selections transcribed for brass from George Frederick Handel’s Messiah as well as other seasonal selections including J. S. Bach’s, Shepherds Wake!  A Voice is Calling often referenced as Wachet auf, ruft us dir Stimme.  Additionally, the Christ Church Choir will present Charles Villiers Stanford’s Benedictus in C, a majestic and powerful example of the English repertoire.  Prelude music will begin at 10:50 am.

At 4:00 pm, the music ministry will combine to present Advent Lessons and Carols which will include the Christ Church Choir, the Choral Scholars, St. Peter’s Carillion (the adult handbell choir), the Christ Church Boychoir, harp, oboe, flute, and organ.  The program, officially part of the Christ Church Concert Series, is a service of Advent music developed at Salisbury Cathedral and St. James Cathedral in Chicago.  Among the various musical selections are the work of composers including Palestrina, Johann Sebastian Bach, Elizabeth Posten, Francis Patrick O’Brien, Malcolm Archer, and others.  A freewill offering will be received, and the public is cordially invited to attend.  Support for this musical feast is given in part by the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council.  Doors open at 3:30 pm.  The church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in downtown Easton.

Carpe Diem Arts and SMCC Present “A Winter’s Eve of Revelry”

Carpe Diem Arts and St. Michaels Community Center join together again in presenting the second annual “Winter’s Eve of Revelry” at St. Michaels Auditorium on Sunday, December 17 at 3 pm.

Enjoy Scandinavian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian song and dance in celebration of the holidays. Talented musicians include Andrea Hoag on fiddle with Melissa Running on nyckelharpa (a traditional Swedish keyed fiddle); Jonathan Een Newton on the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, with singers Molly Hickman and Corinne Ducey; Lyuti Chushki Bulgarian Ensemble; the Slaveya vocal ensemble, along with members of the St. Michaels Middle High School Chamber Choir under the direction of Amy Effler.

Gerdan: Soul of Ukraine features the world-renowned duo of Andrei Pidkivka (flute) and Solomia Gorokhivska (violin and vocals).

As an additional attraction, the St. Michaels Middle High School chapter of the National Art Honor Society will be selling greeting cards along with small prints of student artwork in an effort to raise funds for our Artist-in-Residence Program. Student artists will be present to share their artwork and enthusiasm about the SMMHS program and its school-wide impact.

The St. Michaels Auditorium is located at 200 Seymour Ave. at St. Michaels Middle and High School.

Tickets are $10-25 (general admission, sliding scale: pay-what-you-can) and are available for purchase at the door. The event is FREE for children and students ages 18 and under.

More info: www.carpediemarts.org/celebrations-at-st-michaels-auditorium or contact busygraham@carpediemarts.org 

This concert is presented with support from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council with revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Artistic Insights Fund, Dock Street Foundation, and Carpe Diem Arts individual contributors.

Winners of St. Michaels Art League Member Show “Around the Town”

A month long art show titled “Around the Town” was held in October at the St Michaels Library. The St. Michaels Art League is pleased to announce the winners of this show that was judged by Brad Ross of the Art Academy Museum

“Sunset from the Drawbridge” by Sandy Alanko

The first place winner was Sandy Alanko for “Sunset from the Drawbridge”; Second place was Kathie Rogers for “Flow Blue”, and third place went to Arlene Zachmann for “Autumn on the Porch”.  Honorable mentions were also awarded to Leah Bell for “Pride”; Camille Woodbury for “Fall Leaves”; and Anne Allbeury Hock for “Bar Neck Cove House”.

This program and many of the programs for the league are funded in part by a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council.

Visit www.smartleague.org for more information on the league and its events.

Announcing the Seven Locations on Oxford’s Holiday House Tour

On Sunday, December 3rd from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, as part of Oxford’s “Christmas on the Creek” weekend of activities, Oxford Community Center presents the Holiday House Tour.  This year there are seven homes, featuring the highly anticipated, historic, Bonfield Manor and its adjacent Counting House owned by Marianne Haug and Andres Rigo. In 1767 Samuel Chamberlaine, Sr. of “Plaindealing”deeded 950 acres of arable land and 350 acres of woodland to his youngest surviving son Samuel Chamberlaine, Jr. The land spanned from the Tred Avon River in Oxford along Boone Creek and the Choptank to Clora’s Point and Island Creek and included additional lands in other Talbot County areas such as Peck’s Point.The present owners bought the property in 1996.

The Counting House was built in 1772 as the office (downstairs) and sleeping quarters (upstairs) of the plantation overseer. It is said to be the oldest building on the property. Early maps show an inlet that ends on the side of the house. Plantation records mention that hogs of tobacco were loaded on barges here, counted and shipped out from Boone Creek onto the ships anchored in the Choptank. Workers would assemble on the porch of the Counting House waiting for barges, instructions and pay. Thus, the outside chimney to keep warm or cook as needed. Several of the original, colonial features remain such as the two fireplaces, the brick floor on the ground floor and selected clapboard siding. A brick above the original porch fireplace indicates the year of construction – 1772.

710 South Morris

The next house on the tour is 710 S. Morris Street, owned by Margaret and Ray Munsch. In 1960 Carroll S. Brinsfield, Jr. and his wife Ruth purchased what is now 708–712 South Morris Street from the Harrison family. They subsequently divided the property into three lots, retaining the center lot and building a house on it in 1967. In 1981 their son, also named Carroll,and his wife Debbie purchased the house from his father. The current homeowners purchased it from Carroll and Debbie in 2007.

Moving on to 704 S. Morris Street owned by Kathleen and Megan Hauck, is now a five bedroom, five bath open, inviting residence with an amazing Tred Avon River view from almost any room. Construction took place during 2015 and 2016. Both sides of the drive leading up to the house are lined with dozens of holly trees. Just in front of the porch,Kathleen’s perennial garden is color-filled – in season, of course. On the waterside, a screened-in porch,a lap pool, a deck, a sandy beach and a firepit/BBQ invite warm weather activity.

202 North Morris Street–The Parsons House is owned by Beth Trujillo. This house was built circa 1880 and named after the family named Parsons who lived there. It was renovated in 2004 by former Oxford resident and renowned architect George Pillorge. The current interior design was done by Oxford resident Suzanne Hanks Litty. Antiques throughout the downstairs date from the 1780s; some are from Hale Manor, England. A French boardroom table is used as a dining room table. There are two antique Italian chairs in the living room. Other items to notice are paintings by favorite artists – Oxford artists Howard and Diane Lapp are both represented. Also throughout the house are paintings done by the homeowner’s brother.Don’t miss the landscaped side yard and pool!

207B North Morris Street owned by Marjorie and Jim Robfogel is next on the tour. Although built in 2000, this is a traditional long, narrow Oxford house with tall two-over-two windows. From the entryway it is apparent this is the home of racing and cruising sailors. The front hall houses trophies won by the owners and her parents and a model of the Chesapeake Bay Log canoe Island Blossom which was built for her grandfather in 1892. The small reading room displays half-hull models of the owners’ various boats through the years and some memorabilia from races that they participated in. In the dining area are mementos from the family farm outside Oxford—two paintings of the farm, one from the late 1800s and one by John Moll in the 1960’s. The hall also has a print of the farm by another Oxford native, David Lockhart. The living room with its maritime art opens out onto the sun porch on the Tred Avon River and affords a daily view of the Oxford sailing scene. The waterfront bedroom displays family photos and paintings by Rochester artists.

The sixth house on the tour is located at 200 The Strand–A Historic Captain’s House is owned by Lelde and Heinrich Schmitz. This historic captain’s house dates back to the second half of the 19th Century. Originally it consisted of a symmetric façade with a centered entry facing the river, and inside chimneys running up each gable wall. The house had many owners. It acquired the name Chaminade (a female French pianist and composer, 1857-1944) in the 1980s. Over one and a half centuries, this simple 4-room building turned into a whimsical, larger home of Victorian style, as several additions were built in five phases. The oldest rooms display original wood flooring, original glass windows and low ceilings. The furnishings contain antique German dowry chests, cupboards, and a secretary, all from the 17th and 18th century. The owners enjoy collecting boat models and art. Art works from all over the world also include local artists.

302 East Strand

Last but not least is the 302 E. Strand house is owned by Julie and Brian Wells. “United We Strand” formerly known as “Fairview,” is a home built approximately 1877. In 1872 the property was leased for 99 years from Thomas B. Stewart and Charles F. Stewart to John B. Tull. We believe John Tull built his home on this property in 1877 following the size and styles of similar homes on Front Street, now known as The Strand. Located on the property is a WWII Plane Spotting Station. For more information on the plane spotting station see “Recollections and Recipes,” p. 60. The Spotting Station was relocated to the backyard and is currently used as a garden shed. This home was significantly damaged by Hurricane Isabel. The previous owner began restoration immediately in 2003. The high-water mark is still visible in the garage. The house received a whole new look outside and lots of interior upgrades. This restoration was completed by the new owners, the Wells family, in 2017.

Tickets are $30 can be purchase at the OCC or online at oxfordcc.org. For more information, please contact the Oxford Community Center at 410-226-5904 or email oxfordcc@verizon.net.

Academy Art Museum Opens New Exhibition – The Caprichos: Goya and Lombardo

Emily Lombardo, Emily Lombardo Printer, Plate I from The Caprichos, 2013, Etching and aquatint, AAM 2016.032.

The Academy Art Museum will open The CaprichosGoya and Lombardo –  just in time for the holidaysThe exhibition will be on display from November 21, 2017 through February 25, 2018The Caprichos by Emily Lombardo is a series of etchings which are in direct conversation and homage to Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos, 1799. Both explore and present a satirical critique of contemporary culture and the forces that influence society along economic, racial, political, religious, and gender lines.

Emily Lombardo states, “Copying has been the defining component of the apprentice-mentor structure since the birth of art production. The relationship was successfully completed when originality became discernible in the hand of the apprentice. My earliest apprenticeship was with a newspaper, pen, and paper. I would tirelessly copy political cartoons depicting Nixon, Reagan, Castro, and countless others, with slight understanding of the historical significance and intent of the author. This method evolved into a personal narrative, born in reaction to a lack of resonance with mainstream conversations.”

Emily Lombardo is an artist who has lived and worked in Boston for over 15 years.  She received her BFA from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work has been shown and collected internationally. Lombardo applies her knowledge of sculpture and print across a wide range of conceptual projects. She engages with appropriative art practices as a mode of investigating personal and cultural identity. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

The Academy Art Museum recently acquired Lombardo’s The Caprichos series for the Permanent Collection. The edition was published by Childs Gallery and printed at The Center for Contemporary Printmaking (Norwalk, CT) by printer Paul DeRuvo. The Art Gallery of Ontario loaned the entire set of Goya’s Caprichos so that we can exhibit the two series of prints in parallel. A publication will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition is supported by the Childs Gallery, Boston.

The Museum’s exhibitions are generously supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council and the Star-Democrat. For additional information, visit academyartmuseum.org or call the Museum at 410-822-2787.

Musician Judy Amdur at St. Michaels Library December 4

Local musician Judy Amdur returns to the St. Michaels Library for the Brown Bag Lunch on Monday, December 4, 2017 at noon. Ms. Amdur will continue her celebration of our “American Songbook”. She will continue with more composers and lyricists from the thirties through the sixties, including Cole Porter and Lerner and Loewe.These artists were storytellers, poets and masters of rhythm, melody and language, and Judy will reflect on their timeless appeal. These songs enrich us in so many ways and remain fresh in this new century.

Music has always played a major role in Judy’s professional life and in her later life on the shore. As a Speech Language Therapist for the Head Start Program in Fairfax County, she used music and drama to expand children’s language. Now she continues to sing with young children around the county informally, and for Mental Health Associations’ “Kid on the Block” character building program. She has appeared with local theater groups in several musicals and brings her keyboard to hospice. She loves to listen to all kinds of music, and loves to sing the enduring songs of the “American Songbook.” The Friends of the Library are sponsors of the speaker series and everyone is invited to bring their lunch or a snack and enjoy coffee and dessert provided by the library. All library programs are free and open to the public.  For more information you can check the library website at www.tcfl.org  or call (410) 745-5877.

Wood Sculpture Exhibited In December in St. Michaels

Mary Phelps, years ago, attended an arts fair where she saw a wood carver at work. He was gouging a piece of wood, looked up at Mary, and asked if she wanted to try.  She did. Mary has been producing exquisite sculpture ever since.  Her wooden birds can be seen at the A.M. Gravely Gallery, 408 S. Talbot Street, St. Michaels. Hours are 10am to 6pm, Fridays and Saturdays and 10am to 3pm on Sundays and Mondays. Or by appointment. For more information, contact amgart@aol.com, call 410/745=5059, or go to www.amgravelygallery.com

St. Michaels Art Trail Closes

The outdoor gallery of five sculptures along the Rails to Trails bike path in St. Michaels has finished its show for 2017.  Conceived and sponsored by local author and environmental activist Ann Hymes, the Art Trail was enthusiastically received as an exciting addition to the well-used path that runs 1.5 miles through town.  Artists were chosen by an open competition, and their work was placed between Boundary Lane and W. Chew Avenue for six months.

“Two of the pieces were sold, and several commissions were generated, which is great,” explained Hymes, “but the real point was to add some fun and surprise to the bike path.  As the guidelines explained, we were looking for work that was ‘edgy, funky, teases the eye and delights the imagination.’  The other two judges, Suzanne Pittenger-Slear (President of Environmental Concern) and Sarah Abel (Planning and Zoning Officer for St. Michaels) and I were very pleased with the variety and creativity of the proposals.”

The winners were Mario Tama, with Leah Bell & Nick Frock for “Cosmic Energy, Earth’s Life Forces” (pictured here); Karen O’Dowd for “Seeking Refuge”; St. Michaels Family YMCA for “Y Recycle?”; Parker Herron for “Yarn Bombing”; and Cole Meyerhoff for “Fisher King.”  Each winner received $500 prize money.

“I’ve heard from a number of people who hoped the art would remain on the path, with more added each year,” said Hymes.  “One woman emailed me just this week that she walks the path often, and that by the end of summer, the sculptures felt like friends.”  That seems a nice addition to the community.