Spy Moment: Women Building Women Homes

At a time when the country is deciding whether to elect its first woman as president of the United States, it is amazing to see the remarkable shift in perception on what women can do in our 21st-century American culture. While these are most in evidence in such fields as business, healthcare, aviation, as well as with major political positions, it can also be seen on a more simple level, e.g. like swinging hammers to build houses.

That was certainly the case when the Women Build Committee form the Habitat for Humanity Choptank continued to work on their project on Pleasant Alley in Easton last Saturday. More than a dozen gathered with saws and hammers in hand to complete the three bedroom house for its new owner by February of next year.

The Spy caught up with building supervisor Rhodana Fields and Women Build Committee chair Phyllis Rambo to witness the special dynamic and sense of purpose created of when women work with other women.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information on Women Build at Habitit for Humanity Choptank, please go here

Making It on the Shore: Alex Haschen and IAMBOOST

There may be a website out there that is dedicated exclusively to kids from age ten to fifteen on their physical health, but Alex Haschen hasn’t found one yet. And as a result, and many years of other research, the Easton-based personal trainer turned on IAMBOAST.com last month as a web extension of his local work with young people.

In his Spy interview, Alex talks about his business model and the potential market of working with parents and children on fitness through video and quiz programming. Another example of making it on the Shore.

This video is approximately four minutes in length

Centreville’s Kennard School Project’s Lessons with Clay Washington

For all the small Mid-Shore nonprofit organizations out there struggling to complete capital projects, there is good news to be found in talking to Clay Washington. Clay, the president of Kennard School Alumni Association, is the extraordinary leader of a remarkable Mid-Shore success story – the renovation of Queen Anne’s County’s only African-American high school in Queen Anne’s County -into a major community center and museum.

For the past ten years, Washington and his fellow board members have been focused on preserving this special historical school. While this has been a labor of love for the alum, the price of this kind of project has been high with almost $2 million dollars needed to open the facility.

Beyond celebrating the near completion of a great project, the lessons learned with the Kennard School project should be an inspiration for the entire Mid-Shore and so many other worthy restoration efforts in the region.

The Spy interview with Clay is divided into two parts. The first is a traditional long-form interview. The second is what we are calling a “drill down,” which gives even more information about Clay’s approach to raising capital funds.

Chestertown’s Brad Johnson & Talbot Historical Society Celebrate Log Canoes

One of the great charms of the Talbot Historical Society’s new galleries on South Washington Avenue in Easton is their ability to offer the community some remarkable small exhibitions celebrating the life of the Chesapeake Bay. And that is certainly the case at the THS’s Neall House gallery this month.

Through contributions and loans from local log canoe captains, including the North family from St. Michaels and the Johnson family in Quaker Neck, the Historical Society has brought together a stunning collection of art, photography and other memorabilia that captures the remarkable culture of the Chesapeake Bay log canoe community.

In the Spy’s ongoing effort to put the spotlight on these great boats, and the people that race them, we took time out to visit with Brad Johnson whose family has been active with both the racing of log canoes but the historic preservation of them for decades. In his interview with the Spy, Brad talks about his love of log canoe sailing, the sometimes intense rivalry that exists between Talbot and Kent County sailors, and the importance of a good crew and creative strategies to win races.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. We wish to thank the gifted videographer Peter Carroll for the use of his material.

The Talbot Historical Society’s Log Canoe Exhibit will be on display until September 17. The Neall House is open on Saturdays only, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm or by appointment. The Society offices are located at 30 South Washington Street or call 410-822-0773.

Making A Man of No Importance Important with TAP Director Joe Tyler

Theater director Joe Tyler has one simple ambition for the Tred Avon Players starting August 11. His job is to make the musical, A Man of No Importance, very important to its actors and audience for the ten performances its scheduled to play at the Oxford Community Center this month.

Tyler, a veteran actor and director with TAP for decades,  suggests in his Spy interview that this task of making this tale of a lonely bus conductor in 1964 Dublin is not very difficult for him. He fell in love with both the plot and the music of this story of Alfie Byrne and his secrets he can  only share with his imagined confidante, Oscar Wilde as he confronts the forces of bigotry and shame over a love that, “dare not speak its name.”

This video is approximately four minutes in length

The play debuts Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. with “Thrifty Thursday,” featuring two-for-one tickets. Other performances are Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees Aug. 14, 21 and 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for students with ID. For tickets, visit www.tredavonplayers.org or call 410-226-0061.

Getting the Shot with Photographer Anne Nielsen

When Ansel Adams said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it,” he might as well been speaking about Centreville-based photographer Anne Nielsen. For more than twenty years, Anne has made photos of her beloved Eastern Shore but not in any typical fashion. In 2010, Nielsen decided to photographic Native Americans on the Delmarva but instead of a standard camera, she chose instead the use of a wooden camera and an 1864 Voigtländer lens, painstakingly uses the same techniques that were found in the 19th Century, which results in a single image that has taken minutes, rather than seconds, to capture.

Fast forward to 2016, and she has updated her camera to a digital one, but she has not removed the complex nature of her photography. In her short interview with the Spy before Friday’s opening of her work at the Massoni Gallery, she describes the enormous length she takes to get the right shot, with the right model, at the right time of day.

This video is approximately two minutes in length

Ms. Nielsen’s work can be seen as part of “SPARK” a mid-winter exhibition opening at the Carla Massoni Gallery on Friday, February 5th. For more information, please go here

Out of the Fire and on the Walls: Artist Howard Lapp’s Oxford

Editor’s Note: There are quite a few art galleries in Easton but only one of them will serve you a perfect Basque seafood stew and a glass of Trisaetum Vineyards’ pinot noir while you look around. And that gallery would be Amy Haines’ Out of the Fire cafe on Goldsborough Street. While it is not a novel idea to show art in restaurants, few bring to the table Amy’s curatorial mission and critical eye. Since Out of the Fire opened almost 15 years old, she has sought out some of the region’s most exceptional artists and sponsored their work by using the restaurant’s tall walls and controlled lighting to brilliantly display their work. Over the next few months, the Spy spend time with some of them to help put a spotlight on their art and the important role Out of the Fire has played in the life of the visual arts on the Eastern Shore.

Oxford’s Howard Lapp always had a unique advantage over many other struggling artists over the last forty years. Not only did he have a day job, but a vocation that would bring him to the world’s great art centers on a weekly basis as a commercial airline pilot for US Air. This allowed the remarkable luxury of viewing and learning from the masters, but also gave him a totally new perspective on the use of different landscapes and the people that live in them.

That is one of the reasons that Howard’s work has focused on two completely opposite landscapes – the Island of Maui in Hawaii and the small town of Oxford where Howard and his wife, Diane, have lived off and on for more than twenty years. In his interview with the Spy, we focus mostly on his Oxford work, which will be on display at Out of the Fire starting next month (Howard’s Hawaii work is currently on view this month). Howard talks about his artistic response to the special challenges that come with the Eastern Shore terrain, his relationship with Oxford, and when it needs to move on to the next project.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Amy Haines and Out of the Fire artists, please click here.