Succeeding in their effort to be the Eastern Shore’s center for arts and culture, the Academy Art Museum (AAM) is rolling out a new Summer Series program that they hope will be a yearly event. AAM has enlisted the aid of five local creative personalities to design and execute a one-day program that would provide a meaningful and unique experience to the public. Running from June through September, the series includes a compelling lecture, a video race, a pop-up art expo, a hip-hop experience, and a variety show. All events are free to the public.
The first three events are as follows:
On Friday June 3, AAM presents the compellingly named: The World Doesn’t Require You which is billed as a conversation between the author of the book, Rion Amilcar Scott, and historian Dale Green. This event will be moderated by Shore Lit Founder and George Mason University professor Kerry Folan, who explains, “I’m a big fan of Rion’s work and often teach his stories in my literature courses at GMU. When AAM offered me the opportunity to program an event this summer, I immediately thought of inviting him.
His stories are set in the Imagined town of Cross River, Maryland, and they are told from the point of view of a variety of individuals who live there. In that way, Rion explores the town and its history through the idiosyncratic and sometimes mundane lives of its citizens. Green’s archeology work is similar in some ways, and I thought their perspectives would be interesting in conversation. I hope the program resonates with a local audience of Easton residents and engages meaningfully with ideas about Maryland’s African American communities’ history, legacy, and future.”
Readings from the book and conversations about the history and future of Maryland’s African American communities will be followed by a walking tour of the Hill community, led by Professor Green. To round out the event, Washington College’s Chesapeake Heartland African American Humanities Truck will also be on-site to share a grassroots-curated exhibition celebrating African American history and culture on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Doors open at five.
This function will be the first of several Folan hopes to bring to the area. “As a writer and teacher of writing, I believe
deeply in the magical power of books to expand our understanding of the world and hope to do more such local programming. I’ve started an organization called Shore Lit, which formally launches in June with the Scott/Green event and aims to bring more frequent literary events to Easton. I’m working with AAM on several author events in the coming year.”
Next in the series is the 24-Hour Video Race on July 29. Both amateurs and skilled filmmakers (either as a team or solo) will have the chance to make a one-to-seven-minute video that will be screened at AAM on July 29. Films will be based on a specific theme and a word that will be provided. Filmmakers will have 24 hours to create a video that includes the given prompt.
The event is designed by an award-winning filmmaker, Francisco Salazar, who said: “What drew me to the program was an opportunity to engage with the community and find a way to connect with the diverse community that the Eastern Shore has. I think it is important to give everyone a chance to tell their story, and this was a great opportunity for this.”
On August 6, from 2-5 pm, AAM will host Exchange: A Pop-up Art Expo. Led by Brea Soul, a marketing specialist who describes herself as a multimedia storyteller, the event is an opportunity for four artists and four creative entrepreneurs to exhibit and sell artwork and creative offerings to the Eastern Shore community. The expo will also include an interactive Polaroid mural, food, and adult beverages. According to Soul, this exhibition is the fulfillment of a personal goal to bridge “gaps between women, people of color, and the art world.”
Two artists and two entrepreneurs have been selected and invitations to apply to the remaining spots are ongoing through Sunday June 12. The art category is open to all mediums and the creative entrepreneur category is open to all businesses that identify in the craft, fashion, and book industries. Applicants will be notified of selection on Thursday, June 16.
The next two events will be discussed later in the summer.
More information is available on AAM’s website.
Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.