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When Art and Music Meet

Instruments play a new tune at orchestra fundraiser

Joan Machinchick’s violin includes lines of stylized text.
      Ten local artists tackled a different type of canvas for their partnership with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. Instead of choosing fiber to capture their artwork, they turned violins into masterpieces of a different sort.
      You can see the results Sunday, Sept. 23, when art and music join forces at McBride Gallery for the big reveal of The Painted Violins.
       The violins, donated by the Anne Arundel Co. Public School System, now sing a different tune. Ten artists used them as backdrops for artwork pieces to be raffled off in support of the orchestra’s newly launched Annapolis Symphony Academy program to identify and nurture musical talent in children.
      The immersive strings program for students in grades six to 12 prepares them for a career in classical music or music education. Led by Annapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians and guest artists, instruction includes private lessons, ensemble coaching and group learning in a deliberately diverse environment. Students who meet certain criteria receive needs-based full tuition scholarships. 
      The Painted Violins will reside at McBride Gallery for about two weeks before they travel throughout Anne Arundel County to local arts festivals, art galleries, restaurants, bookstores and other venues. 
      The Annapolis artists who created the violins are Sandy Cohen, Sally Comport, Melissa Gryder, Neil Harpe, Joan Machinchick, Abigail McBride, Nancy McCarra, Andree Tullier, ­Phyllis Saroff and Sarah Wardell. 
      These artists are known for their fine art paintings, each preferring different media and subjects. Many are multi-faceted artists — illustrators of books, lithographers, graphic designers, calligraphers, book designers and models.
      Violins made a challenging canvas. 
      Abigail McBride found that her best method of attack was to hang the violin from a doorway in her home. 
       Each instrument is unique and an example of the artists’ expertise. “Each artist painted from their individual inspiration, and each violin sings with its own voice,” says volunteer Diane Green.
      Portrait artist and former lawyer Sandy Cohen’s violin shows a conductor at work; Joan Machinchick’s includes lines of stylized text — not surprising given her background in calligraphy and graphic design.
       McBride was inspired by her childhood love of mermaids. “I wanted to present mermaids causing ripples, singing their siren song to the world and bringing it out to the global community,” she says. “That’s what this whole project is about — bringing music and opportunity to an entire community.”
      Meet the artists reception, Sunday, Sept. 23, 1-4pm, McBride Gallery, Annapolis: www.mcbridegallery.com; on exhibit thru Sept. 30.
      The Painted Violins arrive at Maryland Hall on October 5 and 6 for the ASO’s opening night concert.