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Evelyn’s Whimsical Art

Artist Jan Kirsh’s visual garden

West Annapolis “is kind of the artsy area of Annapolis, so I thought it would be a good fit,” said restaurateur Brandon ­Stalker, above, of artist Jan Kirsh’s fruit and vegetable sculptures outside Evelyn’s.

 

Why is there a pear on the corner of Annapolis Street and Gidding Avenue? An eggplant on a post? An asparagus popping out of the ground? 

The three- to six-foot-tall produce are sculptures created by artist Jan Kirsh, who conspired with Brandon Stalker, owner of Evelyn’s restaurant, to plant them outside to add a bit of whimsical artfulness to West Annapolis. 

“I thought that it was really cool to be able to add some color to the neighborhood,” Stalker said. “This is kind of the artsy area of Annapolis, so I thought it would be a good fit.” 

Added in late February, the sculptures have attracted business. 

“I’ve had customers come by where they didn’t even know that we existed, they saw the pear on the corner and decided to walk in, say, what’s going on here? then stay for lunch,” Stalker said. 

Kirsh designed a new garden around the six-foot pear; she and Stalker plan to add to the sculpture garden with additional plantings. 

“I see my work as a nice foil, sort of balance, to life’s challenges, something to make people smile and bring a little joy,” Kirsh said. 

The St. Michael’s artist was first a garden designer, which explains, roundaboutly, her vegetable interest.  

“I was thinking about siting art in my clients’ gardens and thinking I can build art and I can build pieces that make sense in a garden,” Kirsh said. 

A summer program at Colorado’s Anderson Ranch Art Center in 1999 “propelled me into casting and then sculpting fruits and vegetables,” Kirsh said. 

Her complicated three-dimensional sculptures are hand-built pieces rather than wheel-thrown.  

“I think I’ve just chosen pieces that catch my eye when I go to the grocery store, go to farmers markets, or when I grow vegetables,” Kirsh said. “I’m just drawn to certain forms and shapes. 

“There’s not a great deal of intended depth, you can read into it whatever you want,” she explained. “I wasn’t trying to make a big statement. I just wanted to make art that slows someone down, helps them chuckle and appreciate form and color.” 

Stalker says he hopes he’s started a ball rolling. “I think it’d be cool if more places in Annapolis would start doing things like this, just artwork in general,” the restaurateur said. “I think it’s good for the community to have things they can talk about.”