Dock of the Bay

 Vol. 10, No. 9

February 28 -March 6, 2002

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Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails wanted to run into art on area trails. The result, the Maryland Millennium Legacy Trail Arts Committee, will select three artists to create three sculptures, one for the Colonial Annapolis Maritime Trail System, one for the B&A Trail and one for the BWI Trail.
Marylanders in Motion’ Takes a Step Ahead

What will it be? A giant crab with swinging claws or maybe an oyster we can sink our feet into? These are just two of the many possible ideas that might be swimming around in the heads of eight sculptors chosen as semifinalists to put art on our trails.

Back in 2000, the White House Millennium Council, under President Bill Clinton, invited every state to nominate trails for designation as a Millennium Legacy Trail. In Maryland, a combination three-trail system was the winner. It links the BWI Trail, which encircles Baltimore Washington International Airport in Linthicum; the B&A Trail, a 14-mile ‘rail to trail’ pathway that follows the old Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad bed; and the Colonial Annapolis Maritime Trail System, a combination of pathways and sidewalks that winds through historic Annapolis. Together, they make up the Maryland Millennium Legacy Trail.

The designation was great, but Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails hoped to take it one step further, by merging trails and arts communities. “We decided to do something lasting,” says Friends president Elizabeth Wyble. The Maryland Millennium Legacy Trail Arts Committee formed, with Wyble as chair. The committee plans to select three artists to create three sculptures, one for each of the trails.

With grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council and the TKF Foundation, the committee last summer sent out a call to professional artists throughout the state. Fifty artists responded with letters of intent, slides of their work and evidence of prior public art experience.

A selection committee reviewed the packages in November, using experience, reliability, style, and maintenance and safety issues as their criteria. Committee members had style and scope in mind as they viewed the artists’ packages.

On the Colonial Annapolis Maritime Trail, the sculpture will be placed next to the new Chesapeake Children’s Museum, near Bates Middle School and Maryland Hall, so a kid-friendly design, safe for children and possibly functional, as in good for climbing, would be ideal. On the B&A Trail, the sculpture will be located in Glen Burnie, across the street from the courthouse at M Street and Greenway. Here the committee is looking for something to tie in the themes of government, residence and commercial interests that make up that town. The BWI site overlooks the airport. This space needs some “massive public art,” says Wyble, “or it will get lost.”

The committee chose eight semifinalists: three for the BWI trail, two for the B&A and three for the Colonial Annapolis Maritime Trail. The eight artists are Jann Rosen-Queralt of Baltimore, Dereck Arnold of Whitehall, Jacquin Smolens of Chestertown for the Spa Creek site on the Annapolis Maritime Trail; Maria Karametou of Bethesda and MaryAnn Mears of Baltimore for the B&A Trail site; and Brent Crothers of Bel Air, Leonard Cave of Ashton and James Vose of Baltimore for the BWI Trail at Andover.

The artists walked the trails on February 16, along with trail neighbors, city officials and committee members, to get a feel for the local history and environment and to encourage the people of the communities to talk to the artists about what they’d like to see on the trails.

The next step, now seeking money, will give these eight artists a budget and six weeks to develop a model. Their prototype must speak to the theme, “Marylanders in Motion,” which encompasses physical and mental health, transportation, technology, history and the culture and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay region.

The Maryland Millennium Legacy Trail Arts Committee, led by the Friends of Anne Arundel Trails, includes representatives from Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, City of Annapolis, Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County, Governor’s Committee on the Arts, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and Maryland State Arts Council.

— Martha Blume

photo by Cristi Pasquella
A white oak similar to the four taken from Alice Murray’s home in Harwood stretches heavenward. Trees like these — 125 years old and free of knots and imperfections — would sell for thousands of dollars apiece.
From London Town, Pushing the Horizon

All my life I’ve lived within short driving distance of the Bay, but until recently I haven’t explored what the area has to offer. For the first time I’m understanding what it means to live within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It’s a journey I’m falling in love with.

My explorations began with the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a partnership of sites and trails at that lists some 100 parks, museums, hiking trails and water trails around the Bay’s watershed. I clicked on the regional map and zoomed in to look for a gateway near Bay Weekly.

What I found was a window into Maryland’s past — a glimpse of a lifestyle so different from today it sounds like a fairy tale. Today, Historic London Town and Gardens is a 23-acre park filled with educational exhibits and archeological sites. Three hundred years ago, the New World’s London was a thriving tobacco port bustling with sailors, wealthy merchants and tradesmen.

“You made your living based on travelers spending their money here,” Gregory Stiverson tells me. Stiverson is the executive director of London Town Foundation, a non-profit organization that manages the historic site.

On the South River, I can almost picture the rickety flat-bottom ferries coming in from sea bringing excitement and news from far-away.

People who lived in London were lucky. They had regular contact with Britain.

“The people in this dinky little town had experiences that people five miles down the road couldn’t dream of,” Stiverson says. “Imagine spending your whole life waiting for letters from family. The loneliness must have been astonishing,” he says. “Then you see a ship arrive that banishes that isolation.”

It’s hard to imagine what it was like to be so cut off from the outside world. My closest reference is Little House on the Prairie, but Stiverson tells me the town of London is earlier by almost 200 years.

In the late 17th century, around the time London came into being, buildings were held up by posts that stuck into the ground. Historic London Town and Gardens recently received a grant to reconstruct Lord Mayor’s Tenement, a small post-in-the-ground building constructed in 1690.

Reconstruction is no easy undertaking. “We want to do this the way they would have done it in 1690,” Stiverson says. When the tenement was originally built, southern yellow pines and white oaks stretched out as far as the eye could see. Both were common building materials.

Today such trees are harder to come by.

So Alice Murray’s gift of four 125-year-old white oak trees is a big deal. With no knots or imperfections, the trees would sell at market for $9,000. “I would much rather see the wood preserved forever this way,” Murray says. “It’s a thrill to be a part of.”
At Murray’s home on Cumberstone Road in Harwood, just such a white oak rises on an unbranched trunk to radiate toward the pure blue sky. The donated oaks will be hand-riven into clapboard, small wedges of wood that look like shingles and overlap to make the exterior walls, the chimney and the fireplace.

Stiverson tells me the pine for the Lord Mayor’s flooring was recovered from a swamp in Florida.

“They’re coming up with these virgin-growth trees that haven’t been seen in a hundred years,” he says. “They’re just encased in that old swamp mud and they’re perfectly preserved. They’ll pull them out, and they’ll still have green leaves on their branches.”
I picture the 22-foot-long tree traveling from its dark underwater home all the way to London Town. I see myself opening my eyes to an amazing resource. We’re on the same journey. I drive home with a pile of brochures, with a memory of a gorgeous sunset over South River and a thousand scattered thoughts about the Bay’s beautiful complexity.

— Davene Grosfeld

Way Downstream …

In Delaware, where chemical plants abound, people are accustomed to warnings to cut back on eating fish from contaminated waters. But last week, in the newest mid-Atlantic warning on consumption, people near Wilmington were told to eat no fish whatsoever from Shellpot Creek because of astronomical levels of PCBs…

In Alaska, Daniel Lewis had this to say after being accused of shooting holes in the Alaska oil pipeline that caused the release of 285,000 gallons of crude and raised new questions about pipeline security: “Ain’t nobody seen me do it.” Police say Lewis, 37, has a history of firing his high-powered rifle while drinking …

In New Zealand, your help is needed if you can pull a vessel off a sandbar. But your boat better be powerful because not even tugboats have been able to dislodge the Jody F. Millennium, which was carrying 20,000 tons of lumber when it hung up last week off the resort town of Gisborne

Our Creature Feature comes from Britain where, thanks to local wildlife experts, the toads of Devon County are safe from squishing and back on the road to romance.

Always during February mating season, autos have turned the toads into blots on the road as the little amphibians journeyed back to mate at the pond where they were born. The town tried closing the road at crossing time, but that wasn’t workable. So this year, locals brought in metal crossing ramps and now, according to Reuters, the toads are hopping happily toward love.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly