Annapolis Art Walk
by Louise Vest
|Megan Evans of ARTFX creates for onlookers.
Kicking off the days cares and wiggling your toes in the view is the best way to enjoy the Annapolis Art Walk. You can scrunch down in the sandy shores of a Bay scene, bask below a watercolor smudge of saffron and wade into teal that transforms canvas into a bejeweled day.
Twenty galleries join in this free event Thursday, August 19, offering views in oils, watercolors and much more as the galleries use a broad brush to make the evening appealing to a wide audience. Included in their offerings are Asian florals, landscapes, pottery, portraits, still life, folk art, art glass, sculpture and handcrafted jewelry.
This year, two new galleries join in the line up: Garden Architects on West Street and Already Artists, a childrens gallery on Cornhill St.
Theres an Art Walk on the third Thursday of each month, but this annual event is special as artists demonstrate their work in and outside galleries throughout downtown Annapolis. Therell also be music and refreshments.
On the Pallet
The galleries in town are in competition, and yet were not because we all have our own specialties. We have a nice diversity, says Megan Evans who, along with husband Erik, owns ARTFX Gallery on West Street.
Art Walk shows them all at their best.
While you can find hand-crafted work and paintings in every color, for gallery owners the only unwelcome hue is red ink in heir ledger books. One way they attempt to ward off red is by promoting art. To that end, many of the towns gallery owners belong to the Annapolis Gallery Association, which makes planning for the Art Walks easier.
We meet a couple times a year, said Evans. Some of it is social, but were pretty good about getting down to business, too.
Shes an Ohio native who came by her own art specialty, ceramics, via serendipity.
I had to take an art elective in college, so I took ceramics, she explained. The first bowl she threw on the pottery wheel came out perfectly, an unusual accomplishment. Her teacher dubbed it, a freak of nature, but it was a fortunate one, whence natural talent found its medium. Thus began Evans career and eventually her business.
Annapolis Wins Top Art Honors
The gifts of many Anne Arundel County artists have been rewarded with honors in the art world.
Easy Street American Craft Gallery on Francis Street, which represents over 300 artists, has joined in the Art Walk for nine years. With that many artists and the ensuing paperwork, the whole Cureton family pitch in to run the gallery. The arrangement seems to be working fine as Easy Street won the 2003 Niche Award for being one of the top 100 American craft retailers out of 15,000 in the nation.
Their art includes works created in blown glass and stained glass as well as wall art, kaleidoscopes and jewelry.
Last year I had a glass blower demonstrate for the Art Walk. This year were having handcrafted jewelry, says Megan Cureton, who works with her mom in the store.
Curetons husband Brett creates some of their stained glass pieces, as does her dad, whos been making stained glass art for two decades.
Annapolis Pottery was also in the top 100 for the Niche Award.
From Walls to Pictures
Youll find another example of the popularity of area artists in the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin. Leigh Yawkey Woodson accepts the work of only 11 artists from the Mid-Atlantic region. This year seven artists were chosen from Anne Arundel County.
Theres a strong community of artists here who are recognized around the country, said Cynthia McBride, who suggests theres lots to work with in the county.
Artists like beauty, and they are drawn to places that offer them that, says McBride, whos owner of McBride Gallery. In Annapolis theres the water, landscapes, plus city views all absolutely beautiful.
Five of the seven artists chosen for the Wisconsin museum are represented by the McBrides gallery.
McBride has been the coordinator of the Art Walk for 14 years, but her first inclination regarding the art world was to run.
That was back when she was growing up on a Minnesota farm. Then, the artist she was dealing with was her mother, who worked at home producing illustrations and painting for exhibits.
There were six children in the family, and when Mom was working and it was raining out shed say to one of us Come here Ill teach you to paint, remembers McBride. But we would run the other way. To us, that was Moms work, and so it didnt sound like fun.
I must have picked up an eye for art, because when I got out of college, I decided, rather naively, that I would just open an art gallery. I can paint walls, not a painting. But artists need someone to do this part of it, McBride said as she looked around her gallery on Main Street.
Happily, there is still an artist in her family. The art gene that leapfrogged over Cynthia landed on her daughter, Abigail McBride, who is one of the areas many artists.
Whether people sidle up to pottery with panache thats sold at The Annapolis Pottery across from the State House or file slowly by the landscapes in the Main Street Gallery, Ahs are common sounds as walkers round corners and are ambushed by art that stops them in their tracks and momentarily holds them hostage.
In each gallery, there are many sources for that Ah ranking. Perhaps an oil, where the cool blue of a misty harbor is warmed by legions of flowers lining the shore, all waiting to toss their heavy heads back, en masse, with the next water-borne breeze.
Or the painting of a wild, thick-maned pony standing amid sea grass and sand, its barrel-belly turned gold by westering light that gallops across the canvas.
Covering many galleries at one time, the Art Walkers also see how the same subject is handled by different artists.
When two artists paint irises, one might layer paint to create an exquisite, three-dimensional look, while the other creates realism with light and shadows making the flowers petals appear ready, at any moment, to escape the confines of the canvas, their drooping, velvety petals begging to be petted by passersby.
While theres fabulous color, candor and even funk to be found in the works, theres also mystery.
Who lives in the house the artist painted on the horizon? Where could this be? Who trampled down the grass to make that path?
But finding intrigue during Art Walk isnt required. While some may choose to dive into a piece, others opt to walk in shallow waters, languidly soaking up the beauty and talent of this summertime treat.
5-9pm from any participating gallery see (www.artinannapolis.com). Free parking (w/passes available at participating galleries from 4-10pm) at Hillman Garage (enter Duke of Glouchester or Main St.) or Gotts Court Garage (enter Calvert or Northwest S.) Thruout downtown Annapolis: 410-267-7077.