Kohl Gallery

Date: 10:00am - 5:00pm EST February 22

Chestertown Art Crawl: It’s A Family Affair!

Shake off the winter blues and celebrate Family, Art, Food, and Culture on the Chestertown Art Crawl, Saturday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will highlight the rich network of arts and cultural producers at work in Chestertown right now. The overarching theme of the event is FAMILY, and stops along the crawl will feature special exhibitions exploring this theme. Participating venues include MassoniArt, RiverArts (all locations), Sumner Hall, The Book Plate, Robert Ortiz Studios, Garfield Center for the Arts, The Artists’ Gallery, Tish Fine Arts Plus, Diane Rappisi Fine Art, Heron Point Art Gallery, Casa Carmen Wine House and The Retriever bar/restaurant. The event will also feature two stops at Washington College: Kohl Gallery and the studio of WC Art Professor Julie Wills. The FAMILY theme builds upon the Kohl Gallery exhibit, Intimate Generations, a six-person exhibition exploring family connection in contemporary art curated by new Kohl Gallery Director and Curator Tara Gladden.

The purpose of the Chestertown Art Crawl is to showcase the vibrant, creative culture and community spirit of Chestertown. The universal theme of FAMILY offers an accessible entry point open for all to participate in the fun.

The Art Crawl encourages participants to also enjoy the seventh annual Chester Gras celebration while they are downtown.  Hosted by Peoples Bank to raise funds for the Kent County Community Food Pantry’s Backpack nutrition program for children, Chester Gras takes place in a heated tent on Spring Avenue, in front of Peoples Bank, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It offers a traditional Cajun Mardi Gras party with a parade on High Street, New-Orleans-style music by Phil Dutton & the Alligators, a selection of Louisiana specialties prepared by local chefs, a costume contest, and a silent auction.  For information, visit chestergras.org.

Kohl Gallery director Gladden suggests starting the Art Crawl at Kohl Gallery (open 10-5pm) in the Gibson Center for the Arts on the Washington College campus, followed by a visit to the studio of WC Art Professor Julie Wills who will have selections on view from her family-related series, Split Void between the hours of 11-2pm (508 Washington Avenue). After a trip to campus, visit Heron Point also open 10am-5pm (501 E. Campus Avenue) where you can view Shore Love Little Quilts! - an exhibit of art quilts, wall quilts and other small works.

Spend the bulk of the day downtown where you can take in more walkable venues all open for the duration of the crawl from 10am-5pm. MassoniArt (203 High Street) has invited gallery artists to exhibit artwork in its companion exhibition, Intimate Generations, Too. 

At 3pm, Sumner Hall (206 S. Queen Street) will offer a screening and discussion of the film 500 Years Later: The Struggle for African Self-Determination. Filmed on five continents, this critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning journey is infused with the spirit and music of liberation. Also on view will be works by Kent County native Kyle Hackett in a solo exhibit entitled Spirits Rejoice.

RiverArts will have Amazing People, curated by Lani Seikaly and Gordon Wallace on display in the main gallery (315 High Street, Ste. 106). The exhibit features stories of local men and women who have experienced poverty growing up. The story tellers are all amazing people from whom we have much to learn. Collectively they model for all of us the courage, caring, generosity of spirit, perseverance, intelligence, resourcefulness and grace needed to deal with life’s challenges. As one single mom said, “You have to cope with the hand you are dealt,” and all of them have demonstrated their ability to be successful in doing that. Short videos of the stories can also be found online at EasternShoreStories.com/Amazing-People.

Arts Alive Education Center (200 High Street) will feature a family-themed pop-up exhibit, and a drop-in hands-on activity for all ages.  At the Clay Studio (204 High Street) you can paint porcelain Easter figurines of bunnies, teddy bears, and eggs throughout the day. At The BOOKPLATE, (112 S. Cross Street) Ezra Greenspan will offer a lecture at 4:00pm on the family Frederick Douglass left behind in Talbot County. The Garfield Center for the Arts (210 High Street) will offer a special exhibition in the Lobby of the Theatre featuring portraits of the comedic families from current show, Greater Tuna. Also on display will be Leslie Raimond’s portrait quilt made in the late 90’s featuring images of many of Kent County’s elders - a wonderful work of community connection and local history. Robert Ortiz Studios (207 S. Cross Street) will feature heirloom quality Shaker & Japanese inspired furniture with additional works on display by Latin American ceramic artists and metal artist, Rob Glebe. The Artists’ Gallery (239 High Street) and Diane Rappisi Fine Art (241B High Street) will also have works on display. New venue, Tish Fine Arts Plus (343 High Street) will feature an exhibition of regional artists and a music performance by Paul Santori from 1:30-3:30pm.

Two of our many great downtown eateries have a focus on themes related to past generations in their décor. Casa Carmen Wine House (312 Cannon Street) will offer wine and charcuterie from noon to 4 p.m., with the owners’ family photos as backdrop.  The Retriever bar/restaurant (337 High Street) will be a perfect place to conclude the day in Chestertown’s Arts & Entertainment District, with cocktails and dinner surrounded by antique and vintage family portraits. 

A directory will be provided for visitors to tailor the crawl to their preference. If you are an arts and culture producer in Chestertown and would like to be featured on the crawl, please contact Tara Gladden, tgladden2@washcoll.edu.

For more information and updates, contact Jodi Bortz at office@mainstreetchestertown.org 

Bring friends and family and build your own cultural adventure while celebrating the wonderful art, food, culture, and community that ever-evolving Chestertown has to offer.