THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE I.W.S.A. & THE ANNAPOLIS ARTS DISTRICT
410.544.5448 | thepointcrabhouse.com 7 0 0 M i l l C r e e k R oa d A r n o l d , M a r y l a n d 2 1 0 1 2
CONTENTS 6 | Spring 2022
Waxing Creative • SCOTT NEWCOMB
By Dylan Roche
Re-emerging from the Chrysalis • DANAH KOCH By Desiree Smith-Daughety
Living Frame by Frame
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE I.W.S.A. & THE ANNAPOLIS ARTS DISTRICT
• SUSAN WALSH By Desiree Smith-Daughety
Untitled by Scott Newcomb. Encaustic.
Back to the Lighthouse • DAVID GENDELL By Dylan Roche
OneAnnapolis, Many Voices
• OLD FOX BOOKSTORE & COFFEEHOUSE
• ONEANNAPOLIS By Andrea Stuart
Oasis of Words & Whimsy
By Desiree Smith-Daughety
Rock & Roll Pie Shop • DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS PIES By Christine Fillat
Reflections in the Shell • ERIC ROBERGE By Thomas Ferraro
ometimes a sculptor sees no form in the clay, and sometimes a writer can find no words. For me, that space feels like an unsolicited meditation, a state of awareness that speaks a different language and when formation of words is a foreign concept. There, communication requires a less structured medium. It’s a place where concrete thoughts need not be liberated. Instead, energy is deliberately yet unabashedly distributed. That’s when sentences blend themselves into acrylic and eke out streaks on a canvas, sometimes with intention, other times abstractly. Phrases escape my fingertips by dancing on black and white keys at times in jarring cacophony and other times with less dissonance. And stories fall out of my mouth with abandon, cloaked in other people’s words as I sing along to “Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Weber, “Right to be Wrong” by Joss Stone, or “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty, or when I render a silly hum-along I’ve made up about breakfast as I feed my dogs. There’s a tremendous amount of freedom and power felt when sensations sneak through the crevices of creative nonconformity. We may identify as a writer, a photographer, or a musician, for instance, but from time to time, we may feel compelled to let our imaginations play in another’s playground. We may color outside the lines that we’ve drawn. And it’s liberating! Because of this, art is, perhaps, the most universal language that exists.
upstart-annapolis.com | 7
Nancy Hammond Editions Window on the Marina
Window on the Bay
Blue Heron, Blue Water
Nancy Hammond Editions features original art, prints and custom designed gifts by Nancy Hammond
Sprintime Garden at the Marina
192 West Street, Annapolis MD 21401 Open Daily 410-295-6612 NancyHammondEditions.com
Come See Us!
● Private Parties ● Happy Hour ● Live Music (Tues, Wed, Thurs from 5-8pm)
Now offering Sunday Brunch 7153 LAKE SHORE DR, NORTH BEACH, MD 20714 | (443) 646-5205 | ketch22.net
Publisher & Creative Director Jimi Davies email@example.com Editorial Director Andrea Stuart firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Leah Weiss Associate Editors Michele Callaghan MacDuff Perkins Contributing Writers Thomas Ferarro Christine Fillat Dylan Roche Desiree Smith-Daughety
Art Director Cory Deere email@example.com Contributing Photographers Gregg Patrick Boersma Nicole Caracia Karen Davies Alison Harbaugh Mary Ella Jourdak Jeanette Kreuzburg Joshua McKerrow Susan Walsh Advertising Jimi Davies firstname.lastname@example.org
facebook.com/UpstartAnnapolis twitter.com/upstartnaptown instagram.com/UpstartAnnapolis
SUBMISSIONS: For article submissions, email proposal to email@example.com. Up.St.Art Annapolis Magazine is published quarterly. Subscription rate: $40, payable in advance. Single copies $10. Back issues, if available, $15 (includes shipping and handling). For subscriptions and all other inquires, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-212-4242. Entire contents © 2022 by Up.St.Art Annapolis MagazineTM unless otherwise noted on specific articles. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without Publisher permission.
10 | Spring 2022
Gregg Patrick Boersma
Mary Ella Jourdak
upstart-annapolis.com | 11
14 | Spring 2022
CR E AT I V E by DYLAN ROCHE photography by ALISON HARBAUGH
ven though it’s been 15 years, Scott Newcomb still remembers a particular day. During the heat of summer in New York City, where he and his wife were living at the time, he was out, selling his art in Union Square. It had been seven weeks since he’d sold anything, and he was feeling discouraged. “In the summer, it’s hard as hell to sell artwork because it’s so hot,” he says. “All the art people tend to be out in the Hamptons or on the water. If I were to give advice to anyone trying to sell their artwork in New York in the summer, it would be to take a vacation.”
It was a good thing that Newcomb was not on vacation that day. A couple approached him and took a fervent interest in his multimedia abstract pieces, and one in particular caught their eye. English wasn’t their first language, but Newcomb understood that they wanted to buy his art as a gift. “Our friend is a big art collector,” he recalls they said. “He needs to see this. He will love this.” A couple of months later, Newcomb got a call from a man in Zurich, Switzerland, who told him he had acquired that piece and asked if it could be part of a tour. “I was blown away that somebody got my
Scott Newcomb holds Snapper Pop, a piece in his “Pop” series.
upstart-annapolis.com | 15
Of Atomic Particles by Scott Newcomb.
16 | Spring 2022
Magnetic Lines by Scott Newcomb.
artwork and wanted to include it in a tour,” Newcomb reflects. “It was going to be shown in two different museums of contemporary art.” Thus Newcomb came to have his work exhibited internationally. The piece continues to have a home in Europe as part of the Annette and Peter Nobel Collection at the Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg, Austria. His work is also displayed in Japan and England. After 15 years, that moment stands out as significant in Newcomb’s career. “Is there ever a big break?” he muses. “I’ve had those moments of affirmation that keep me going, and maybe those are big breaks.” Newcomb has always been surrounded by artistry and creativity. He grew up in a family of artists, thinking of the title of “Artist” as something to be revered, with positive energy. He went on to study briefly at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore before he and his wife, Mary, whom he describes as his greatest influence, moved to New York City. Today, the couple share studio space in their Annapolis home. Although they “feed off new places and new experiences,” they think of Annapolis as their home base, their “special, safe island.” Newcomb has also nurtured a love of teaching, something he discovered while working at The Crucible, a multidisciplinary arts center, when he lived in California. He realized that teaching would always be a part of what he does to some degree, and he brought that passion with him back to Annapolis, where he teaches 3-D and slime (yes, slime) classes and seminars at ArtFarm.
Dawn Lines by Scott Newcomb.
upstart-annapolis.com | 17
Scott Newcomb works on a new piece in his home studio in Annapolis, Maryland.
. . . he considers making friends to be a superpower that he possesses.
18 | Spring 2022
All these many places and experiences that Newcomb enjoys have shaped his unique method of making art over the years. In his youth, he mastered the use of watercolors, acrylics, and oil paint. In college, he moved on to glassblowing and metalworking. Today, he works with found objects, wax, and pigments to create his colorful abstract pieces. Sometimes he works with panels, which absorb the wax that he melts under a torch. Once the panel is saturated with wax, he can heat it up, cut into it, glaze it, and color it
with pigments. He uses everything from screws and other hardware to broken pieces of textured plexiglass to achieve the look he wants. Other times, he creates what he calls pops, mixed-media sculpture that can be held on a stick and admired from all angles. “Pops are less restrictive. They can move around. People can pick them up and look at them,” he explains. Whenever he finds an interesting object, whether it’s a boat buoy salvaged from a beach or an animal skull found in the woods, his imagination goes to work,
transforming it into a beautiful work of art or, as he sometimes describes his process, “praying something into existence.” This process that he’s developed over the years requires him to take his time with each step, something that’s difficult when he’s so eager to see the finished product. “So many other elements of my life give me instant gratification—my phone, my computer, you know,” he says. “Not getting it can be really hard. But it’s good. It’s healthy. Having the patience to ride it through and not rush it can be hard.”
Patience pays off, though, as his art seems to always elicit a reaction from everyone. When he was selling art in Union Square, he would hear raw, guttural expressions of admiration in equal measure with more eloquent responses. He recalls one interaction he had with a man who exclaimed in a New Jersey accent, “That’s beautiful, man! That’s beautiful!” (This particular fan even tried to buy one of Newcomb’s pieces for $400 more than what somebody else had already paid for it—high praise indeed.)
This kind of interaction really drives Newcomb as an artist, as he considers making friends to be a superpower that he possesses. He has an outlet for connecting with and supporting other artists via the Maryland Federation of Art, through which he recently participated in events such as the art walk and the Art of Paper show, both held in February 2022. These social outlets are important because, for him, it’s easy to get lost in his art. “It’s tough to balance
upstart-annapolis.com | 19
Piccadilly Pop, Philly Spray Pop, and Big Eyes (works in progress) by Scott Newcomb.
20 | Spring 2022
Magenta Blue Buoy by Scott Newcomb.
being an artist and a partner and a father and keeping everything cool, keeping everything equal,” he says. “In my art space, I can get lost for days, just living off green tea and music, just . . . working. But I have to be a part of feeding and cleaning, and I want to be really participatory because I know that really informs my artwork.” █ For more information, visit scottnewcombart.com.
Skull by Scott Newcomb.
Halo Pop by Scott Newcomb.
upstart-annapolis.com | 21
Voted Best Burger in Annapolis
The Most Delicious Flat Breads
Decadent | Delicious | Daily Lunch | Dinner | Sunday Brunch
193B & 189B Main Street - Downtown Annapolis
CHRYSALIS by DESIREE SMITH-DAUGHETY photography by NICOLE CARACIA
usician, songwriter, and artist Danah Koch is preparing for a creative week away, leaving behind a pandemic-induced cocoon. She’s following advice given by creatives she admires who recommend shutting oneself in a cabin to write without distraction. That’s in the best of times. Koch confesses to relying on short bursts of inspiration lately, not having written anything in a while that she feels is complete. “I think the pandemic has put a hard stop on that creative mojo at times, so I have to just act immediately when it comes,” she says. “I’ve gotten in the habit of writing down on my phone what’s coming across in my mind without judgment . . . Let[ting] whatever comes through do so.”
24 | Spring 2022
Taming the desire for “everything to be a masterpiece immediately,” she acknowledges that she’s not the only singer and songwriter that feels this way right now. After a period of taking any gig offered to establish herself, Koch already felt that she was burnt out and straying from why she started performing—to connect with people. “I welcomed the reevaluation and stillness and not doing anything at all,” she says. “Now, damn, two years in, and I’m not doing anything! It has not been an easy forced time off.” Hence the cabin retreat. Being open to taking advice has led to opportunities. Koch, who grew up on the Eastern Shore, currently lives on Kent Island. She met various local artists in Annapolis, including Up.St.ART
Annapolis publisher and musician Jimi Davies and Ruben Dobbs of Swampcandy. She recalls talking with Dobbs about songwriting and the struggles of letting it flow. He likened it to turning on the faucet and leaving it on. The water runs brown but will eventually run clear. “That has stuck in my mind, and instead of romanticizing the process of having to be organic, there’s a discipline. Take action, get the habit formed, because inspiration comes. It seems counterintuitive,” she says. Just as oxygen feeds a fire, experiencing live music inspires Koch as a performer. But because live music hasn’t been abundant, recently, she tunes in to her favorite albums to get herself in the headspace necessary to feed her current project, her first solo recording, titled Light from a Dark Room. Previously, she released a six-song EP, Unaddressed with her on-hiatus trio, The Dead Pens. “It was acoustic alternative/edgy coffeehouse,” she says. “I would describe us as unabashedly dark and unapologetically bitter.” In late 2021, Koch caught indie singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen’s show in New York City. He recognized her because she has followed his music releases over the past decade and been in the front row over the last five years at performances. They had a long talk about the creative process and her solo album project. Hearing someone’s art that she admires and then talking to the person behind it is inspiring to her. “What was really cool is
Rock N Roll Socialite (July 2019), Danah Koch. Photo by Shane Gardner.
upstart-annapolis.com | 25
“Making music requires a different sort of brain power.”
2017 Eastport-a-Rockin' during Bumpin' Uglies set. Photo by Jeni Parris Brady.
Danah Koch performing at Mamma Mia Italian Bistro & Sports Bar.
26 | Spring 2022
that he’s been one of my biggest songwriting influences,” she says. “He asked if I’d send him my album when it’s done, which was like, whoa! That’s really big.” Koch writes and covers a range of musical genres, including American Standards in jazz and classic rock, a lot of ’90s and alternative music, and sometimes classic country. Generally whatever people want, she’s willing to play, but she draws the line at “Sweet Caroline” and “Wagon Wheel.” “They’re on the no-play list,” she says. “It’s the only way I can keep my sanity, playing bars consistently.” The artists and musical genres she most relates to are broad in scope. “Julie London is a big influence of mine, despite the edgy stuff I bring to the table as an original music artist,” says Koch. Motown is also an influence. “The ways I riff, I definitely borrow from a lot of soul singers. Etta James, Aretha Franklin. Some blues. And ’90s grunge music has my heart.” Koch counts Jeff Buckley as her favorite singersongwriter. “He’s very versatile, a big influence on my vocal style, because he has a lot of the same influences as I’ve had.” Her musical trajectory began with what she describes as “a dinky keyboard with all the fun sounds on it” that her sister got for Christmas and Koch quickly commandeered. She recalls listening repeatedly to Evanescence’s first album, Fallen, when she was five years old and trying to model vocalist Amy Lee. Lee’s song “My Immortal” was
Danah Koch performing at FinArt’s Last Hurrah. Photo by David Lebow.
the first Koch ever sang in public, at a sixth-grade talent show. She received so much positive feedback that she was encouraged to sing at the annual talent show and keep pursuing voice. At age seven, Koch began classical piano lessons and continued until she graduated from high school. She taught herself how to sing by emulating her favorite vocalists, such as Joan Baez, then adding fingerstylepicking on guitar and learning Baez’s songs. She joined the high
school marching band and played vibraphone and marimba (remaining in the pit or front ensemble because of the instruments’ size), and cymbals during parades. She credits Sam Pugh, a musician from Easton with whom she has played music for ten years, for being the first person to inspire her to write an original song. Their most recent collaboration was performing as a duo on Fridays for a yearlong residency at Ram’s Head Tavern.
upstart-annapolis.com | 27
Unholy Matrimony: Bill and Marge by Danah Koch. Found oil portraits on linen with acrylic additions.
Fiona Apple by Danah Koch. Graphite, pen, and white charcoal. Photo courtesy of Danah Koch.
28 | Spring 2022
Plant Study by Danah Koch. Graphite on toned tan paper.
She hopes to complete her solo record by spring 2022. “The plan is to tour that album and promote the hell out of it,” she says. Annapolis musician Kit Whitacre and Baltimore multiinstrumentalist Elias Schutzman are helping with recording. Koch, who now performs as Danah Denice, describes her musical style as acoustic alternative but is exploring heavier genres with the recording and in live performances going forward. “After two years of being a shut-in, there’s a lot of rage inside,” she says. “I might go scream my head off for a few months and then go back to acoustic alternative. Or maybe I can keep doing both— balance!”
Koch also finds balance through her visual art—often commissions for others or pieces inspired by something she has read. Her preferred mediums are graphite drawings or acrylic paint, both detailed with pen and ink. For her, drawing and painting are more for personal enjoyment, providing the opportunity to be playful. “Something that I get from visual art that I don’t always get from music is that visual art is incredibly meditative. Making music requires a different sort of brain power.” █ For more information, visit instagram.com/danahdenice or facebook.com/danahdenice.
Danah Koch at 49 West Coffeehouse, Winebar & Gallery.
upstart-annapolis.com | 29
32 | Spring 2022
Living Frame by Frame by DESIREE SMITH-DAUGHETY photography by SUSAN WALSH
estiny often hinges on one seemingly insignificant decision. For Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Susan Walsh, that decision was signing up for a photography class while attending college to become an aerospace engineer. Before recalibrating her career intention, Walsh grew up in Las Vegas— hating the heat—and later attended high school in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Strong in math and science, she selected Boston University, a large school that overwhelmed her, and her grades reflected it. “I was terrified, with no idea who to get
A man walks through a flag memorial at the Pentagon during a ceremony marking the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center (September 11, 2008). Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
upstart-annapolis.com | 33
At the White House, President Clinton makes a statement as First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton looks on (December 19, 1998). Clinton thanked democratic members of the House of Representatives who voted against impeachment and vowed to complete his term. Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone, South Korea (June 30, 2019). Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
34 | Spring 2022
help from,” she says. When she took the photography class and got an A, she thought, “Oh, this will boost the GPA.” After another photography class, she called her parents to tell them that she was going to be a photographer, not an aerospace engineer. Building on opportunities, Walsh first interned with the Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts, before getting a staff job at the Springf ield Union News in New Hampshire. She freelanced for the Associated Press (AP) in its Boston office before joining full time in 1991. “At age 24, it was a pretty big deal. I was one of the younger staffers,” she says. Assignments took her to sporting events, including marathons and Red Sox and New England Patriots games. In 1997, the AP sent her to Washington, DC, to cover the inauguration and photograph then-president Bill Clinton. A staff position was available there,
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan (June 28, 2019). Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
so she transferred. “Since then, I’ve been covering a whole lot of politics—just a different kind of sport!” she says. A good friend told her she should look at Annapolis to settle down. While on an Annapolis pub crawl to get a feel for the place, a bartender offered this pearl of wisdom: You can either live where you work or live where you want to spend the weekends. Finding the idea appealing, Walsh moved to Annapolis. She found it to be fun, with a townlike feel—unlike more countycentric areas—and she could physically disconnect from her job. She works with eight other photojournalists at the AP’s Washington bureau. They split their time covering all “official” Washington, including Capitol Hill, the White House, Pentagon, and State Department, and federal agencies. They’re also part of the travel pool, with one AP photo spot out of 13 journalists who globetrot with the president on Air Force One. Walsh’s career is ablaze with highlights that most people wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience. “We come up with strange metrics to quantify our careers,” says Walsh. She’s photographed every US president since Ronald Reagan (and former president Jimmy Carter, postpresidency) and covered three out of the four presidential impeachments. As part of the White House press pool, she covered all trips between former president Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong
President Bush does his best to salute while holding his dog, Barney, as they get off of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland (June 25, 2001). Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
Un. At their meeting in Singapore, she was, at one point, a mere 12 feet from them and photographed their parting handshake. At the Korean demilitarized zone, she was seven feet away after Trump walked with Kim into North Korea. “That was the really crazy scene with the United States, North Korea, and South Korea moving us and blocking us.” She recalls how her heart was pounding—hoping not to mess up
“We come up with strange metrics to quantify our careers.”
upstart-annapolis.com | 35
President Barack Obama salutes as a casket team carries the transfer case containing the remains of Army Sgt. Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Indiana, who died in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware (October 29, 2009). Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
the assignment and seeing Kim, whom few get to see. “I think when it was all done, it was a release of energy because it was so stressful, so chaotic, you couldn’t really absorb was what going on at the moment,” she says. From 2001 to 2006, Walsh served as president of the White House
36 | Spring 2022
News Photographers Association. She has won several awards including its annual contest. As part of a team package submitted by the AP, which doesn’t always tell photographers that their work was included, she won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. The submission photos
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware (January 6, 2021). Biden called the violent protests on the US Capitol "an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people's business.” Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
included people and events related to former president Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Walsh notes that photojournalists always pay attention on the day that winners are announced, but being off of work that day, she didn’t know until her colleague called and told her that they’d just won a Pulitzer. “I was in total disbelief. I collapsed President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visit the Surfside Wall of Hope & Memorial in Surfside, Florida (July 1, 2021) for the people missing after the condo tower that collapsed earlier in the week. Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
upstart-annapolis.com | 37
Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson along with acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Tim Blodgett lead the democratic house impeachment managers as they walk through Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill to deliver to the Senate the article of impeachment alleging incitement of insurrection against former president Donald Trump, in Washington, DC, (January 25, 2021). Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
“I'm very curious about the world around me.”
38 | Spring 2022
into a chair. He said, ‘When you die, you’ll be known as a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.’ It was very surreal,” she says. The newest photographer among three seasoned photographers, Walsh received the least ideal phototaking spot for what was due
to be a historic day and worried that she wouldn’t get any good pictures. As the scene unfolded, she found herself ideally situated and got a tight shot of Hillary and Bill Clinton in the frame. Click. “I knew it was a good shot when I made it,” she says. “I had
a bunch of front pages the next day.” She counts it as a teachable moment to make the best work you can from the position you’re in. Photojournalism has transformed her from a selfdescribed “terribly shy” person in college to one who is much more extroverted. “You have to go up and meet people. I’m very curious about the world around me. It’s a bit of a cliché —I have a front row seat,” she says. “I’ve had a chance to see things firsthand, traveling overseas and having a chance to be in buildings and places that the average person never gets to step in[to]. I say I’m a paid busybody.” “Things happen in a life,” Walsh says of her journey thus far. “Some things you can control, some not. I’d rather be lucky than good. I feel fortunate I’ve had some good luck on the way as well.” █
Latticia Gaffney, widow of Corp. Charles P. Gaffney, Jr., watches as her twin daughters, Mia and Cara Gaffney, receive a flag during their father's funeral at Arlington Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia (February 3, 2009). Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Susan Walsh.
Susan Walsh in 2019 while covering the impeachment hearings. Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Andrew Harnik.
upstart-annapolis.com | 39
YOUR ANNAPOLIS PIE JOINT
212 West St, Annapolis, MD 21401 • (410) 990-0743 • dangerouspiesannapolis.com
42 | Spring 2022
B ACK TO THE
LIGHTHOUSE by DYLAN ROCHE photography by GREGG PATRICK BOERSMA
s David Gendell as a sailor who writes or as a writer who sails? Both identities are tightly woven in the author of Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse: A Chesapeake Bay Icon. His 2020 debut traces the many stories surrounding the National Historic Landmark located at 38.907 degrees North and 76.4660 degrees West. If you ask Gendell himself, the answer is easy. “At the core of who I am, I consider myself a sailor,” he says. “It’s the activity from which everything else stems.”
Through sailing, Gendell discovered his talents as a wordsmith, back when he was a college student. He wrote letters to his grandmother, a retired English teacher, telling her about his sailing adventures as far as Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Nova Scotia. “I started writing her letters reporting what we were doing,” he recalls. “That really showed me that if I took some time and looked at it, I could write about what I was doing and feeling and experiencing to an audience.”
David Gendell has conducted extensive research on the activity at the Annapolis Yacht Yard and completed a non-fiction manuscript focused on the 1940s activity at the site.
upstart-annapolis.com | 43
“I thought, ‘I’m going to write this through, from beginning to end.’” Gendell’s audience has grown over the years as he’s launched magazines and labored over manuscripts. With the release of his book, he’s navigating exciting new waters as an author. But it all goes back to his love of his subject matter: being out on the boat. The oldest of three boys growing up on the Magothy River in the 1980s, Gendell spent his childhood and adolescence learning to swim and sail, catching crabs off of his family’s dock, mucking around muddy banks, and venturing out on the ice during the coldest parts of winter. By age 14, he saved up his money to buy a Laser, which he sailed on ambitious solo trips to Annapolis a few times. At age 16, he was teaching at the Annapolis Sailing School, a job he cites as formative because of the connections he made and the confidence he gained. By age 19, he had his captain’s license. It all led him to those sailing trips worth writing home about and, ultimately, a realization that he loved storytelling. Once out of college, he got a job writing for Rags Magazine, a startup that lasted about a year and half. After it folded, he and friend Mary Iliff Ewenson saw a need in the Annapolis area for a sailing magazine. Because Gendell 44 | Spring 2022
David Gendell's book cover.
had the creative mind with a vision for stories and photos and Ewenson had the business mind and strength in advertising sales, they successfully fulfilled that vision with the launch of SpinSheet Magazine in 1995. “We have super different strengths and we had a really great divide-and-conquer approach to running the business,” says Ewenson. “He knew the sailing community really well. He has a really good way of capturing not just the right words but the feel of what he’s talking about so that when he tells a story, it’s not just grammatically correct and factually correct, but you get the whole picture.”
While Ewenson continues to run SpinSheet as publisher, Gendell left to pursue a career in technology. Even with his new day job, he never gave up writing. “Some guys play golf, some guys play guitar, some guys restore old cars in their garage. I like nothing more than to dial into a local topic—the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis, maybe a historical topic—and learn as much as I can, and piece it all together with some personality, and then write about it.” He guesses that he’s researched and written about 25 different topics over the years. He’s also assembled a manuscript about the Annapolis waterfront during World War II, a project that has taken 20 years and accumulated at least 250,000 words—he’s trimmed the length down to a more reasonable 100,000. But in 2019, he set that project aside and focused on Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. He describes the landmark as “such an iconic spot and such an interesting spot,” and knew that tracing the events and stories surrounding it would give him plenty of material. “I sat down and made a list of what happened at the lighthouse—storms and different keepers and different events,” he says. “I started expanding out the timeline and realized there’s a story. I thought, ‘I’m going to write this through, from beginning to end.’” He started querying publishers of books about lighthouses, and within 24 hours, he had a contract offer from Arcadia Publishing. The research took him all over Maryland and into Washington, D.C., as he looked through the archives of the Baltimore Sun and the Capital Gazette, along with the Lighthouse Board’s official records at the National Archives.
David Gendell in The Big Shed at 222 Severn Avenue in Eastport. The Big Shed was built in 1942 as a central part of the Annapolis Yacht Yard's motor torpedo boat building program.
upstart-annapolis.com | 45
David Gendell (left) and Jimmy Buffett aboard the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in October 2020. Photo courtesy of David Gendell.
Gendell’s mark as a researcher and storyteller is his passionate connection to his subject matter, according to Ewenson. “He’s a neat mix of loving history and going out and doing things,” she says. “If he’s writing about the lighthouse, he’s going out and taking photos, fishing off the structure around the lighthouse, being out there at sunrise and sunset, and thinking about what it was like for the keepers, years ago . . . [W ]hen he’s covering something current, he grounds it with historical references. And when he writes about history, he brings in present day.” Releasing a book during a pandemic presented a marketing challenge, as Gendell was limited when it came to in-person events. Even so, the response to the book has been enthusiastic. “I’m thrilled by the way it’s been received,” he says. “There’s a core of people who love that lighthouse—it’s a central part of their lives—and that group has been incredibly supportive.” With a readership base already forming, Gendell is setting his sights on future research and writing projects. He remains grateful that people appreciate his passion for these endeavors. “I’m surrounded by people and family who get me and support me,” he
David Gendell (right) and friend Noel Patterson blasting across the mouth of the Severn River aboard Patterson's Prindle 16 catamaran. Photo courtesy of David Gendell. David Gendell (left) and longtime friend Dick Franyo (owner of the Boatyard Bar & Grill) aboard Juice, an Alerion 28 sloop they sail out of Eastport. Photo courtesy of David Gendell.
46 | Spring 2022
says. “If I’m at the archives for six hours on end on a Saturday and come back with my head spinning and need to sit down and go through it all for a couple more hours, they understand and stay supportive.” █
Gendell family sailboat cruise circa 1980. (L–R) Greg Gendell (who has spent his entire career as a professional sailor), Kip Gendell, David Gendell, and their mother, Mary Gendell. Photo courtesy of David Gendell.
David Gendell's book can be ordered at arcadiapublishing.com or purchased at Alltackle Annapolis, Annapolis Maritime Museum, or Fawcett Boat Supplies.
upstart-annapolis.com | 47
50 | Spring 2022
Many Voices by ANDREA STUART photography by MARY ELLA JOURDAK
ariations of La Calavera Catrina (Elegant Skull) snaked between vendors at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts during the 2021 Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. Adorned in embroidered Puebla dresses, their skull-painted faces rimmed in rhinestones and their heads topped with vibrant flowers, a host of Annapolitans honored the cycle of life in the way the Aztecs and Nahua people of Mexico did more than 3,000 years ago: with food, drink, dance, and respect. The annual Day of the Dead celebration is one of myriad programs organized by OneAnnapolis to create inclusivity and encourage engagement
between all Annapolitans while honoring cultural diversity. An ancillary arm of the mayor’s office, OneAnnapolis operates on the guiding principle of advancing a greater level of public participation between residents, organizations, neighborhoods, and communities so that they can work collaboratively to address and resolve community-level issues. The goal is to align the services, policies, and priorities of the Mayor’s Office more closely with the needs of all the people of Annapolis. In 2016, William F. Rowel, senior advisor to the mayor/public engagement specialist, and Adetola Ajayi, African American community services specialist, began evaluating the
OneAnnapolis Back 2 School Celebration (2018). Photo courtesy of city of Annapolis.
upstart-annapolis.com | 51
needs of Annapolitans. They discovered are presented to the public.” For example, The outreach efforts have been the city might bring community members helpful on many levels. The city staff economic and cultural disparities in for a planning meeting to help define between the city’s eight distinct have assured individuals within the an issue and discuss potential resolutions communities that their feedback is neighborhoods, corresponding wards, before going public with a proposal. As and marginalized cultural subsets. crucial. The interactions also help a result, there is better engagement and “What we observed was a [perceptible] to inform citizens as to what is level of disconnect as it relates to certain more meaningful conversations between happening in their communities. populations within our city,” “People don’t know what says Rowel. “There was a they don’t know, and they lack of synergy throughout become disconnected when communities in all economic they think their voices don’t backgrounds.” matter,” says Ajayi. “But once Symptomatic of the they know you respect and disparity, there was a want their feedback, they noticeable lack of interest will come. They will speak on the part of citizens and up.” city officials to learn more The Hispanic, African about how to provide services American, and LGTBQ in a more meaningful way. outreach programs, each “There was such a lack of of which is open to any programming and access to individual who identifies resources for citizens, which with those demographics, created palpable apathy. are results of such work. There was clearly a need to “People think there are connect Annapolitans by solid lines in ethnicity,” building trust, strategizing, says Rowel. “But we aren’t and collaborating in ways that all defined by just one.” build power and unite voices,” The city has established says Rowel. partnerships and services Enter OneAnnapolis. A that are mindful of these platform of programming distinctions and recognize designed to put connection how people self-identify and above competition, it includes to which communities they social and cultural awareness are connected. programs and events, public The feedback loop created William Rowel and Adetola “ Tola” Ajayi stand joutside the and private partnerships, by these outreach efforts doors of Annapolis City Hall. advocacy that shapes has informed much of the the city and its citizens. In addition to program and policy development, civic Mayor’s Office programming. The clearly defining issues that are important Naptown Anti-Dope Move[meant] engagement, education campaigns, and to the community, this process creates applied research. Perhaps one of the (NAM)—a data-driven grassroots most significant outcomes is the way the transparency, according to Rowel and outreach initiative coordinated by Ajayi. city now uses information to develop the Mayor’s Office of Engagement to An essential component of the and support OneAnnapolis’ efforts. raise awareness about the opioid crisis OneAnnapolis model is neighborhood Ajayi describes the process as a way in the African American communities civic engagement. In addition to years of working backward. “Typically, a city of Annapolis—is one such strategy. of conducting research, Ajayi has spent government will hold public meetings According to Ajayi, it changed much of his time bringing citizens into and conduct outreach only after it has the hearts, minds, and souls of the conversation by conducting small completed its internal meetings,” he Annapolitans about substance abuse. says. “Now, it invites experts and citizens community-centric events throughout “We hosted biweekly focus groups in Annapolis. to the internal meetings before issues neighborhoods most affected. People
52 | Spring 2022
“As a result, there is better engagement and more meaningful conversations . . .”
Adetola Ajayi, African American community services specialist for the city of Annapolis.
William Rowel serves as senior advisor to the mayor and is the community relations specialist.
collaborated and coordinated to share their experiences.” From there, successful programs were developed to assist substance abuse victims and their families. Statistics from the OD Free Annapolis website speak to the program’s success. In 2018, African Americans accounted for 88% of overall fatal overdoses. In 2019, one year after NAM began, African Americans accounted for 46% of fatal overdoses. Events and activities supported by the city bridge many of the OneAnnapolis work plan initiatives by cultivating
upstart-annapolis.com | 53
awareness through involvement, education, and entertainment. In April, at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center, the Flowers Festival has featured foods and traditions of Latin America, as well as Flamenco dancers donning traje de flamenca or sevillana dresses. It celebrates the emergence of spring while honoring the diversity and richness of Annapolis’ Latin community. In February, the city has organized a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade followed by a diaspora festival. Each year, it displays 76 flags from countries that represent African nations or places where significant populations of African descendants reside, honoring and celebrating the heritage of people of African descent. This year, the city hosted The State of Black Annapolis, a three-part inperson and virtual speaker series featuring experts in the fields of economics, education, election, and entertainment. In 2019, the city hosted its first Pride Parade & Festival, honoring the LGTQ+ community and diversity of all people. There are plans to hold the event on June 4 this year.
OneAnnapolis Back 2 School event at Bates Athletic Complex in Annapolis (2019). Photo by Christian Smooth.
Annapolis strengthens the celebration of diversity through collaborations with institutions and organizations in beautification efforts, such as with murals that are relevant to each community. “OneAnnapolis’ inaugural mural project was the Benjamin Franklin mural,” says Ajayi. The piece, by Future History Now with Stanton Center youth, provided the backdrop for the West Street stage where, in 2017, Mayor Buckley and newly elected members of City Council were sworn in. Rowel reminds that Annapolis has a history as a colonial city. “Part of our job is to balance preservation with innovation,” he says. As such, with OneAnnapolis, the idea is to create a
cycle of acting, learning, and aligning that results in better engagement, ideas, and solutions that enhance the city government’s impact. Through a dynamic range of offerings, from community and listening sessions to clinics, meetings, concerts, and special events, OneAnnapolis strives to inspire Annapolitans to live, work, and play in the community. “We want the youth of Annapolis to see opportunities here and to get involved and want to stay,” says Rowel. “For them to know there is something here for them after high school.” OneAnnapolis is innovating by learning from its past as it plans for its future. █
For more information, visit annapolis.gov/1374/OneAnnapolis.
54 | Spring 2022
58 | Spring 2022
Rock & Roll
PIE SHOP by CHRISTINE FILLAT photography by KAREN DAVIES
angerously Delicious Pies is a pie company with an enticing name and a cute logo: a pie with crossbones, much like a pirate flag. One wonders what makes these pies dangerous in their deliciousness and whether they are they truly dangerous and delicious. In November 2020, Christopher and Kimberly Miller opened the Annapolis branch of Dangerously Delicious Pies at 212-214 West Street. Opening a pie shop in the midst of a worldwide pandemic took something more than courage. That something is what legends are made of. Maybe it springs forth from under the melodic missives of a sixstring guitar—perhaps Dangerously Delicious Pies’ superpower is rock and roll. The company’s originator, Rodney Henry, is a Baltimore pieman of Food Network and Food Network
Star fame. The macho, tattooed rock and roller who sports a rakish porkpie hat has pie memories reaching back into his childhood, when he was about six years old, to a family reunion in Indiana. Everyone brought a pie. There were fruit pies, savory pies, pies covered in tea towels, pies in woven baskets. Not all of them were good; some were sublime. “What I do remember really distinctly,” recalls Henry, “is the fact that everybody was super passionate about their pie.” Young Henry had a lot of pie that day. He specifically remembers apple pie and Bob Andy Pie, a custard pie with a caramelized meringue on top. “I call it a white trash crème brûlée” he says. Growing up, spending summers at his great-aunt and great-uncle’s farm in Minnesota, he reminisces about days spent working at the farm, fishing, and great, Norman
An apple pie ready for its top crust.
upstart-annapolis.com | 59
Pie shop employee Rachel removes pies from the oven.
Sweet and savory pies ready for boxing.
60 | Spring 2022
Rockwell-esque dinners with lots of family, food, and, yes, pie. “My greatuncle Kern was a big Swedish dude . . .You know, you work hard, and then you eat hard . . . That’s where I sort of got hit with baking pies. And I never really thought about it for a long time . . . [And] it finally got to the point where I just started baking them for people. Mostly for dates, you know?” He would show up at a potential girlfriend’s door with a freshly baked apple pie. “You always go with a pie that you’re super confident with,” says Henry. “Apple pie is a really good judge of somebody’s pie prowess. I’d go with that. I’d bust out blueberry pies, too, but mostly, my go-to was apple, back then.” Apparently, wooing with pie works, for girlfriends and music lovers. Henry’s true love is rock and roll. For years, he toured with the Glenmont Popes, a Maryland-based band, singing originals and playing guitar. He’d take pies on gigs to give to friends and sell at the merch table. Eventually, pie became more lucrative than music. Now, the pie shop supports his rock and roll lifestyle. “The whole idea of pie was to take care of music, and it’s kind of working out that way,” he says. Chris Miller, co-owner of Dangerously Deslicious Pies in Annapolis.
upstart-annapolis.com | 61
“Once you get the crust down, you can do so much with the pie.”
62 | Spring 2022
“Most of time, you get pie to share with people, and that’s the coolest thing. You get a pie, and usually it sparks up a conversation. You know, cake, you get a piece of cake, you eat it, it’s done. Pie is like, ‘Aw, you made a pie?!’ It’s, like, something real Americana about pie, you know? Folk and folklore.” Henry shares his pie shop empire with other owners, such as the Millers, through licensing agreements. Christopher has worked in the music management business, managing bands and clubs for over 20 years. Most recently, he was chief financial officer for IMP, the Washington DC-based independent concert promotion and production company. When the commute between home in Centreville and DC became a drudge, the siren song of Dangerously Delicious Pies lured him. Christopher approached Kimberly with what she calls a harebrained idea to open a pie shop in Annapolis.
Kimberly knew what Christopher was in for. Her family owned McConnel’s Fun Food, a fast-food restaurant on the beach route in Denton. She worked there every summer, from eighth grade through college. Her full-time job at the Maryland General Assembly keeps her occupied most of the time, and she understood that a pie shop would require full-time devotion. Christopher trained with Henry extensively for many hours, and perfected the crust. “Once you get the crust down, you can do so much with the pie,” he says. “I think that’s a testament to our menu, between the sweet pies and the savory pies. We have a pretty wide array of offerings, even though we’re just pie, and we’re always looking to add some creativity and think outside of the box, too.” There’s a certain amount of joy to owning a pie shop, much like a rock and roll show. “A rock and roll show, you would work, from load in to load out. You build the whole day getting ready. You open doors, and when the headliner goes on, the look on the masses’ faces is a rush,” says Christopher. “When you work hard, you’re here at 6 a.m. and you’re baking pies, and the crew’s getting ready. You open doors, and someone has a slice of pie, and you see the smile on their face, it’s the same rush. There’s nothing better than that. That’s worth everything.” The Millers are looking forward to the day when their pie shop can offer a full dining experience, with an expanded menu of more than pie. They want to host more open mic and trivia nights. Avid fans of the Premier league—the English Football League System—they’d like to share that interest with the public. And for the Fourth of July, “We’re
For more information, visit dangerouspiesannapolis.com or Facebook.
going to make it a tradition here in Annapolis, we’re going to have an annual pie eating contest,” promises Miller. Are they dangerous? They’re definitely delicious. See for yourself. No, don’t just see. Taste for yourself, and you can decide just how rock and roll Dangerously Delicious Pies are. █
Rodney Henry, founder of Dangerously Delicious Pies.
upstart-annapolis.com | 63
Stop by Heroes Pub and enjoy our Award Winning Wings and one of our 48 beers on draft!
1 Riverview Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland
OASIS OF WORDS
y s m i h W
or a nostalgic escape, walked into a home filled with “It already has an Annapolis institution feeling. A good take a stroll down books and objets d'art, the vibe and energy, feels like a cobblestoned Maryland place where someone knows home and a community,” says Avenue in downtown your story and you’re always Amundson. Annapolis and prepare to welcome. That’s not by accident. be charmed. Push open the Old Fox Books & Amundson and Holmes broad door to Old Fox Books Coffeehouse is domiciled believe that the shop has a & Coffeehouse. (Its tagline in an 1870’s-era building role in the local community is “Where story lives.”) The exuding historic charm. as a mainstay, offering squeak of the door’s hinges Original wood floors, area consistency and the tinkle with its openof its bell daily schedule. above signals by DESIREE SMITH-DAUGHETY “It matters for that a new photography by JEANETTE KREUZBURG people to rely arrival has on that,” says crossed the Amundson. threshold into “One of the reasons people this magical, calming realm. carpets, and an eclectic mix come is they know what Your olfactory senses will of furnishings and décor they’ll get: coziness, comfort, be greeted by fresh-brewed create a homey atmosphere. warmth,” Holmes adds, “Also, coffee emanating from Brown The shop formerly housed elements of imagination and Mustache Coffeehouse, Annapolis Bookstore, which whimsy.” Treasured moments located at the back of the moved its location before include hearing first-time shop. Jinny Amundson and Janice visitors’ reactions. Comments Take a moment to gain Holmes, co-owners of Old range from “This is how your bearings. Shelves and Fox (a nickname given to bookcases line the front room. General George Washington), bookstores are supposed to do it” and “I wish we had one like Stacks of books sit atop tables. opened its door on Small this back home.” You may feel as if you just Business Saturday of 2016.
A crystal ball reflects a long wall of books at Old Fox Books.
66 | Spring 2022
upstart-annapolis.com | 67
The shop reflects Holmes and Amundson—easy-going, relaxed, welcoming, ready to learn your story and hear about your life updates, travels, and interests. While seated alongside a long table ideal for leafing through book selections, former Maryland State Senator John Astle stops by mid-interview to say hello to the owners and update them on his book project. “He has been a good friend to us,” says Holmes. Later, another customer pauses to chat and catch up on his way to buy coffee.
Lounge area on the lower level.
68 | Spring 2022
Old Fox customers range from boating live-aboards and current and former St. John’s College students to out-of-towners and neighbors. Customers bring visitors to show off their local bookshop. “We love to see the shop through the eyes of first-time visitors,” says Amundson. It’s important, having that affirmation.” “People forget we’re not just a tourist town,” says Amundson. “They think the parking will be a problem, but it’s easy to park down here to get to our bookshop. It’s a beautiful seven-minute walk from Calvert Parking Garage, which is free on weekends.” Children's bookshelves.
Owners of Old Fox Books, Janice Holmes and Jinny Amundson.
upstart-annapolis.com | 69
While the shop carries both new and old books, Amundson and Holmes often don’t know what types of old books will come through their doors, as they are replenishing with sources such as collections from people downsizing their homes. They curate their offerings according to what interests them and what they’d like to read or learn. They also know what interests their large customer base and often think about who would love certain books. “We’re like bartenders, but everyone is sober. Mostly!” laughs Holmes. The bookstore offers something for everyone, and if you’re stuck on what to try, then just ask. All the shop’s booksellers possess genuine curiosity and can make suggestions, and anything can be special ordered. What does Annapolis read? “Annapolis is pretty literature rich,” says Holmes. “A lot of literary fiction, colonial history,
Little book house.
Brown Mustache Coffee, located inside of Old Fox Books.
70 | Spring 2022
maritime history—we try to find older, interesting books. Naval, pirates, history of rum, philosophy.” They sell many copies of George Washington’s Rules of Civility. Their proximity to Prince George and King George Streets—the shop nestled between—may serve as an influence. Both Amundson and Holmes recommend trying new topics and taking a break from the multiple lists of recommend reads each year. They suggest sussing out former Booker Prize winners or older authors. “Barbara Pym is a wonderful writer who was forgotten in the 1950s, then rediscovered around 1977, before becoming obscure again” says Amundson. “There are so many amazing writers. Go to the older ones, see how new writers were influenced.” Holmes adds, “Be open to recommendations. Join a book club, start a book club, or join ours!”
Or you can take a chance on a “blind date.” While marriage proposals have occurred at the store (six and counting), Amundson and Holmes are a different type of matchmaker. At Old Fox the blind date is a book that they’ve read, wrapped in newspaper, with a natural adornment added such as a sprig of pine. A synopsis, penned on an index card, explaining what the reader might like about the book inside, is attached to the top like a gift card. The store’s picturesque, book-rich space welcomes both young and seasoned readers, with an exclusive, children-centric section. It’s here that a child-sized chair has become the only tug-of-war in which the business partners engage; one will situate the chair so that it sits straight and “in place” on the carpet, and the other will later walk by, see that it’s “out of place” and catercorner it. French doors lead customers to a deck with bistro seating to settle awhile and enjoy a cup of coffee or espresso and other locally sourced treats while perusing new reading material. A generous seating area awaits in the garden area, along with a bookhouse built by Holmes that’s partially made, literally, of books. Since opening, Holmes has rebuilt the garden bookhouse six times, a hazard of little ones not understanding that the books are part of its structure. “We hate to throw any books away,” says Amundson, “so we make sure to try and squeeze as much love and use out of all the books that come into our shop.” █ For more information, visit oldfoxbooks.com & brownmustache.com. History section on the lower level.
upstart-annapolis.com | 71
ORIGINAL ABSTRACT ART TO INSPIRE LIFE AT HOME AND W COLOR IS POWER.
Equipped with open space, large gallery wall, two classrooms, and a stage, ArtFarm is the perfect place to explore arts education, engage with creative groups, or host an event.
CLASSES WORKSHOPS EVENTS GALLERY 703-283-4700 TEAM BUILDING JENSTERLING.COM SPACE RENTALS PRIVATE COLLECTIONS CORPORATE ART COMMISSIONS EXHIBITIONS
ARTFARM studios @JENSTERLINGART
ORIGINAL ABSTRACT ART TO INSPIRE LIFE AT HOME AND ORIGINAL ABSTRACT ARTWORK. COLOR POWER. TO INSPIRE LIFE ATISHOME AND WORK. COLOR IS POWER.
PRIVATE COLLECTIONS CORPORATE ART PRIVATE COLLECTIONS COMMISSIONS CORPORATE ART EXHIBITIONS COMMISSIONS EXHIBITIONS
74 | Spring 2022
REFLECTIONS IN THE SHELL by THOMAS FERRARO photography by JOSHUA MCKERROW
Photo courtesy of Eric Roberge
hen Eric Roberge describes his life as an artist in a changing Annapolis the last half-century, one can hear his passion, struggles and satisfaction. “When I was a kid, there were few, if any, galleries [in Annapolis],” he recalls. “But there’s been an explosion of them. They provide Roberge and other artists with nearly two dozen places to show and sell their paintings, photos, sculptures, and crafts. With the popularity of galleries, Roberge says he saw more bars and restaurants begin to display local art and feature live music and help give rise to the emergence of street art festivals, drawing crowds upwards of several thousand. “A festival on the City Dock in 1970,” he says, “that’s where I sold my very first piece—a painting on a recycled acoustic ceiling tile of three Revolutionary War-era
people, one carrying a 13-star flag, a fife, and a drum. I sold it for $25, I think.” The ascent of the arts changed the face of downtown Annapolis, says Roberge, pleasing some locals but angering others who saw their favorite grocery, hardware, and clothing stores replaced by eating and drinking establishments. “Annapolis went from having a normal downtown that served the people who live and work here to a downtown that caters mostly to tourists who want to go to restaurants and bars,” he says. Emblematic of the change, he explains, is that an area of the Annapolis City Dock, where oyster and crab workboats long reigned, is now lined with multimillion-dollar yachts and called “Ego Alley.” He also references the upscaling of the nearby Market House, which opened in 1858.
upstart-annapolis.com | 75
Le Covid 19 by Eric Roberge.
Born in France, outside of Paris, he began his love of art as a doodling toddler, moved to Annapolis with his mother in 1957, and graduated from Annapolis High School in 1966. Four years later, Roberge was busy sketching and painting when he expanded his involvement in the arts by stepping into the local music scene. He became a DJ and worked parties, weddings, class reunions, graduations—many of them at St. John’s College. “I did it to meet girls and listen to music, music I got to pick.” Over the years as a DJ, he heard and saw changes in popular music—from the Four Tops to the Grateful Dead to the Pretenders— and he noticed that the aroma of weed replaced that of cigarettes. “I was a hippie, then,” he says.
Oyster shells featuring eyes, maps, and marine life, by Eric Roberge.
76 | Spring 2022
Roberge holds an oyster shell on which he illustrated a hummingbird and flower.
Roberge is among the vast majority of the estimated 200-plus artists in Annapolis who must have a separate full- or part-time job to make ends meet. “It’s the path I’ve followed. It’s a hard path. I’ve got to hustle to make money,” he says. He’s toiled as a surveyor and laborer, and still works as a house painter—work he began more than 40 years ago. “I no longer climb ladders,” says Roberge, who now limits himself to small jobs. “With the steady hand of an artist, I can still do trim, windows, and doors without getting it on the glass.” In the 1970s, a decade largely defined by the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, Roberge made antiwar posters that he held at rallies and
listened to the Watergate hearings while painting houses. In 2008, Roberge began working on what became his specialty— transforming discarded oyster, crab, and scallop shells into exquisitely painted crafts. They feature quotes from authors and playwrights, maps of the Chesapeake Bay, mythological creatures, or images of local birds and fish. “I love eating crabs and oysters, and one day I saw the shells piled up in the trash. I thought, ‘Repurpose them,’ and that’s what I did, turning the shells into art,” he says. “I did it to distinguish myself from other artists and give the oyster a second life as a piece of art,” he adds with a grin.
While artists helped to attract tourists to downtown Annapolis, rising property prices have kept or pushed many of them to the city’s outskirts. Roberge lives in what he calls his “bachelor pad.” It’s a rented one-story, white house on a sod farm in St. Margaret’s, a community on the Chesapeake Bay with humble abodes not far from multimillion-dollar estates. Memories pack his pad, along with his artwork, which in addition to seashells includes ink and pencil sketches, paintings, and threedimensional art with such materials as driftwood, scrap metal, and the tops of bushel baskets. He was sorry to see one of his favorite galleries, FinArt Gallery & Studios, move out of West Street a few years ago. When the building sold, the gallery closed (the owner downsized and took up a tenancy at ArtFarm out on Chinquapin Round Road); it had been displaying Roberge’s oyster artwork year-round. He welcomed the opening, in the late 1970s, of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, a centerpiece of the arts community, where he has long displayed his work. And he’s has been appreciative of the monthly First Sunday Arts Festival, now in its 20th year, with upward of 100 art and craft vendors, including himself, per event. Looking ahead, he says local artists should benefit not only from the proliferation of galleries and street festivals but also from fast-emerging
upstart-annapolis.com | 77
Photo courtesy of Eric Roberge
Roberge in his art-filled home in Annapolis.
For more information, visit facebook.com/EricRobergeArt or Instagram.com/erich.roberge. Roberge with a bluefish caught off of Carr's Beach circa 1980. Photo courtesy of Eric Roberge.
78 | Spring 2022
social media, further helping them to showcase their work in Annapolis and elsewhere. “There are certainly many more opportunities,” he says, though making clear that it can still be a struggle because social media increases opportunities as well as competition. On this cold winter day, Roberge has the temperature in his home at under 50 degrees. He’s wearing blue jeans, a heavy coat, and a black beret. Fifty-two years since the French native sold his first piece of art in Annapolis, a gray-bearded, reflective Roberge sounds like many Annapolis artists. “Why do I love art? Same as why writers write and musicians play. It’s the form of expression I’m most suited for. I’m a self-taught artist with God-given talent. I’ve been drawing, painting, and creating art all my life. I’m fortunate.” █
THE MITCHELL GALLERY
EE XH IBI TIO NS
from the Collection of Bruno Decharme ONLINE March 4 - April 22, 2022 2 THE UNEXPECTED TREASURE IN ANNAPOLIS For information about all exhibition-related events including tours, lectures, and book club,
visit sjc.edu/mitchell-gallery or call 410-626-2556
St. John’s College | 60 College Avenue | Annapolis, MD 21401 Elke Tangeten (1968, Waimes, Belgium): Untitled, 2013. Embroidery on chromolithograph adhered to paper. Collection Bruno Decharme and Antoine de Galbert. Photo by A. Nandrin, © La “S” Grand Atelier, Vielsalm B.
upstart-annapolis.com | 79
MARYLAND FEDERATION OF ART
CIRCLE GALLERY @ 18 STATE CIRCLE
MFA @ LOWE HOUSE DELEGATE BUILDING
twelve members - two weeks Mar 1 - 13
MFA ONLINE @ CURVE GALLERY
ART ON PAPER
SPRING MEMBER SHOW
everything created on or of paper Mar 17 - Apr 9
see who's making art in AACO Apr 14 - May 1
April showers bring artwork May 5 - 28
Jan 20 - Apr 11
explore the streets of the world Feb 15 - Mar 31
her vision, her voice March 1 - 31
seeing, thinking, feeling Apr 15 - May 31
JUNE 5 JUNE 12 12 Pa ajen :R
g K intin dra
H S H E S R E FR
FF O F HO
T H A T E RA
E B R A EA B
HE T H A RE AT
ra jend : Ra C
PLEIN AIR PLEIN AIR PAINTING PAINTING
Join us as we ﬂood the streets of this historic
Join uscity as with we ﬂood the Artists streetswill of this historic painters. be scattered
city with painters. Artists will bein scattered across Annapolis working plein air. across Annapolis working in plein air.
!! T T R AAR
PAINTANNAPOLIS.ORG HOSTED BY MFA AT HOSTED BY MFA AT CIRCLE GALLERY CIRCLE GALLERY 18 STATE CIRCLE
18 STATE CIRCLE AND
MFA’s PAINT ANNAPOLIS POP UPPAINT GALLERY MFA’s ANNAPOLIS LOCATION TBA POP UP GALLERY