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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE I.W.S.A. & THE ANNAPOLIS ARTS DISTRICT

SUMMER 2017

ART+CULTURE+LIFE

ANNAPOLIS


Black Walnut Cove. Photo by Karen Davies.


CONTENTS 4 | Summer 2017

Volume 4

|

Issue 2

SUMMER 2017

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE I.W.S.A. & THE ANNAPOLIS ARTS DISTRICT

Publisher & Creative Director Jimi Davies jimihaha@gmail.com Editorial Director Andrea Stuart upstarteditor@gmail.com Copy Editor Leah Weiss Associate Editors Katherine Matuszak MacDuff Perkins

ART+CULTURE+LIFE

ANNAPOLIS

COVER

Creation 2.0 by Tyler Mitchell. Digital Photograph

(fuzzy cube, faucet, bouncy ball and xerox)

CANVAS

8

Photographing the Impossible By Christine Fillat

WAVES

16

We Gotta Have the Funk By Zoë Nardo

CONCEPT

22

Culture Clash

30

Verses with Grace

36

Reading to Learn

By Julia Gibb

INK By Andrea Stuart

HOOD By Theresa C. Sanchez

Contributing Editors Christine Fillat Julia Gibb Zoë Nardo Theresa C. Sanchez Art Director Cory Deere cdeere@gmail.com Contributing Photographers Alison Harbaugh Karen Davies Joanna Tillman Allison Zaucha Advertising Jimi Davies jimihaha@gmail.com Melissa Lauren melissalaurenupstartannapolis@gmail.com Kim O’Brien up.st.artkim@gmail.com


Publisher’s Note Editor’s Inkwell No great artist ever sees things as

they really are. If he did, he would

cease to be an artist. – Oscar Wilde

We count on each contributor of

Up.St.ART Annapolis to provide a

different perspective for each story,

and we believe that magic lies in the previously unperceived.

Now we’d like you, our reader,

to open our eyes! Help us see

- Jimi Davies

Annapolis from a different point of view. Sketch, draw, paint,

Contributors

sculpt, or otherwise visually create

something that represents Annapolis from another perspective—your perspective. Your imagination

is the only limit. A selection of

submissions will be chosen for print. It’s time for you to turn our world upside down!

Julia Gibb

Submit photos of your work with

Zoë Nardo

Christine Fillat

Theresa C. Sanchez

WRITERS PHOTOGRAPHERS

a short description of it. Include

your name, address, and telephone

number, and email your submission to upstarteditor@gmail.com by

July 30, 2017.

Allison Zaucha

Joanna Tillman

Karen Davies

Alison Harbaugh

upstart-annapolis.com | 5


get to

THE POINT

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CANVAS

8 | Summer 2017


PHOTOGRAPHING

the Impossible by CHRISTINE FILLAT photography by TYLER MITCHELL

T

Lofty Ambitions | Digital Photograph (customized QR code inkjet mounted on mat board with moss, plywood, and HO scale minis)

yler Mitchell’s artwork makes you scratch your head and say, “Whaa?” His images are suffused with natural beauty, pure bright color, and dark humor. There are landscapes with puffy clouds, fields of wheat, and forests in every season. Surrealistic imagery with tiny universes are rendered in fields of pure white. His images appear to be created with Adobe® Photoshop® software, but your eyes are being tricked. What you’re seeing are photographs of Mitchell’s sculptural constructs, lit in studio fashion.

A tiny man walks a tightrope between twin towers of circuit boards, reminiscent of Philippe Petit’s magical and masterful aerial walk so long ago connecting Manhattan’s World Trade Center towers. The photograph references that remarkable moment in time and offers a commentary of our reliance on technology and the thin line we walk every day with our computers, entrusting them with our information as we boldly go forth. “My whole life, I always knew I was going to be an artist,” says Mitchell, who grew up in Davidsonville. “I went

God Beard | Digital Photograph | (manic panic and cotton)

upstart-annapolis.com | 9


The Past | Digital Photograph | (inkjet prints mounted on foamcore structure with twine and pine)

to Savannah College of Art and Design. Spent five years [there], then came home for a second, about a year, I guess, then I went out to San Diego.” There, he surfed, worked on construction jobs, and made art. Returning to Maryland, Mitchell decided to devote his life to art. Studying graphic design at Anne Arundel Community College, he became digitally savvy and proficient with a camera. “That was about two years ago this summer. I took my first photography class there, my one and only photography class. I was shooting photos before that,

10 | Summer 2017

but it really got the wheels turning with me. Ever since then, I’ve been on a kind of creative rampage.” Tyler Mitchell Gallery is where you can see what he’s been up to. He has exhibited work in galleries in New York City, at the Maryland Federation of Art, and at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Orange County, California. One can wonder about the process that takes place to create the photographs, homages to the surrealism of René Magritte, Joseph Cornell, and Salvador Dalí. Mitchell’s latest body of work,

“I strive to make impossiblelooking, 'Wow, -how'd-hedo-that?!' photographs.”

“The Day The Earth Opened” portrays mounted landscapes on foam core. He then cut into the foam core and built geometric entryways, and folded the images back into the recessed geometric forms. The result is sci-fi in nature. “I like the fact that I can say it is a digital photograph, because I actually built it physically.” When he’s not creating pieces, Mitchell tends bar in Crofton and works freelance as a graphic designer, creating logos. The culinary students at Annapolis High School will have a Tyler


The Birth of Color in Various Forms 2 Digital Photograph | (slivers of construction paper, slinky, and spray paint)

The Birth of Color in Various Forms 7 Digital Photograph | (inkjet prints and motherboards mounted with foamcore structure)

The Davidsonville Horror | Digital Photograph | (inkjet prints, steak, and blood on tree)

Construction of the Ideal | Digital Photograph (inkjet print, painted physical pixels, and HO scale minis)

Beef | Digital Photograph | (cow model, mini bell, twine, moss, ground beef, and glass) upstart-annapolis.com | 11


The Buck Stops Here | Digital Photograph | (inkjet on mat board, plywood, dirt, HO scale trees, visqueen, various currencies, and blood)

12 | Summer 2017


all the bases, from humorous to dark and eerie. “I’ve got this series of a kind of horror photography because I’m a big fan of horror movies.” I met up with Mitchell the day after he’d been out in the snowy woods, working on what he calls his anatomy and tree shots. “I had this idea of doing anatomical cross-sections—you

know, sections of the tree that have been cut off,” he says. “But imagine if that’s a tissue, a living, breathing thing. Kind of marrying our anatomy with a tree in kind of a shocking way.” Mitchell decorates freshly severed tree limbs with paint, fake blood, and raw meat. After photographing the grisly scene, he leaves the piece behind, hoping that someone may stumble upon the artwork and wonder what it was, going for shock value. Just what delights Mitchell? It isn’t just a singular vision. The viewer has to become actively involved.

This informs Mitchell’s art. “I strive to make impossiblelooking, ‘Wow, -how’d-he-dothat?!’ photographs. They are a combination of sculpture, painting, woodworking, origami . . . you name it. Obviously, the finished product is the photograph. It’s like a big mathematical problemsolving puzzle. Sometimes they fall apart in front of my eyes, and sometimes they succeed [more easily] than I thought.” I either go back to the drawing board or decide that what I’m trying to do is, in fact, impossible.” █ For more information, visit www.tylermitchellgalleries.com.

CANVAS

Mitchell-designed AHS logo on their chef ’s jackets. Mitchell’s studio is a storehouse of all the parts that go into his photographs. He constantly looks around at objects: everyday objects, traditional objects, and things that people grew up with including, classic tools and toys. The mood of his art covers

Earth Toilet | Digital Photograph | (bent metallic inkjet on foamcore structure with doll house toilet) Studio Selfie | (Digital Photograph)

upstart-annapolis.com | 13


Bay Ridge Shopping Center,

107 Hillsmere Dr, Annapolis, MD 21403 | 410-571-5073

annapolissmokehouse.com


WAVES

“Scrape” Randall, Wesley Beann, Terre Holland, Steve Garrison.

16 | Summer 2017


WE GOTTA HAVE THE FUNK by ZOË NARDO

W

photography by ALLISON ZAUCHA

esley Beann, founder of the Clones of Funk, says there’s a ParliamentFunkadelic or P-Funk tribute band in every state. All over the country, feathers are flying off headdresses as neonspandex- and tie-dye-clad bands keep George Clinton’s 1960’s creation of psychedelic fusion of R & B, rock, and Motown alive. The Clones of Funk are part of that cadre, but hold a slightly special status, because a year after the band formed, Dr. Funkenstein himself knocked on their door.

Just before the Clones’ second performance, Clinton and his iconic rainbow-colored dreads bounced into the room; word about the Clones had traveled swiftly down the P-Funk grapevine. Some of the Clones had seen Clinton doo-wopping with his band, but never in a million years thought that they would get the chance to play with him. That night, in July 1990, was the first but not the last time it would happen. The Clones have always had a serendipitous aura, and it contributed to how they were

upstart-annapolis.com | 17


Scrape, Wes, Steve (sax), Virgil Boysaw (obscured – on trombone), Lloyd Griffith (obscured - on trumpet) Jerry Queen (obscured – on sax).

André “Andy” Lassalle of New York on guitar.

Cornell “Crash” Houston, Andy, Scrape (obscured), Wes on mic, Steve, Lloyd, Virgil (obscured), Jerry. The happy dancer in front of Steve is Sandra “Tippi” Johnson.

18 | Summer 2017

James Jamison waits for busted amp to be fixed so The Clones of Funk can continue playing a memorial concert for Hott Rod Butler. Jamison has been playing with the Clones for ten years.


and vocals, Mike Acosta on keyboard and sax, and a succession of guitar players—Clarence “Boulah” Roper, Andre Lassalle, and John Willis, followed by Gerard “HottRodd” Butler who played with the Clones for 15 years. In 1996, Holland ran into his friend Curtis Spencer in New York City’s Central Park at P-Funk’s “Second Landing of the Mothership” concert. Spencer was good friends with Clinton and introduced him to Holland after the show. Clinton in turn introduced Holland and Spencer to his friend, Joe Keyes, a vocalist who was soon

“We’re going to be keeping our funk alive until we stop enjoying it.” to move to Annapolis. When Keyes settled in Annapolis, he found his way to Roy Wood’s pet store to buy crickets for his bearded dragon. Keyes talked up the Clones to Wood and his wife, Debbie. They went to a show and became instant groupies. When the band needed a place to rehearse one evening, Keyes asked to use the pet store’s warehouse. Soon, Wood became the band’s booking agent, and his wife, the promotions manager. The band has kept busy with gigs, performing regularly at the Eastport Clipper and other venues between Baltimore and Washington, DC. They opened for Fishbone at the 9:30 Club, with 17-year-old Derrin Brown filling in as drummer (his grandfather is Roland Brown of the Van Dykes); the vibe that night was cosmic.

Clinton kept in touch with the band, and on election night in 2000, between gigs in Baltimore and DC, he rented a recording studio to jam with the Clones. Between running out to check the vote count and being in the studio with the legend himself, the band experienced a night to remember. Seventeen years later, Debbie Woods, known as the “funklady,” still manages the Clones. The now elevenpiece group performs up to three to four times a month and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. “We’re going to be keeping our funk alive until we stop enjoying it,” says Scrape. The band roster has changed over the years, but the quality of music and passion for P-Funk has always stayed the same. Some former members left to play in other bands, and others left the Earth. Beann and Terre currently share the stage with Cornell “Crash” Houston and Cory “Kilowatt” Watts on guitars, Keith Rowell on keyboard, Robert Woods on drums, and a horn section of Jerry Queene, Steve Garrison, Virgil Boysaw, and Lloyd Griffin, who are all spreading the contagious ParliamentFunkadelic energy that Clinton birthed in the 1970s. They still play for Clinton’s birthday every year in July and plan to in 2017. The “funklady” will be there and will undoubtedly start the dance party, and, who knows, maybe Clinton will show up and smash his face in the cake. It wouldn’t be the first time. █ For more information, visit www.clonesoffunk.com.

WAVES

formed, in 1989, at St. John’s College. Beann saw some friends play backup for a student concert, and during intermission they played a jawdropping funkadelic set that left him in a daze. He thought about creating a George Clinton tribute band, and thus the Clones of Funk was born. In 1989, the Clones included Lovell Jay Beann and Gordon “Da Da” Henson on drums, Gerard “Jerry” Makell on bass, Beann, Jeffrey Gray, and Marvin Miller on vocals, and Danny Little and Michael McHenry on guitar. They came together out of passion and respect for Clinton and his music; money and fame were never the motive. For a decade, the Clones got together but once a year, at the Annapolis American Legion, on or near Clinton’s birthday, July 22. By the second reunion, a horn section was added, with Mike Powell, John Bryan, and Reggie Moore. In 1990, Terre Holland joined on bass, and Lamont “Scrape” Randall joined the vocal section. Scrape’s a cappella background and Temptations-like harmonizing experience blends with Beann’s Jimi Hendrix rock roots to perfectly mimic the Parliament/ Funkadelic charm. When the Clones were invited to play at a Thanksgiving dinner at the American Legion, hosted by We Care and Friends, director (and musician) Larry Griffin was so impressed that he convinced the group to be more than an annual performance band. As some members went, others came, including Mark Brown on drums, Gene McBride on keyboard

upstart-annapolis.com | 19


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CONCEPT

Culture Clash by JULIA GIBB

22 | Summer 2017

photography by ALISON HARBAUGH


S

elin Balci brews espresso in her kitchen in the home she shares with her husband, Yilmaz, in Annapolis’ Anchorage community while her handsome, mixed-breed dog, Coffee, keeps an eye on her. Coffee has a caféau-lait-colored coat with dark brown spots and speckles, markings reminiscent of the patterns in Balci’s artwork— organic and a bit unpredictable. Having left their home city of Istanbul, Turkey in 2003, the Balcis first lived in Morgantown, West Virginia and then College Park, Maryland. Homesick for their seaside city, the couple was attracted to Annapolis, with the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries. “I kind of feel at home around here,” says Balci. “If I can just see the water every day, I’m going to be happy.” Drawn to science and nature, Balci earned her first degree in forest engineering at the University of Istanbul. After moving to the United States, she found work in microbiology

laboratories but felt confined by the windowless, alcohol-scented environment. While living in Morgantown, Balci began studying photography at West Virginia University, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in intermedia studies. When the couple moved to College Park,

Balci worked at the Smithsonian Institution’s photography center at the American History Museum. Not artistically satisfied with her portraiture assignments, she enrolled at the University of Maryland, earning her Master of Fine Arts in 2012.

BioArtist Selin Balci in her in-home studio in Annapolis, Maryland.

upstart-annapolis.com | 23


Working with microbial organisms, a medium with which her professors had no experience, Balci experimented until she was able to meld her scientific experience with her artistic vision. Using the growth medium potato dextrose agar (PDA), she grew samples of mold in petri dishes, and those became her lush, earthy palette. She applied small samples of mold to PDA-coated panels and YUPO® synthetic paper and nurtured them into works of art, selecting different molds for their translucency or opacity, color, and growth habit. She learned to gently coax the PDA and the microorganisms into doing her bidding, creating mysteriously luminous works that seem both photographic and painterly. As she continued innovating with her unusual medium, Balci quickly became active in the art world, winning highly respected awards, grants, and fellowships and finding herself in the heart of some of Washington DC’s and New York City’s most progressive galleries. Balci’s work is categorized as BioArt, a loosely defined genre whose forms vary greatly from artist to artist. For Balci, BioArt both contains and creates a living thing. The microorganisms’ growth process serves as a microcosmic metaphor for humans interacting with each other, other creatures, and the environment. Like mold, we multiply and expand, fight over and consume limited resources, construct borders around Details of different mold cultures.

24 | Summer 2017


ourselves, and eventually perish. In Balci’s pieces, the organisms consume their environment to its—and their own—death. When they die, they desiccate, and the artist seals them with acrylic spray to arrest any future growth. “Mold has no brain,” explains Balci, “it is just growing and trying to survive. We think we are conscious . . . but look what we are doing to our world—we do the same thing. Isn’t it funny?” One of her mold pieces can take months to

“She’s intrigued by the idea of the invisible made visible, and has chosen to present it on a large scale.”

complete, as she lets the life cycle run its course. Though she works with organisms that go undetected by the naked eye, some of Balci’s creations are expansive. She’s intrigued by the idea of the invisible made visible, and has chosen to present it on a large scale. While most of her mold samples come from her own back yard, her concepts are global. Her installation Bordered World, exhibited in the cavernous space at

upstart-annapolis.com | 25


A new series which focuses on war themes on YUPO ® paper—a combination of gouache paintings of tanks, guns, and soldiers with mold, whose explosions of color mimic the smoke and fire.

Smack Mellon Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, took Balci and five assistants three days to install. In the piece, 2,500 petri dishes of varying sizes feature bold red and black mold growing side by side. Each container is mounted on the wall to depict a map of the world. The piece spans three walls, with the petri dishes contoured into two corners of the room. She also creates a big visual impact through her time-lapse video works, which show, in accelerated time, the organisms’ life cycles. A recent work presents mold and bacteria growing on a small paper cutout map of the world, softly illuminated from behind; the finished video was recently shown as a large projection in an exhibit at the Buyukdere35 Gallery in Istanbul. 26 | Summer 2017

Details of pieces.

BioArt creation of a map of the world using mold samples.


cultures, and hopes the series will inspire people to act to support a clean environment. “When you hear the word mold, there’s a reaction—you want to clean it up, somehow, use the Lysol®, maybe,” she jokes. But to Balci, mold is a beautiful and necessary part of the life cycle. “When we die, when we are under the soil, mold will just be growing on top of us. We need it, too.” █

Balci at work in her studio.

CONCEPT

Balci doesn’t shy away from weighty topics, but she is energetically upbeat, punctuating her conversation with exuberant laughter—especially when talking about the challenges of working in her home studio rather than a laboratory. She must protect her carefully curated palette of organisms from airborne contamination. Holding up a can of Lysol®, she laughs, “You know what? You can trust this thing!” She sprays her studio down every other week, but foreign microbes will occasionally settle and feed on her pieces. She points to dark spots on one of her recent war-themed works on YUPO® paper—a combination of gouache paintings of tanks, guns, and soldiers with mold, whose explosions of color mimic the smoke and fire. “Sometimes [the contamination] works—these little tiny dots, they look like coffee. But they are all contamination. This is my favorite—see the pinkish stuff ? That’s contamination.” She has clearly embraced the unpredictability of working with living organisms. Between working in her home studio, giving artist talks, and teaching photography at Washington College, Anne Arundel Community College, and Prince George’s Community College, Balci doesn’t have time for much else besides the organic garden she and her husband keep. Their garden represents an effort toward sustainable living. She is concerned about the current state of environmental policy. “My next work will be about pollution,” says Balci. She points

to a white camera that looks like a toy, with its rainbow stripe. “This is a Polaroid camera,” she explains. “They’re so cute!” But there’s a serious message in her choice of equipment: “[The instant photograph] is so temporary,” she says, “and life goes so fast.” She plans to use her photographs of local waterways with YUPO® paper, growth medium, and mold

For more information, visit www.selinbalci.com.

upstart-annapolis.com | 27


upstart-annapolis.com | 29


INK

Grace Cavalieri in her backyard at her home in Annapolis, Maryland.

30 | Summer 2017


VERSES with GRAC E

By Jonathan Stone Photos by Joe Karr

by ANDREA STUART

photography by JOANNA TILLMAN

Sometimes I hear my voice. And it’s been here silent all these years. – Tori Amos

W

hen they first walk into the classroom, their auras are muted wildflowers, colors rusted by a tired sunset that has been cast into the shadows by an early winter. The edges of their confidence wear lettuce hems that have dried in a thirsty desert, and their eyes are tattered from self-accusing thoughts that were planted into malnourished soil. Then, just a few minutes into class, their roots begin to reach the water table. Their stems and petals

rehydrate with anamnesis until their hands become instruments for translating experiences previously hidden: stories come alive. Grace Cavalieri’s writing workshops rehydrate the soul, nourish the mind, and inspire courage. She begins each class with inspiration from her weekly Buddhist sessions, asking her students to sit silently in meditation. Many feel freedom and safety in the moment. The guided mediation turns into a visualization exercise in which students climb up the proverbial

floors of their minds, stopping at levels that call to them. They write down what they see. It is sometimes a profound experience, as chapters of their personal stories begin seeping back into consciousness. “The conundrum is finding the voice,” says Cavalieri. “We all have a critic inside. Some are so large that we are convinced we shouldn’t say anything. I soften the ground.” She compares new writers to dehydrated flowers that come to life once they are watered: once their soils are moist, their writing can grow.

upstart-annapolis.com | 31


DC Poet Laureate Award from Dolores Kendrick, and the Paterson Lifetime Achievement Award. Yet as any artist knows, circumstance— even crisis—is often at the heart of art. A former Navy wife and mother to four children, Cavalieri spent 10 years raising her family behind the quiet walls of her home. In 1960s suburban America, she was living in a man’s world, longing to be a part of the politics of the time. Eventually the pull she felt as a If you consider Cavalieri’s playwright propelled her into the repertoire, it is challenging to phenom we know today. She’s the imagine that she could have ever first to tell you that it didn’t happen been anything other than a fountain overnight. “As time goes by, we of free verse. She has written 20 figure it out,” she says. books of poems, had 26 plays Cavalieri describes her earliest produced on stage—including works as “genuinely impassioned,” Quilting the Sun, commissioned by admitting she had been silent for the Smithsonian—produced and too long. It was a time in history hosted a weekly radio show, “The when the suppression experienced Poet and the Poem,” taught countless by minorities, such as homosexuals, writing and poetry workshops across African Americans, and women, the country, and is the recipient of was being outed and challenged. numerous awards and accolades, Works were being published after including the 2013 George Garrett being compressed for so long Award, the Pen-Fiction Award, the that they had become diamonds. Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, the Cavalieri was part of that cultural revolution. “It was genuine, back then. I did [those early works] because I had to speak,” she says. The theme of authenticity flows like honey through the conversation as she describes the process of finding her voice. “Now, my judgment is better about what should be done on stage,” she says with a snicker. “The first 10 plays I wrote, I wouldn’t want to see Some of Cavalieri's published works. again.”

“We pushed the boundaries to be as bold as we could be, because it was a cultural revolution.”

32 | Summer 2017

When asked what she thinks she was working through when she created them, a laugh spills out of her. “You hit it on the head! In the ’60s, we were told women could not say anything in the living room that you would say in the bedroom, yet men could say whatever they wanted. I literally had to learn to type f-u-c-k,” she says, spelling out the profane word with a careful whisper in her voice. “We pushed the boundaries to be as bold as we could be, because it was a cultural revolution.” In her memoir, Life Upon the Wicked Stage, Cavalieri discusses being confined as a Navy wife; those feelings came out in her first plays. “I was too bold. Too loud. I saw one of them recently, and I was shocked,” she exclaims. “You can swear in the living room but on the stage, it’s 10 times louder. It just wasn’t my nature, isn’t my nature.” Notwithstanding, writing those first few plays, she admits, made good theater, and it touched people on a level that had not been done previously. She found herself working alongside the best playwrights, including Joe Orton and Sam Shepherd. While living in this man’s world, earning her own version of respect, her petals began to blossom. Cavalieri’s works, even those early pieces, are provocative and evocative. In 1972, she received a call from Catholic College Notre Dame’s Mother Superior. The school wanted to perform Best of Friends and decided to allow the character’s profanities during the performance. “It was a play criticizing Catholicism, and they didn’t even balk at that. They did it beautifully. It went all over the country. They did me a great service,” says Cavalieri, “I was


that she understood the world only when she saw hieroglyphics (words) on the page; that’s when she recognized the code, so writing became a natural outlet for her. “Writers are not generally visual people,” she explains. “Language helps them understand what is going on.” She’s come to understand that writing is often an intuitive art, yet intuition is hard to describe. The best Cavalieri can do is trust that the reader will understand. “If we believed everyone was a smart as we are, it would be easier to write. It’s an equity of spirit.” For Cavalieri, relationships are at the core of the human experience. If silence is a blank canvas on which to paint her ideas, then relationships are the palate from which her writings are created, and she flings chromatic syllable upon prickly verse until the brush runs dry. Cavalieri’s gentle wisdom becomes evident when she stresses that the quality of writing is not of importance when ideas are gestating. There is a difference between the technicalities of writing versus the process itself, which is what Cavalieri teaches. The process is what allows writers to remain vital, nourished versions of themselves. Writers must first unearth their inspirations. To do that, they must rid the fear to write by understanding that all ideas, all people, have value. During her last meeting with her Sangha, The Mindfulness Meditation Group of Annapolis, a member pulled out a crisp one-hundred-dollar bill and passed it around the group. He proceeded to nearly destroy the bill while explaining that if you tear off one third of the bill, the Federal Reserve will still accept it. Its value never changes. And so it is with each person. No matter what experiences we have in life; no matter how torn our flesh, sullied our spirits, or swollen our doubts, we always maintain our

Cavalieri in her home office in Annapolis.

value. “Self-worth is something we’re all entitled to. Ego plays no part,” she says. “Self-questioning is part of the process.” As Cavalieri ascends into her next project, a book called, Other Voices, Other Lives: A GC Reader, a compendium of excerpts of plays, poems, and interviews on radio (slated for an October 2017 release by Alan Squire Publishers), she is reminded of how delicate yet crude the writing process can be. “You are the sum of your ancestors and everything that ever happened in all that time,” she says. The fact is, we may never know which ones whispered themselves into our veins. And so it is, the writer is born. Of mother. Of father. Of brother. Of sister. Of peace. Of war. Of love. Of hate. Of the hem of time. And silence carries them. █

INK

having a crisis of faith at the time.” As for her creative inclination, Cavalieri is a poet. She likens herself to a Roman candle, given to ferocious inspired bursts. And like many artists, she has transmuted her words into various formats. Her poems occasionally take on play form, in which characters slip from stanzas onto “cast pages,” demanding that their stories be deconstructed and reinterpreted with all the textures that made up their hidden lives. She first wrote Anna Nicole: Poems (2008, Casa Menendez) before turning it into the stage dramatization Anna Nicole. “I just had to put [Anna Nicole Smith] on stage. I felt she had been the most victimized.” Cavalieri explains the process of digging beneath the surface of Smith’s public life to vindicate her. Ultimately, Cavalieri’s imagining came from a deep desire to understand the aspects and consequences of hunger; hunger for fame and the way circumstance lends itself to a certain level of vulnerability that enables the type of manipulation that can paint a life in the way the media had painted Smith’s. Another pivotal character that made her way into Cavalieri’s works is Mary Wollstonecraft. “[She] was burned in effigy,” she says of the once-controversial English writer, women’s rights advocate, and mother of author Mary Shelley. Having discovered Wollstonecraft in graduate school, Cavalieri later wrote What I Would Do for Love: Poems in the Voice of Mary Wollstonecraft and the play Hyena in Petticoats, the story of Mary Wollstonecraft. “She called to me,” she says, somberly. She crafts subjects by channeling them until they embed themselves on the page, animated from their own ashes and refusing to sit in silence. The pen moves when Spirit tells it to, when there is space in the vessel to receive the message. For Cavalieri, she learned

For more information, visit. www.gracecavalieri.com.

upstart-annapolis.com | 33


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HOOD John Burroughs and Keion-Tae have fun reading books during their bimonthly STAIR session at Robinwood Community Center. Burroughs has been a tutor with the organization for eight years.

36 | Summer 2017


READING TO

LEARN by THERESA C. SANCHEZ

H

ave you ever been so excited that you actually jumped for joy? Linda Barbour, Executive Director of Start Adventures in Reading Initiative (STAIR), did just that upon learning that Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto was making second-grade reading comprehension a priority. “I am just delighted. Up until two years ago, I didn’t feel there was enough emphasis on early education, especially reading,” says Barbour, a self-described kid at heart who still owns most of her childhood books. “I want STAIR to be put out of business. Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen, because there will always be children who come from

photography by ALLISON ZAUCHA

homes where the parents, for one reason or another, don’t have the time or ability to read to their kids.” STAIR, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth in the greater Annapolis area since it launched at the Stanton Center in January 2006, with 12 tutors and nine students. Today, the program boasts 150 tutors who instruct 80 pupils at nine sites in eight of the county’s public schools. Each institution involved with the program saw marked gains in reading proficiency at or above grade levels for the 2015–2016 school year. The program serves a diverse student population: 46% African American, 41% Hispanic, 12% Caucasian, and 1% Native American.

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Barbour tracks students’ progress using Fountas and Pinnell scores provided by their teachers. Data gleaned from the nationally recognized guided reading system helps tutors and faculty better address children’s individualized study needs. Such a tailored approach sets everyone up for success in a consistent and relaxed environment. Barbour stresses the importance of experiential quality over competition, and is optimistically cautious when discussing grades. “I truly believe that we help, but we don’t make that score escalate all by ourselves. We spend two hours a week with the children, but teachers are working day after day with the kids.” “For a lot of these children, having an adult who will give them their complete attention for two hours a week is a rare and very positive experience,” says Germantown Elementary Site Coordinator Leslie Gradet. “There is more than just reading taking place; life lessons are also learned.” The retired lawyer underwent the mandatory two-hour training before becoming a STAIR volunteer four years ago. She praises the transformative powers of tutelage: “You could work with a student who may not seem to be making a whole lot of progress, but then, one day something will take, and they’ll start liking to read.

38 | Summer 2017

That’s powerful.” For decades, policy and advisory groups have backed such testimonials with research. The National Education Association affirms that practice, repetition, and persistence are crucial to beginning readers. A threeyear longitudinal study of reading development, headed by psychiatrist, neurophysiologist, and developmental cognitive neuroscientist Fumiko Hoeft at the University of California, San Francisco, determined that there is an indisputable link between the amount of white matter—the brain’s language recognition highway—in the temporoparietal region and the ability to read written material. Apparently, this narrows down the critical production time for white matter to the time between kindergarten and third grade. Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital affirmed, through functional magnetic response imaging scans, that children who were read to had heightened activity in that aforementioned left side of the brain. These discoveries have helped adults better understand how to approach language and reading with students, but there are still challenges. Germantown Elementary School Principal Karen K. Soneira acknowledges that one of the biggest challenges with younger

students is “applying lettersound knowledge to decode unknown words.” This obstacle can seem more insurmountable for kids whose parents speak little to no English or are themselves illiterate. STAIR helps such students from falling by the wayside. “As students progress from learning to read, they then begin to read to learn. As students read to learn, the world becomes an open canvas into many topics of interest,” says Soneira.”The many caring adults that have been trained to support literacy, mentoring one-to-one on a regular basis to encourage young readers, is what makes STAIR an amazing program.” Enthusiastic smiles and active engagement are evident upon entering any of the program’s locales. Each weekly two hour-long tutoring session commences with a snack and one-on-one interactive reading. In the best-case scenario, the remaining 45 to 50 minutes are sectioned off, as appropriate, into four study areas: tackling sight words, word study, vocabulary, and fluency development. If there’s time remaining, students play word-related games as a group. Reading outside the classroom is stressed, and the children are given books to take home. “I’m 70 years old, and I’m still learning new words. You


“[Less advantaged] children and their parents have to look to the local community centers, if there is one available, to give them an enriching learning experience over the course of vacation season,” says Barbour. “The children are our hope for the future. They are our gold. Everybody wins at STAIR.” █ For more information, visit www.stairannapolis.org

HOOD

never stop learning new words and reading books,” says STAIR Assistant Director of Communications and Development, Ted Mussenden. “It’s not about the number of books read, it’s about how many you really understand and comprehend the meaning of. That, to me, is where the rubber hits the road.” STAIR’s curriculum consists of 12 units. Students, on average, complete three to four units each mentoring term (October to May). Notwithstanding, the graduation requirements are yearlong attendance and commitment to the tasks. What happens when the schools close in June? Educators and parents have dubbed that three-month period—where learning leaks and lacks—“summer brain drain.” To combat it, last year STAIR established a weeklong Summer Reader’s Theater, and is preparing to do it again this July with a play a day, grouping children by grade and task. Much of the planning is still underway, but it is likely to be well attended.

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GET CREATIVE GET CREATIVE

with the Visual Arts department at with theArundel Visual Arts department at Anne Community College Anne Arundel Community College  Courses range from the traditional fine arts to digital design and time-based media.  Courses range from the traditional fine arts todigital design emphasizes and time-based media. and Curriculum the technical conceptual aspects of visual ideation.  Curriculum emphasizes the technical and conceptual visual ideation.  Newestaspects course of additions include animation and lithography.  Newest course additions include animation and lithography.

AACC teaches courses in:

AACC • Artteaches History. courses in: • Ceramics. • Art History. • Graphic Design. • Ceramics. • Painting and Drawing. • Graphic Design. • Photography. • Painting and Drawing. • Printmaking. • Photography. • Sculpture. • Printmaking. • Video Game Design. • Sculpture. • Video and Media Production. • Video Game Design. • Web Design. • Video and Media Production. • Web Design.

If you love art and want to see what AACC can offer you, visit www.aacc.edu/visualarts. If you love art and want to see what AACC can offer you, visit www.aacc.edu/visualarts. Photo courtesy of Paul Graves, Photography Student at AACC.

Photo courtesy of Paul Graves, Photography Student at AACC.


Up.St.Art Annapolis Summer 2017 Side A  

+ Art + Cultre + Life

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