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ART+CULTURE+LIFE

ANNAPOLIS

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

WINTER 2019


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Annapolis Magazine Wins Design Team of the Year Award

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We’re awed and honored to be recognized. It’s gratifying to see that we are making our mark, especially because we’re such a small operation—Jimi Davies (our creative director and publisher) and art director Cory Deere make up the magazine’s design team. Launched in December 2014, Up.St.ART Annapolis is committed to focusing on the creative energy in and around Annapolis. We present stories about people, places, and events, and spotlight innovators, artists, and community programs that have made or are making a positive impact in the community. The magazine is free of charge and is distributed around Annapolis at local businesses and other publicly accessible spots. Creativity is at the core of the human spirit, and our mission is to evoke curiosity and inspire people. There are so many amazing, local stories to bring to the fore, and we’re pleased to be acknowledged nationally for our creativity in presenting them.

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Up.St.ART Annapolis was given a special recognition award by Folio: as Best Design Team of the Year. Our magazine joins a winner’s circle of prestigious publications that includes Time, Oprah, Harvard Business Review, National Geographic Kids, WebMD, and Baltimore magazines. Folio: is a publication that keeps magazine publishing professionals abreast of media industry trends and best practices. The Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards provide a forum for print media to showcase their finest works and staff. We entered our Fall 2018 issue and were chosen from over 2,500 entrants. Awards were announced in late October in New York City. All winners are profiled in Folio: Magazine and Folio.mag.

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– The Up.St.ART Annapolis Team

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get to

THE POINT

4 1 0 . 5 4 4 . 5 4 4 8 | t h e p o i n tc r a b h o u s e . c o m | 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

CANVAS

14

Volume 6

As She Sees It

|

Issue 4

• H O L LY E S T R A D A

By Jennifer Kulynych

WAVES

22 All in Good Fun

ART+CULTURE+LIFE

•THE JELLO BOYS

By Desiree Smith-Daughety ANNAPOLIS

SNAP

30 Look Closer •JANET JEFFERS

By Dylan Roche

HANG

38 I Like Here

• S TA N A N D J O E ' S S A L O O N

By Geoffrey Young

HOOD

46 Pride of Place

• F U T U R E H I S T O RY N O W

By Brenda Wintrode

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

WINTER 2019

FORM

56 Art That Found the Artist •ANGELA PETRUNCIO

By Zoë Nardo

MOTION

COVER

Ice Vortex, Antarctica (2014) by Janet Little Jeffers Photography. Detail of an iceberg, taken from a Zodiac (large raft) during snowy, choppy conditions in the waters of Antarctica.

66 Ballet Journey •FRANCESCA BIAGINI

By Madeleine Parsell

SPACE

6 | Winter 2019

72 A Haven for Creatives • C I R C L E C R E AT I V E S

By Thomas Ferraro

CALENDAR

82

The I.W.S.A.(Inner West Street Association) & the Annapolis Arts District Calendar


Editor’s Inkwell Mournful and yet grand is the destiny of the artist. – Franz Liszt, Composer

C

reativity is as natural to being human as, well, being human. Making a life inside of the arts—now that can be a daunting task. Like a baby emerging from the womb, blinded by the world’s illumination and yearning for its mother, an artist dives into each creation with similar wonder and hunger. Liszt seemed to understand the plight of artists, how they experience masochistic enchantment from excavating deep wounds, arcane topics, and terrestrial experiences for camouflaged beauty. Up.St.ART Annapolis came into being because a few people were (and still are) enraptured and curious about humans and their propensity to invent. Beginning with the first pages of our first issue, we stepped into the lives of other artists and began unearthing those elements that give fertility to their efforts. As we celebrate our fifth anniversary, we also celebrate two recent acheivements. We've won a 2019 special recognition award from Folio: for Design Team of the Year—you'll read more details about that on page 2. And contributing editor Brenda Wintrode won a MDDC Press Award in the “Feature: Profile” category for “References Available Upon Request,” her article about Bob Waugh. That piece was featured in Up.St. ART’s fall 2018 issue—the same issue that garnered our design award. While the Up.St.ART team doesn’t place inherent value on accolades—awards are a subjective matter, after all—we appreciate that our hard work has been recognized because it shows how much can be accomplished when you put your energy into what you love. We’re so proud of our team. And you'll noticed that we've broadened our pallette with some new writers who are debuing this issue. We hope you’ll stay along for the ride as we head into the next year!

upstart-annapolis.com | 7


MARYLAND FEDERATION OF ART

La vi ni a, Sm al ll W on de rs 20 19

MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

Small Wonders Dec 4 - Dec 23 Reception: Dec 6

Th re e,

sc re en

pr in t, Ly n

Winter Winter Member Member Show Show Jan 5 - Jan Jan 4 - 21 25 Reception: Jan Reception: Jan 14 12 Focal Point Jan 30 - Feb 29 Reception: Feb 9

WWW.MDFEDART.ORG 18 State Circle, Annapolis MD 21401 | 410.268.4566 

Melange I & II Mar 2 - 28 Receptions: Mar 8 & 22


Nancy Hammond Editions Windswept

At 30 Meters

Beneath the Sea

Green Shutters

Nancy Hammond Editions features mixed media original art, prints and custom designed gifts by Nancy Hamond Shade with Wild Sea Grapes

192 West Street, Annapolis MD 21401• Open Daily 410-295-6612 •NancyHammondEditions.com


ART+CULTURE+LIFE

ANNAPOLIS

Publisher & Creative Director Jimi Davies jimihaha@gmail.com Editorial Director Andrea Stuart upstarteditor@gmail.com Copy Editor Leah Weiss Associate Editors Michele Callaghan Zoë Nardo MacDuff Perkins Contributing Editors Desiree Smith-Daughety Thomas Ferarro Jennifer Kulynych Zoë Nardo Madeleine Parsell Dylan Roche Brenda Wintrode Geoffrey Young

Art Director Cory Deere cdeere@gmail.com Photography Director Alison Harbaugh alison@sugarfarmproductions.com Contributing Photographers Alison Harbaugh Janet Jeffers Emily Karcher Schmitt Emily Larson Kaitlyn McQuaid Advertising Jimi Davies jimihaha@gmail.com

facebook.com/UpstartAnnapolis twitter.com/upstartnaptown instagram.com/UpstartAnnapolis

SUBMISSIONS: For article submissions, email proposal to upstarteditor@gmail.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 jimihaha@gmail.com or call 410-212-4242. Entire contents © 2019 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 | Winter 2019


Desiree Smith-Daughety

Thomas Ferarro

Jennifer Kulynych

Dylan Roche

ZoĂŤ Nardo

Brenda Wintrode

Madeleine Parsell

Geoffrey Young

WRITERS PHOTOGRAPHERS

Janet Jeffers

Emily Karcher Schmitt

Alison Harbaugh

Emily Larson

Kaitlyn McQuaid

upstart-annapolis.com | 11


Brush and Comb L

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection January 9 - February 23, 2020

American Indian Art from the Fenimore Art Museum: The Thaw Collection March 6 – April 26, 2020

For information about all exhibition-related events including tours, lectures, and book club,

visit sjc.edu/mitchell-gallery or call 410-626-2556.

Expect the Unexpected

St. John’s College | 60 College Avenue | Annapolis, MD 21401 Phyllis Yes, Paint Can with Brush, 1981, mixed media with paint. Photo courtesy of Joel Breger.

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, organized and toured by International Arts and Artists, Washington, DC

Comb, ca. 1670-1687, Seneca (Haudenosaunee), Boughton Hill Site, Victor, New York. Moose or elk antler, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Collection. Photograph by John Bigelow Taylor, NYC


CANVAS

14 | Winter 2019


As She Sees It by JENNIFER KULYNYCH

H

olly Estrada has had a life. You see it in the eyes of the women she paints—enormous and expressive, eyes that have seen tragedy and disappointment but also joy. These are the eyes of real women with complicated histories. Estrada conjures most of her subjects from her own imagination, but occasionally she paints from life, as she did in the portrait of her teenage daughter that hangs in the dining room of her Crownsville home. Against a backdrop of viridian fields and snow-covered blue mountains, Estrada’s daughter stares directly at you, neither smiling nor unhappy, wearing a black halter dress, arms bare, her auburn curls wrapped in a halo of flowers. The painting could be a romantic art nouveau illustration,

one of the Alphonse Mucha images that Estrada admires, if only her daughter’s expression weren’t so uncompromising. To Estrada, this painting is personal, full of symbols representing the ideas that, at age 51, she now finds meaningful. Halos, for example, are an important element in Estrada’s artistic lexicon. In various forms, halos appear in almost all her paintings. She’s inspired by medieval iconography, with its richly colored images of religious women framed by gilded halos. But to Estrada, the beautiful religious portraits lack something essential. “They’re flat,” she insists, “and missing feminine truth.” The truth she has in mind is the power that comes from a woman’s connection to both the natural and spiritual

Hunter by Holly Estrada. Acrylic on canvas.

upstart-annapolis.com | 15


Goddess of Late Summer. Acrylic on canvas.

16 | Winter 2019

worlds. Her sensibility may be more supernatural than religious, as she aims to convey a certain life force. Estrada makes art that is, in her words, “a little bit pagan.” Estrada’s ability to convey power and femininity through the eyes of her subjects real and imagined was recognized by other artists when, with the encouragement of friends and family (and still using her married name, Barrett), she entered a juried competition for an Arts Council of Anne Arundel County exhibition at BaltimoreWashington International Airport. Two of her paintings, White Maiden and Maid of Yellowstone, were selected for the council’s July 2018 exhibit titled “Beautiful America.” As a participating artist, Estrada also had the opportunity to meet juror, fellow artist, and Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan. Today Estrada sells most of her paintings to women, many of whom love to tell her what they see in her art. “I’ve found that I have a specific audience,” she says. “Women who see something wonderful in the images I paint, who love the power they see reflected there.” Working in acrylic and painting nearly lifesized images, she uses scale and bright color to make her subjects immediate and accessible. She paints women of all ages and ethnicities, with an aura of mystery. Yet Estrada wants her work to maintain an undeniable universality, so when painting


facial features, and eyes especially, she is careful not to veer into portraiture.“I don’t want to get too tight or specific because you can lose something in that,” she explains. Estrada’s path to becoming a working artist was long and meandering. Early on, as a student at Bates Middle School and then at Annapolis High School, art teachers urged her to develop her natural abilities, and she came to treasure the safe space that art created in her life. Yet after graduation, Estrada made what seemed the more practical choice: culinary school, then jobs, first as a line chef and eventually sous chef in the kitchens of several Baltimore restaurants. In Estrada’s memory, the restaurant world of the late 1980s was fast paced, high pressure, and testosterone charged. It became clear that cooking for a living wouldn’t involve making art through food. “Professional cooking is all about getting the product out,” she says. She left cooking, got married, and raised two daughters and one son. Her world became all about meeting every expectation that our culture places on mothers: making meals, driving children to school and sports, continuously providing, preparing, and protecting. Estrada focused almost exclusively on being present in her young children’s lives, especially during a difficult divorce that she says happened quite suddenly, on the heels of her then-husband’s

Madonna and Child. Acrylic on canvas.

upstart-annapolis.com | 17


experience as a September 11th World Trade Center survivor. Making art took a back seat until her children were older. Later, while pursuing a master’s degree in art education, Estrada had the opportunity to study in Mexico, where she fell under the spell of feminist icon and famous early twentiethcentury Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Kahlo’s jewel-toned palette and the symbolism of Mexican folk art are visible everywhere in Estrada’s current work. With her black hair and bright smile, embroidered white peasant blouse, and red lipstick, Estrada herself evokes a sunnier version of Kahlo, and Estrada happily acknowledges the

Estrada now divides her time between creating her own art and teaching art to students at Southern Middle School. artist’s influence. When Estrada learned that Kahlo, who suffered from chronic pain, often painted in bed, Estrada decided to give it a try. She now keeps an easel at her bedside for those moments when she wakes up feeling inspired to paint, which happens often, these days.

Holly Estrada holds two of her paintings, Reflection and Third Eye. Photo by Emily Larson (Fearless Photography mentee).

18 | Winter 2019


Holly Estrada works on a painting in her home studio in Crownsville. Photo by Emily Larson (Fearless Photography mentee).

To learn more about Holly Estrada’s art, visit www.hollyestradaartist.com. Holly Estrada (center) with her late mother (sitting); Maryland’s First Lady, Yumi Hogan (left); and Ricky D. Smith Sr., Executive Director of the Maryland Aviation Administration (right), at the July 2018 Arts Council of Anne Arundel County Exhibition. Photo courtesy of Holly Estrada.

CANVAS

Happily remarried, Estrada now divides her time between creating her own art and teaching art to students at Southern Middle School. She has long been an art educator, but feels her career as an professional artist has just begun to blossom. Excited by this new development, she credits her own, very personal epiphany. “It was scary to put myself out there,” she admits, “but I stopped making art for other people and told what was going on inside myself.” █

upstart-annapolis.com | 19


ANNAP OLIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA JOSร‰- LUIS NOVO, MUSIC DIREC TOR | THE PHILIP RIC HEBOURG C HAIR

February 28 & 29 | Anne Akiko Meyers Beethoven Adam Schoenberg Bartรณk

Leonore Overture No. 3 Violin Concerto, Orchard in Fog Concerto for Orchestra

This concert will also be performed at the Music Center at Strathmore on March 1.

March 20 & 21 | Robert DiLutis Haydn Copland Beethoven

Symphony No. 104, London Clarinet Concerto Symphony No. 8

May 1 & 2 | Awadagin Pratt Garrop Beethoven Boyer

Pandora Undone Piano Concerto No. 1 Ellis Island: The Dream of America

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE WITH A FLEXPASS 3 SUBSCRIPTION! For tickets, call the Box Office: 410.263.0907 | Purchase online at annapolissymphony.org

ASO2019-20UpStartMW3,4,5Ad.indd 1

11/7/19 7:51 AM


upstart-annapolis.com | 21


WAVES

22 | Winter 2019


Good Fun ALL IN

by DESIREE SMITH-DAUGHETY photography by EMILY KARCHER SCHMITT

Raids. Tear gas. Police corridor.

These are just a few highlights culled from the many memorable experiences shared by the Jello Boys over the band’s 38-year history. It’s all part of the fun, which is the secret sauce to the band’s longevity, according to Steve Badger, one of the band’s founding members. As to be expected over such a span of time, they’ve seen their share of ups, downs, additions, breakups, and even death. Launched in 1981 as what Badger refers to as a basement band—they would meet in the basement of a friend’s parents’ house—they began entwining notes, harmonies, and lives. According to Badger, they graduated to playing “real gigs” rather than house parties

by 1983, when Badger was invited to come out and play a show because he knew Grateful Dead songs. “By 1986 or so, everyone thought of us as a Dead cover band, although we would only play one or two Dead songs the whole night,” he says. The band’s tagline is “spontaneous music for combustible people.” Badger describes the early days as “a couple Bohos playing guitar” before they added musicians, and it has been a wild ride from the start, beginning with the first gig, when the drummer went missing. Actually, twice he went missing. The first time, he’d fallen over while playing during the set. The second time, he experienced some sort of life epiphany and took off mid-set, spurred on by a nonmusician

The Jello Boys perform for a packed house at Rams Head On Stage.

upstart-annapolis.com | 23


muse. (Years later, the band members learned he’d left the state to join the family business.) Over time, the group coalesced into a more consistent core made up of a drummer, a bass player, two guitar players, a keyboard player, and a lead singer. The group’s original name was Bub and the Lightweights, but that soon changed. While playing at a house party one night, someone asked what the band’s name was. One partygoer said he thought it was the “mellow boys” because of the slow-moving tune the group was playing, but another man joked, “No, they’re the Jello Boys,” and the name stuck. The Jello Boys count at least two main heydays during their years, with plenty of trials and tribulations in between. The first, 1984–1988, was with founding member Greg Gabor. During the second, 1989– 1995, the band traveled to play gigs mostly in New York and throughout the Mid-Atlantic and once as far as Florida. At one point, around 1992, the band discussed taking sabbaticals from day jobs to tour continuously, but because one band member was recovering from a heart valve procedure and the drummer’s hand was in a cast, the tour didn’t materialize. In 1995, the band considered a break when one member moved out of state, but musician Dean Rosenthal, whom Badger describes as being “a consistent friend to us,” asked the group to open for him at a Christmas Eve show. Badger recalls

“We thought [that since] people still want to hear us play, maybe we should play some more.”

24 | Winter 2019


The band shows off a classic photograph of the Jello Boys from a different era, circa 1980s.

upstart-annapolis.com | 25


everyone dancing, inside and outside— even police officers. “We thought [that since] people still want to hear us play, maybe we should play some more,” he says. So the band continued. At its musical height, it pulled from a 300-song catalog of original and cover songs. They grew a committed following that would travel to attend shows out of state. Some of the shows were big field parties with thousands attending, such as at Sudlersville Nursery in Sudlersville on the Eastern Shore, Wilmers Park in Brandywine, and

others in Howard and Montgomery Counties. The crowds drew the attention of the keepers of law and order. Says Badger of those times, “Rain and police were constants.” One show was raided by officers wielding shields and tear gas to disperse the crowds. They then formed a police corridor by which the band members were ordered to make their exit. When Gabor asked for the search warrant, an officer said, “Throw his crap out the window,” motivating the band to get moving. Badger recognized someone on his way

along the blue gauntlet—an officer who docked his boat in Annapolis near Alley Cat, then Badger’s T-shirt shop. Badger later spoke with him and was advised that if he wanted to do shows that drew such large crowds, then he should get permission. The road, coupled with the unscrupulous nature of some people, took its toll. Certain venue managers counted fewer attendees than what the band calculated, thereby cheating in the cover charge split. To confirm suspicions, the band had someone count heads at a show.

Leslie Agre sings lead vocals while the band plays one of its crowd pleasers during a show at Rams Head On Stage. In the background, part of the audience fills a dance floor, stage right.

26 | Winter 2019


To learn more, visit www.facebook. com/The-Jello-Boys-86518157595.

WAVES

Thus, the Jello Boys found they weren’t having fun anymore. Everyone had day jobs, so there was no need to hassle with anyone to earn money through music. The group decided to switch gears and play benefits to help raise money for causes, and in later years began playing other venues again. At one point, the Jello Boys couldn’t play Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis because the music propels people up onto their feet to dance; that didn’t work well in a sit-down venue where patrons would be blocking the servers’ ability to get around. According to Badger, Rams Head On Stage has begun offering a dance floor at select shows, and the Jello Boys can now be found headlining there on occasion. The band’s current line-up includes Badger on rhythm guitar and vocals, Jimmy Jacobs on keyboards and vocals, Leslie Agre as lead vocalist, Russell Stone on lead guitar, Tom Fridrich on drums, Rurik Reshetiloff on electric bass, and Steve Wanbaugh on trumpet. Four of the band’s members write songs. They maintain a good following and play gigs such as the First Sunday Arts Festival in Annapolis— Badger loves looking out at people dancing in the street, across the street, and in the booths, as well as seeing people sing the band’s original songs. “It’s always a treat, and amazing,” he says. The Jello Boys are still having fun and plan to continue sharing that with audiences for years to come. █

The four original band members crack jokes and reminisce about old times outside 49 West Coffeehouse, Winebar & Gallery in Annapolis. Clockwise from left: Steve Badger (vocals, guitar), Rurik Reshetiloff (bass), Leslie Agre (vocals), Jim Jacobs (keyboard).

upstart-annapolis.com | 27


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30 | Winter 2019


LOOK CLOSER by DYLAN ROCHE photography by JANET JEFFERS

U

pon initial glance, Janet Jeffers’ photographs could be anything. Their shapes and colors conjure different ideas in different imaginations. That, she acknowledges, is their beauty. “[I ask] people to engage with the photograph[s] and ponder the mystery or assign their own meaning,” she says. “People look at them and say, ‘Oh, this looks like this or that. That looks like a grove of trees. Or waves. Or butterfly wings.’ It’s interesting how everybody interprets a picture, and they see things that are not actually related to the subject I photographed. It’s almost like a little Rorschach test.” With a background in graphic design, interior design, and broadcasting, Jeffers gradually segued into professional photography. She started taking

photographs as a hobby when she was in college and a friend gave her a classic Pentax K1000 with a 50mm lens. With camera in hand—and pockets full of film rolls—she went around taking pictures, keeping an open mind and always experimenting with the way she captured the world around her. As a beginner, she gravitated to sunsets, flowers, and landscapes. “Nature was definitely my first inspiration, and it remains a huge part of my practice,” she says. “But the more I practiced, the closer I looked, and the more I noticed plays of light and shadow, form and texture, and color — in less expected subjects and in less predictable ways.” Slowly but surely she gained a following. She also upgraded her equipment, beginning with a Nikon SLR in the mid ’90s,

Contradiction. Abstract of a deceptively watery pattern and texture on a burnt and rusted metal shipping container surface, taken in Terlingua, Texas.

upstart-annapolis.com | 31


“I think the principles of design are so ingrained in me that I can’t help using them in photography.” then to her first digital camera, a Nikon D100, in 2003. “I was already comfortable working with digital images on the computer from my work as a graphic designer, so I was quick to embrace digital,” she explains. Sticking with the Nikon platform since then, she has accumulated a collection of Nikon-compatible lenses that help her achieve her artistic shots. Her favorites are her Nikon 105mm macro lens for getting closeups and her 28300mm zoom lens for walking around and capturing wide scenes or zooming in to explore smaller details. She turned her focus to professional photography fulltime in 2009. Her work has become part of exhibitions throughout the Mid-Atlantic and has graced the covers of books and magazines, appeared in films, and been adopted as part of permanent installations for University of Maryland Medical System and Pharmaceutics International, Inc.

32 | Winter 2019

Jeffers set up studio in the historic Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in downtown Baltimore, where she not only gets work done— when she isn’t photographing internationally—but also engages with visitors about her pictures on display. If people stop by on a Saturday when Jeffers is there, they will find she has what her friend and collaborator Jillian Storms describes as “a rare gift of being both introverted to do the intricate work she does and extroverted to share it so generously." Jeffers calls the relationship between graphic design and photography inescapable, and her pictures reflect that—they are organized, clean, without distractions. Many are formatted vertically. “I think the principles of design are so ingrained in me that I can’t help using them in photography,” says Jeffers. While her photographs appear to be abstract images, they are actually extreme close-ups of various parts of the natural and built environments. Blue Bow, which depicts a detail of a boat from a marina near Annapolis, appears at first glance to be a piece of blue quartz. Dark Grove looks as if it could be a line of trees at twilight, but it’s actually a piece of metal from a scrapyard in New Jersey. When viewed close up, what is commonplace or ordinary becomes surreal and fantastic; what is ugly becomes beautiful. Jeffers loves that her photographs can make people look closer at something such as a rusty dumpster or decaying farm equipment and see the splendor in it.


Tempest. From Jeffers' “Classic and Chrome� series of chrome, emblems, and ornaments. She enjoys finding classic vehicles, not shiny and restored, but the ones that have been forgotten and left for nature to reclaim.

upstart-annapolis.com | 33


Impression. Detail from an old train car in Hoquiam, Washington.

Her work has captured the attention of other artists with whom she interacts, including Craig Hankin, director emeritus of the Center for Visual Arts at Johns Hopkins University. He admires Jeffers’ ability to make her viewers pause and gain a different perspective. “Her eye for color and composition is simply ravishing,” he says. “Her ability to find beauty everywhere, especially in the things that most people would ignore or discard, is truly a gift.”

34 | Winter 2019

Inhabitation. Abstract of lichen growing on an enamel pot in rural Missouri.

Jeffers rarely heads out for a shooting session knowing what she is going to find or in search of anything in particular. Instead, she ventures forth with an open mind and a curious spirit, wondering what she is going to find, that day. “Sometimes, it feels like I’m going nowhere, and sometimes something will click,” she says. “I start getting closer to a subject, and something will pop out. There’s some bit of magic happening, and I’ll find an area that speaks to me.”

She recalls a time when she went up to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania to take botanical shots. As she headed home after taking many satisfying photos, she passed an old farm truck on the roadside that caught her eye in the last light of day. She pulled over to take a closer look. “I found this detail of a swooping yellow form on a blue background, which almost looks like some sort of flying bird or dragon soaring down from the sky,” she says.


“It seems so far removed from the subject of its origin; it’s always stuck with me as a moment of awe.” Storms, an architect with the Maryland Department of Education, adores Jeffers’s eye for goodness and beauty. “She is a positive person, seeing the good in others . . . even the good in what has been abandoned, like her photo series of rusted vehicles—exquisite beauty,” says Storms. “And she is down to earth. She never disparages

or casts aside others. It’s refreshing!” Storms finds herself most drawn to what she describes as Jeffers’s brilliant but balanced color fields and the way she captures textures and patterns. She envisions Jeffers’ work looking amazing at grand scale, covering the complete wall of a building. Jeffers also sees taking her work in that direction. “I want to keep moving beyond a framed print on the wall,” she says, admitting that the interior designer in her is thrilled at

the thought of seeing her work turned into murals and installations. “I find that really appealing, and I’d like to work with more designers and architects,” she says. “I love the idea of my art being integrated into a space in a way that defines it.” █

SNAP

Carmine Bee-Eaters. Taken in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, while Jeffers was on safari in November 2018.

Learn more about Jeffers and her work online: www.janetjeffers.com. The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower is open to the public every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

upstart-annapolis.com | 35


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38 | Winter 2019


I Like Here

A

by GEOFFREY YOUNG photography by ALISON HARBAUGH

strolling couple turns one evening down the red brick of West Street’s vibrant first block, deliberating on where to stop in for a tipple. The lady points vaguely and says, “Let’s just go there.” “Go where?” the gentleman asks. “There.” The gentleman huffs. “There are a lot of ‘theres’ around here.” Stan and Joe’s Saloon stands out among the “theres” on this lively strip of historic Annapolis. Out front, large windows invite the eye of the passerby. A murmur of conviviality beckons, and once inside, the visitor is welcomed by a generous dark wood bar, its edge worn pale by ages of elbows. The walls are decked with musical

nostalgia and Maryland pride, with nods to the saloon’s “Irish twist,” with homages to police and fire and military and local characters, to heroes, and to hipsters. Such diversity shows in its customers—to the right, a passel of rough buddies holler over a game of darts; at the bar, an older couple solemnly monitors the Ravens on the flat screen, while behind them a youthful bunch does likewise but with far less reserve. The odd patron may hunch over a drink, turned contentedly inward, but most are here for the community. “We always said, ‘We want to build a bar that we would want to hang out in,’” says Joe McGovern, who opened the saloon with Stan Fletcher in 2007. Self-described “pro bartenders and wannabe surfers,” both

Joe and Stan by legendary Annapolis cartoonist Jim Hunt.

upstart-annapolis.com | 39


40 | Winter 2019


Stan and Joe's Riverside in Galesville.

men had decades of experience in the hospitality business, and they knew what kind of atmosphere they wanted to create. Company copy describes “great food, great service, and a lively atmosphere that makes everyone feel welcome.” An affable regular at the corner of the bar simply states, “It’s, like, a bar, a real bar.” Alongside the dart board, a framed poem honoring “the man behind the bar” describes the Stan and Joe’s creed more eloquently: “And when you walk into his bar he’ll greet you with a smile, be you a workman dressed in overalls or a banker dressed in style.” The poem might serve as the employee handbook. Bartender Kelvin Lucas, who approaches his tenth anniversary at the saloon, aptly articulates what a dedicated team can offer: “We treat [Stan and Joe’s] like our home. The staff and owners truly love welcoming people into our place to enjoy themselves.”

Serving the spectrum, from workman to banker, means the staff face a multi-faceted challenge every day. “We have to wear many hats,” says Lucas, “and be prepared for literally anything. Carnival barker, mixologist, fundraiser, listener, advisor.” Stan and Joe’s doesn’t simply play up the lore of bartender-ascounselor, it’s in the DNA. Standing on the deck of Stan and Joe’s Riverside, the team’s new venture in Galesville, McGovern describes how his father, who served as a psychologist for police and fire departments in his hometown, often provided therapy for officers and responders struggling with the job’s stresses simply by inviting them to the McGovern home. “Giving them a traditional Irish dinner . . . was sometimes all they needed,” he says. Seeing McGovern make the rounds in the dining room, the legacy is apparent—and cultivating a casual, relaxing experience is the name of the game.

A packed house at Stan and Joe's Saloon in downtown Annapolis during the Halloween weekend. upstart-annapolis.com | 41


But it isn’t the only game. If you’ve come in early and posted up at the bar, one eye on a game of darts, the other on perhaps a boozy romance in progress by the jukebox, you’ll soon hear the thump and groove of the evening’s live band and maybe even join the bump and sway of the crowds packing in to hear the music. Over the years, Stan and Joe’s has established itself as an important venue in the Annapolis music scene. “They say Annapolis is a sailing town, but it’s really a music town,” McGovern says. Fletcher, longtime front man for the band A Classic Case, agrees. “Our music scene easily eclipses those of many larger cities.” He adds, “Joe and I decided early on that live, local music would be a focal point of our [saloon].” The decision has paid off for more than just the business and its patrons. Ruben Dobbs, of the duo Swampcandy, lists Stan and Joe’s among the key elements of his early success. “I got my start there,” he says. Of the longlived open mic night held every Monday, Dobbs says, “It’s where I’d go to test my new material. That open mic has started so many people’s careers.” Listing such notables as Pressing Strings, Higher Hands, and Shawn Owen in addition to Swampcandy, McGovern chuckles. “Stan and I watched these kids grow up in front of our eyes. And now we can’t afford them!” American Standard, an Annapolis band, entertains a packed house at Stan and Joe's Saloon during Halloween weekend.

42 | Winter 2019


With music, dining, and a sense of community firmly in place at Stan and Joe’s, visitors always have options for how to spend an evening. As the regular at the corner says, describing the array of bands, fans, and locals that pass through its doors, “It’s a different bar every day.”

But the warmth and the welcome are constant, and in a town with plenty of “theres,” McGovern seems pleased with what he and Fletcher have accomplished. “At the end of a night, someone will say [to me], ‘Well, where do you want to

go, do you want to go to this bar or that bar, or wherever?’ And I look around and I say, ‘I like here.’” █

HANG

Bartender Kelvin Lucas pouring a pint.

To learn more about Stan and Joe's, visit www.standandjoessaloon.com.

upstart-annapolis.com | 43


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HOOD

f o e d i r P e c a l P by BRENDA WINTRODE

J

ulia Gibb leans against a white wall near the hors d’oeuvre table in the small back room of a Maryland Avenue art gallery. Three guests form a half circle around the artist and cofounder of Future History Now (FHN), an art education nonprofit dedicated to including underserved youth in public art projects. Visitors have already seen her husband, street muralist and FHN cofounder Jeff Huntington, in the front room surrounded by the works of his first solo gallery show in Annapolis since moving here 17 years ago. Tonight, their expansive creative life aligns with the pragmatic; Huntington’s works are for sale. The humble, art-filled life the couple shares does not pay for itself.

Lighthearted buzz and social banter fill the bright space. The couple's friends and colleagues and businesspeople arrive to show support. Politicians and the politically connected familiar with FHN's work enhancing the city's walls have stopped by. A hired guitarist and vocalist fills what little space remains with samba music, and the room is getting smaller. Gibb heads toward the door for a breath of air. The pair just completed their thirteenth Annapolis FHN mural this summer with children from the Stanton Center. The projects expose children to the planning, problem solving, and process of installing street art. The Calvert Street mural honors St. Anne’s Cemetery and the location of the old Star Theater, the city’s only African American

movie theater during segregation. It also marks the area where a group of African Americanowned businesses once flourished. Gibb took inspiration from the seventeenth-century Dutch masters who painted “vanitas” style, a still life genre that celebrates living things while acknowledging the inevitability of death. The Stanton Center children painted colorful native flowers to balance the black-and-white images of the disappeared historical elements. “Star Theater, to me, is about educating the community that there was a thriving culture there. It’s something to be proud of, and, for the older people in the community, maybe a little bit of healing to recognize that this amazing thing was here,” says Gibb.

Dream Big Mural Project, 2018, in collaboration with Black Wall Street Annapolis and Newtowne 20. Photo by Street Art Films.

46 | Winter 2019


upstart-annapolis.com | 47


MLK Mural Project, 2018, in collaboration with Black Wall Street Annapolis and Newtowne 20. Photo by Street Art Films.

"We . . . approach it in a mindful way so that the community can properly have ownership or some stake in it."

48 | Winter 2019

FHN researched the story of the theater site with a city historian and community stakeholders before wetting a brush. Huntington never wants to create what he calls “plop art.” “We want to engage the community and approach it in a mindful way so that the community can properly have ownership or some stake in it, as opposed to a famous street artist flying in— plop—doing a six-figure mural, and leaving,” he says. He adds that those murals are the first to get tagged with graffiti.

FHN board member Mike Paredes believes everyone in the community deserves to have art in their lives. “Art is not something just for the elite, but rather, a necessity,” he says. Huntington recalls painting boarded windows and doors with children from Newtowne 20 and Woodside Gardens in a section of Newtowne 20 that functions as a play yard. “One afternoon, with their participation, with them doing most of the work, it went from looking like Beirut to looking like this outdoor community gallery,” Huntington says. “Because


Annapolis is so preserved, it might feel to people like there’ s not a way to make their own presence known, to actually leave a mark on the city,” says Gibb. “Murals are a nice way of literally letting someone make a mark.” As much as she appreciates everyone coming to Huntington’s show, anyone who knows Gibb understands that she prefers the solitude of the couple’s cottage to a crowd, the company of her cats to admirers, and the serenity of her flower and vegetable gardens to a glamorous night downtown being in the center of what some might consider an enviable scene. Gibb experiences intense periods of anxiety and depression, something she attributes to a delayed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. Says Gibb, “ADHD makes me feel like there’s always this cloud of disaster looming because I forgot to do something.” She and Huntington admit they struggled in their youth, especially with high school academics. Gibb says she could have benefited from activities like FHN to show her what was possible. She walks across the gallery’s hardwood floor, past Huntington. He stands in black-on-black checkered Vans, dark blue jeans, and a geometrically patterned shirt, not unlike the style of his street murals. Attendees ask Huntington how he creates layered optical illusions with painter’s tape and paint. He explains his methods while gesturing with one hand, a glass of something sparkling in the other. A wave of his salt-andpepper hair crashes over his blackrimmed glasses.

Weird & Wonderful Mural Project, 2018, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis. Photo by Jahru.

The gallery opening is an end result, signifying the glamorous arrival of an artist. But peeling back a layer or two exposes the reality undergirding this moment— thousands of hours of practice, a dedicated and clever life partner in Gibb, a dogged commitment to craft, career uncertainty, stacks of painted canvases in storage, bills to pay, exotic travel destinations, professional rejections, and back pain. Gibb and Huntington first met 27 years ago as freshmen at the Corcoran College of Art and Design

in Washington, DC, and have partnered in all things art and life since they rekindled their college relationship in 2001 and married one year later. “I call this the 9/11 marriage,” says Gibb, recalling how they both reassessed their lives and decided to join each other’s shortly after the infamous day. Huntington’s ease in public settings makes him a natural front man. Media outlets cover his national and international artistic feats, attention earned through decades of hard work.

upstart-annapolis.com | 49


Freestyle Butterfly Strokes Mural Project, 2018, Pavia National High School, Iloilo, Philippines. Photo by Louie Luzuriaga.

Ganga Mural Project, 2018, Himalayan English School, Ghansali, Uttarakhand, India. Photo by Julia Gibb.

50 | Winter 2019


Iloilo, 8, Pavia National High School, José Rizal Mural Project, 201 u. Jahr by to Pho nes. ippi Phil

Pearl Bailey Mural Project, 2018, in collaboration with George “Lassie” Belt and Stanton Center youth, Whitmore Park, Annapolis. Photo by Street Art Films.

Laka, Goddess of Hula Mural Project, 2018, Kohala Artist Cooperative, Kapa’au, Hawai’i. Photo by Julia Gibb.

upstart-annapolis.com | 51


FHN cofounders, Julia Gibb and Jeff Huntington. Photo by Matthew McDonald.

“At f irst, we had to f ind the kids for the projects. Now, we have to make sure we have enough projects . . .”

52 | Winter 2019

The year before he went to Corcoran, Huntington committed to making one painting a day for a year. “I thought everyone at the art school would be accomplished painters already,” he explains. He ended the year with 300 pieces and confident control of his hand-eye coordination. With a Master of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago, he has exhibited works in over 90 galleries and museums worldwide. “I’m always changing,” says Gibb. “He’s painted for 40 years, and he’s a constant that way. ” She seeks out a variety of interests, as she has since she was a child, and says the novelty of a new direction aids her mental health. “I was very naturally curious, and always looking through books about rocks and birds and insects and educating myself,” she says. Now, she gardens, crochets, sews, writes for Up.St.ART Annapolis, makes nature photographs of delicate blooms and creatures, and teaches hula. A resourceful Gibb works adroitly behind the scenes of FHN projects, investigating city codes and mural sites and coordinating work groups for FHN’s next project. Dee Ward’s Black Excel, a personal and professional skills development group in Annapolis, has connected dozens of children with FHN projects. “At first, we had to find the kids for the projects. Now, we have to make sure we have enough projects,” says Ward, whose group has painted murals on the Elizamae Robinson Community Center and Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, and painted the mural of rapper Tre’ Da Kid, who died from gunshot wounds in Annapolis this past spring. Ward says he witnessed

the Newtowne 20 and Robinwood community members look past long-held tensions to honor the famous Annapolitan. FHN was conceived during the legal battle over Huntington’s mural above the Tsunami restaurant. The City of Annapolis sued then-candidate for mayor Gavin Buckley’s company, JKB LLC, to retroactively apply for a certificate of approval because it believed that the mural changed more about the facade than would just a coat of paint. The court ruled in favor of the city, and Buckley applied for a certificate. Disheartened by the attitudes about public art and painted murals in Annapolis’ Historic District, Huntington and Gibb decided to focus their efforts on the next generation. “Twenty, thirty, forty years from now, they’re going to be in charge of the city,” says Huntington. “If we provide these positive experiences of collaboration and community pride and creativity, then when the idea of public art comes up, they’ re not going to have these draconian rules about it. They’re gonna say, ‘Hell yeah, we’re gonna put a mural up there. You should’ve seen what we did when I was growing up.’”


Pool Party Mural Project, 2018, in collaboration with Stephanie Baker, Elevate Church, and Eastport Community, Annapolis. Photo by Julia Gibb.

Gibb exhales, finally outside on a sidewalk less crowded than the gallery rooms. Paredes asks her about her vegetable garden. The okra is in, Gibb tells him, and she’s making batches of gumbo. He and his wife, Nancy Law, have known the couple for 17 years. Paredes says he has always been intrigued by the way they live their creative lives and

recognizes how their mindfulness informs FHN. The pair eat what they grow, and Gibb is already planning next year’s garden. The walls of the Gibb-Huntington home display works of art made by friends. A creative friend constructed their shed. Their cups and plates are made by artisans. Huntington’s murals are painted on

Star Theater Mural Project, 2019, in collaboration with James Houlcroft and Stanton Center youth, Annapolis. Photo by Comacell Brown Jr.

the exterior walls of their home. “I like how art-fully they live,” says Parades. “It’s not that they’re choosing it— they have to [live this way] because that’s who they are.” █

HOOD

Eastport Shell Mural Project, 2018, in collaboration with Charles Lawrance and Box of Rain, Annapolis. Photo by Julia Gibb.

To learn more about Future History Now, visit www.futurehistorynow.org.

upstart-annapolis.com | 53


FORM

56 | Winter 2019


ART ARTIST THAT FOUND THE

by ZOË NARDO photography by KAITLYN MCQUAID

A

ngela Petruncio is an avowed packrat who, over the years, has developed an awardwinning method to her madness. Her basement barely has enough room for all of her stockpiled stuff. There are silver process black-and-white photographs from her days as a photographic lab technician and photographer, toys from her childhood, desiccated bouquets, old books, tools, scraps of wood and lace, and containers of every shape and size. Overhanging light fixtures reveal workbenches

and tables with works in progress, glass-fronted boxes, costume jewelry, wooden wheels and gears, and old encyclopedias. Neatly labeled drawers contain dried insect corpses, pins, cancelled stamps, miniature animal figures, and a plethora of other things. This space, her “little supermarket of found objects,” as she calls it, has been part of her work area for some 12 years. Petruncio’s other studio is on the main floor of the Arnold home she shares with her husband, Emil, and their two large dogs, Dylan and Coco.

Angela Petruncio, found-object artist, works out of her home studio in Arnold.

upstart-annapolis.com | 57


Over the next 30 years, as she crossed state lines and bodies of water, her collection of castoffs continued growing.

There, the bulk of her work takes place, nowadays. It’s a cozy place where her iconic box assemblages take shape. The art of assemblage, or found object, dates back to Pablo Picasso's Still Chair with Caning (1912) but made headlines in 1917, when the Society of Independent Artists accepted

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them (Homage to Joseph Cornell). With plaster sheep and banty chicken egg, 8" x 6" x 2.5".

58 | Winter 2019

Marcel DuChamp’s submission of a urinal called Fountain. Nearly 60 years after that influential event, Petruncio came across an article in Time magazine showcasing the work of Joseph Cornell, a self-taught surrealist and master of assemblage. He became well known for creating small shadow boxes, “memory boxes,” that invited onlookers to explore his wondrous imagination. “I was immediately hooked,” says Petruncio, recalling Cornell’s threedimensional collages containing photographs, eggs, shells, fabric, and other mementos combined together in poetic juxtaposition. One of his most highly regarded pieces, L’Egypte De Mlle Cleo De Merode, was featured, revealing an apothecary filled with glass bottles containing all sorts of found objects, from snippets of text on paper to beads and marbles. Petruncio reread the article several times and immediately set out to emulate the feeling she got while being immersed in that magical creation. She collected old vitamin bottles, and bits and pieces of things to place inside them. The collection expanded, marking the beginning of her journey as a found object (objet trouvé in French) assemblage artist. She began her studies at the University of New Mexico, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fine art. As a granddaughter and daughter of artists, she felt it her goal to carry on the family tradition. While her studio art curriculum touched only briefly on found art, the idea that the discarded can have a new life through artistic expression wasn’t a hard concept for Petruncio to grasp. Photography became her


main emphasis, and she was drawn to abandoned buildings, rocks, graveyards and the stark landscapes of the Southwestern desert. Petruncio dropped out of college with only two semesters left. After working in the photography world for a few years, she decided to see what the military had to offer and enlisted in the US Air Force. Her love of photography stuck with her through her time there, and she eventually returned to school and earned her degree. Over the next 30 years, as she crossed state lines and bodies of water, her collection of castoffs continued growing, but with little assembling. After graduating, she obtained a commission in the US Air Force and was assigned to Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. There, she met Emil Petruncio, who was a stationed oceanographer for the US Navy. They eventually settled in the Annapolis area, where for nine years she cared for her ailing mother. Two months after her mother’s passing, in January 2007, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art presented Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination, a retrospective exhibit. With great excitement, Petruncio packed a notebook and headed into Washington, DC, to take in the show. She spent hours roaming through the cases and stands, and got goose bumps after seeing the Cleo De Merode apothecary box in real life and knowing she had come full circle. “[The exhibit] happened at a perfect time for me,” she said. “My time was my own. I was completely free to concentrate on this experience.”

The Inner Workings of the Universe. Mixed media assemblage, 6" x 6" x 2".

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Petruncio tries to evoke an imagined narrative of the objects chosen for a piece while also creating a sense of mystery that the viewer may interpret in countless ways. Her goal is to create small worlds that tell a story, but the process of developing the narrative is never the same. “I often tell people my process is like making sausage,” she says. “It’s not something you’d want to see.” Sometimes she will find a scrap of painted wood or some paper packing material and be inspired to use it as a starting point. Other times, she will pick up an object that someone has discarded and immediately know that it has a story to tell but will let it sit for months or years, allowing the story to germinate and grow. She works on several different pieces at a time to allow paint to dry and glue to set. If one piece isn’t coming together, she’ll move on to another. The waiting game with each piece reminds her of her days in the darkroom. “My favorite part . . . was seeing that image come up in the developer like magic,” she says. “So now, I’m layering acrylic mediums, paint, and materials on, and then I’ll leave it alone overnight. I can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what happened. I just love it.” A few of her favorite pieces were years in the making. Her tribute to Van Gogh, Vincent’s Muse, was started in 2007 but laid aside for a year before being completed. It features a deliberately chipped miniature pitcher—a nod to one of his self-descriptors—a knothole with an iridescent glow within, representing his penetrating eyes,

Plaything. Mixed media assemblage, 3.5" x 6.5" x 2".

A collection of found objects and future pieces of art in Angela Petruncio's home.

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Petruncio has managed to turn her fascination with the discarded and unwanted into more than she ever dreamed.

and the feel of the Dutch interiors often seen in classic Dutch paintings. Aegis, named after the shields used by mythical characters Zeus and Athena, was once a vinecovered crab basket lid found in the schoolyard behind her house. It stayed in her basement for over two years until she formed it into what she says is the epitome of found art—incorporating natural and man-made elements to

indicate a natural shield, leaving in place some of the vines and adding a paper wasp nest. The piece has been exhibited so many times that she’s often had to replace the wasp nest. Petruncio invites viewers to touch and interact with her works. She’ll secure ribbons to the front and wooden wheels to the sides, inviting a tug or a push. She hopes generations young and old will fall in love with the genre, just as she did.

Bishop’s Obsession. Mixed media assemblage, 7.75" x 7.75" x 3.75".

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ABOVE RIGHT: Angela Petruncio works out of her home studio.

Petruncio has managed to turn her fascination with the discarded and unwanted into more than she ever dreamed. Within her first year as an artist, she became a member of the Maryland Federation of Art (MFA), and a piece of hers was accepted into the first juried show she entered. She has since been accepted into exhibits at the Mitchell Gallery at St John’s College and regional and national juried shows. She has participated in group shows with other artists and has been invited to show work at the Maryland House of Delegates offices, The Galleries at Quiet Waters

Park, and more. She has won five honorable mentions and three juror’s choice awards for her pieces in MFA exhibitions. While most of her works are shadow boxes, she is currently challenging herself to create larger pieces on flat surfaces such as canvas and wood panels. She is looking forward to a solo show at the New Deal Café in Greenbelt in August 2020. █ To learn more about Angela Petruncio’s work, visit www.angelapetruncio.com.

FORM

ABOVE LEFT: Aegis. Mixed media assemblage, 19.5" x 19" x 1". This piece hangs on a wall in Petruncio's home.

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MOTION

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Ballet JOURNEY

by MADELEINE PARSELL

F

rancesca Biagini started dancing for better posture and rose to dancing for the New York City Ballet, where she performed from 1948 to 1951 under the direction of prominent choreographer George Balanchine. Now 90 years old and still teaching ballet, Biagini reflects on her life’s journey with dance, from childhood to present. Up.St.ART Annapolis (UA): What was your earliest experience with ballet? Francesca Biagini (FB): I started to dance for physical reasons. I had a very bad swayed back, and they sent me to a gym . . . then a doctor later suggested ballet, and I was hooked. I really loved it, and that was all I ever really wanted to do.

I was eight when we moved to New Jersey, and that was when I first started my classes. I had a teacher; she was a real old Russian woman. She wouldn’t want to hear that, but she came from that world. She was a wonderful teacher. She wanted to take me in professionally, to live with her and train me, but my parents didn’t want any part of that. UA: How did you come to dance with such a prestigious company? FB: I was very lucky, being in the right place at the right time. When I was in high school, I studied in Westport, Connecticut with a teacher, [Mr. Volodine], who was a friend of Balanchine. Mr. Volodine thought it would be interesting to have Mr. Balanchine see me, so he came out and watched a variation

Portrait of Francesca Biagini in her early 20s, taken for the ballet Sleeping Beauty while she was with the New York City Ballet. Photo by Watler E. Owen.

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Backstage at New York City Center of Music and Drama. New York City Ballet was named in 1948, when it became resident at the center. Biagini is seen in the back row (middle). Photo courtesy of Francesca Biagini.

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that Mr. Volodine did. He didn’t like it, so he decided on Sunday morning that [he] was going to choreograph something new for me. They called me in the morning, and I had to do it in the matinee that afternoon. [Balanchine] and his wife at that time, Maria Tallchief, were sitting in the front row, so I was very nervous. I was very very young, probably 18. UA: How would you describe working with Balanchine? FB: It was very inspiring. He was a taskmaster. If he wasn’t happy with a certain combination of steps, you had to do them over and over and over, until he was satisfied. He was very demanding, but not in an unpleasant way. He would look at you and say, “Do that again, Francesca.” He always had his chin up, he was very erect, because he was a dancer. UA: Which performances stand out as particularly meaningful to you? FB: I liked all of them for different reasons. There are so many, 16 ballets. Occasionally, Balanchine would conduct unannounced for some of the performances, and you’d hear this roar go up from the audience when he would step out in front of the orchestra. And he would always conduct at a much faster pace, so it was always, “Oh my God, Mr. B is conducting!” And it meant speed speed speed! The one that [affected] me the most, I guess, was I was one of the two sisters in the ballet called The Prodigal Son. One performance, Balanchine did the father . . . there were just four of us there on stage. So that was a big thrill for me, to take a curtain call with Mr. B in front of the big curtain of the theater. Francesca Biagini teaches a class at the South County Senior Center in Edgewater. Photo by Alison Harbaugh.

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UA: What led you to leave the company? FB: [I] left to get married . . . that was the main reason. I wanted to teach, so I opened a ballet school in Stamford [Connecticut]. Mr. B. did not like people to get married or have kids, because then your life changes a lot of what you did. He always wanted to keep his ponies in the corral. UA: What brought you to Annapolis? FB: My husband’s job. I had been here with a friend and I loved it so much. I told him about it. And when he changed jobs and [was] working fairly close to this area, I said, “You’ve got to go to Annapolis and see it.” So that’s how I came to Annapolis. I absolutely love it.

Portrait of Biagini in her early 20s, taken for the ballet LaValse while she was with the New York City Ballet. Courtesy Image. 1950 New York City Ballet fall season program. Biagini is seen on stage (front row, third from right) with Balanchine in The Prodigal Son production.

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MOTION

UA: How did it feel, transitioning from dancing professionally to teaching children? FB: I liked the transition. I was happy at the time that I made that decision. Though later I had pangs of nostalgia about it. UA: You continue to work full-time at 90. What keeps you motivated? FB: I just love children. I love teaching. I think everyone thinks, “Oh my God, you’re still working?” I have the energy. I’m going to work until I can’t do my job anymore. UA: What advice can you share to those pursuing a career in the arts? FB: Work hard, be diligent about taking your classes, and make sure you’re going to a school that’s a good school. Take art classes and music classes. Just opening your eyes and seeing what’s around you. Look at the beautiful flower and contemplate it. Listen to the music. █

Biagini working with dance students at the South County Senior Center in Edgewater. Photos by Alison Harbaugh. upstart-annapolis.com | 71


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SPACE

A HAVEN for CREATIVES by THOMAS FERRARO

R

emember that old twostory cinderblock building in Annapolis, the one off Westgate Circle on Spa Road? Both landmark and eyesore, it was where Arundel Rug Cleaners operated for more a half century, before closing in 2005. Look now. Where rugs were once washed, hung, mended, dried, and sold, photographs are shot, prints are made, illustrations are sketched, paintings are painted, and art exhibitions are hosted. Such creative activities are the result of a number of reincarnations and renovations that have turned the building, now with a stucco-like facade and painted mostly sandy beige with bright pastels, into a haven for artists. With about a dozen tenants, including designers, photographers, furniture makers, painters, illustrators, an event planner and a Zen healer, it holds

more artists and other creatives than any other privately owned building in the Annapolis Arts District. The artist studios are in the main section of the building at 47 Spa Road, called Circle Creatives. The other portion of the L-shaped structure, with its own entrance and address at 49 Spa Road, called Prism, is a venue for events such as corporate meetings, weddings, and bar mitzvahs. Tenants of Circle Creatives like to use the space for photo shoots and art shows. Chuck Walsh is the building’s owner and landlord. He also heads ArtWalk, a nonprofit that publicly displays art in Annapolis. “I’m not an artist,” says Walsh. “I’m a retired telecommunications lawyer who loves art. I like being around creative people.”

Float was a Circle Creatives collaboration led by Jennifer Casey, Lindsay Bolin Lowery, Chuck Walsh, and Joyce Wearstler to kick off Annapolis Arts Week. Photo by Jennifer Casey Photography.

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Local artist Kim Hovell works on a painting in her studio that also serves as a retail location for her line. Her brick-and-mortar location within the Circle Creatives building sells items for the home such as candles, original artwork, and prints. Photo by Alison Harbaugh.

In 2008, the Maryland Arts Council designated what is now the Annapolis Art District—47 acres largely along West Street, from Calvert to Russell Streets. The designation, made at the request of businesses and artists and at the urging of elected officials, provides a variety of tax breaks designed to support artists and boost the neighborhood. Erik Evans, the Art District’s executive director, says, “Circle Creatives is a great addition

76 | Winter 2019

to the Arts District. It mixes different artists into one building. They can walk down the hall and exchange ideas.” The Arts District is packed with restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, stores, and residences. Circle Creatives provides artists with what they may need most, space—more than 7,000 square feet of it, all on its first floor. Walsh is trying to come up with an economically feasible plan to open an additional

5,000 square feet on the second floor. If the city approves, he hopes to double capacity to two dozen tenants. Several artists have already inquired, including a potter and two more photographers. Photographer Marcus Chacona moved into Circle Creatives in 2019, from a studio a half block from the Arts District. Before he got married and had children, his clients included touring rock bands. He now focuses on


weddings, portraits, and corporate advertising. “I wanted to be in the Arts District. It has definite benefits, like the tax breaks and being among other creatives,” says Chacona, seated amid his old photos, including ones of the rock band ZZ Top and rapper LL Cool J. In December 2018, Maureen Porto, a portrait photographer working out of her Annapolis home, went to Prism to rent space amid its 3,000 square feet for a corporate shoot. While there, she saw Circle Creatives. “I immediately fell in love with the place,” she says. That day, she rented a studio there, moved in the next month, and quickly bonded with fellow artists. “Together, we’re growing the Annapolis creative community,” she says. “In June, we had an art exhibition at Prism and later had a huge party in the parking lot.”

Sally Comport is a widely respected artist whose paintings and illustrations appear in a variety of books and museums as well on the walls of major buildings. In October 2018, she moved in. “This is prime real estate for artists,” says Comport. “There are so many possibilities for sharing gallery space, shooting space, and all sort of creative space. You can feel the buzz.” The vast majority of artists in the Arts District are located at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Most of the other artists in the Arts District may well be at Circle Creatives, but no one knows for sure. Artists routinely struggle financially, uncertain if they will make it, and often they quickly come and go. To help artists, Walsh offers six-month leases. A longtime tenant calls the rent “artist friendly.”

“ This is prime real estate for artists,” says Comport. “ There are so many possibilities for sharing gallery space, shooting space, and all sort of creative space. You can feel the buzz.”

Sally Wern Comport and Lindsay Bolin Lowery discuss an upcoming project in their Art at Large, Inc. studio located within the Circle Creatives building. Photo by Alison Harbaugh.

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In 2006, a year after Arundel Rug Cleaners moved out, Walsh and a business partner bought the building. They initially rented it as a sales center for condominiums and then as a marketing office for the nearby Westin Hotel. In 2008, they began renting to a variety of professionals, including artists, financial planners, a yoga instructor, a local church, and a theater group, and named the building The Circle Office Center. In 2018, Walsh bought out his partner and continued renting to a host of professionals. That same year, one of his tenants, Jen Casey, a portrait and landscape photographer, made a suggestion. “Chuck, there are tons of artists looking for space in the Arts District, and there isn’t much of it,” Walsh recalls her saying. “Why not focus on artists and the creative community?” He responded, “Okay, I’ll do it. Let’s see if it works.” At the recommendation of his tenants, who in September were for the first time all creatives, Walsh renamed the space Circle Creatives.

ABOVE RIGHT: Float featured roughly 50 local artists and organizations. Photo by Jennifer Casey Photography. Photographer Marcus Chocona, “The Annapolis Photographer,” works in his studio location at the Circle Creatives building. Photo by Alison Harbaugh.

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community without compromising individuality.” Kim Hovell, known for maritimethemed paintings, recently moved into Casey’s old space. “It’s good to be in the Arts District,” Hovel says as she paints images of oysters on the wall outside of her studio. “It’s the place to be.” █

A thirteenth birthday party planned and coordinated by Little Party Co. and held at Prism. Photo by Danie Photography.

SPACE

This past summer, Casey moved out of Circle Creatives and into a Delaware beach house that she bought to host photography workshops. “I’m sure I’ll be back at some point,” she says. “The thing that is really special about Circle Creatives is that each business retains their individuality as artists and entrepreneurs. The life of an entrepreneur can be lonely,” she continues, “so it’s important to have a space that allows for synergy and

For more information, visit www.circlecreatives.com.

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We’re the

Annapolis

Arts District

The Annapolis Arts District is comprised of unique venues, bars, and restaurants with local artists experienced in an array of media. Experience Annapolis from the flip side of the looking glass – from Westgate Circle to Church Circle, with a few spots in between! El Distrito de las Artes en Annapolis está compuesto por lugares únicos, bares y restaurantes con artistas locales y experimentados en una gran variedad de medios. Vive Annapolis del otro lado del espejo, entre

WE’RE YOUR DIVERSE ARTS & E N T E R TA I N M E N T D E S T I N AT I O N The Inner West Street Association is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization The Annapolis Arts & Entertainment District is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization

Westgate Circle y Church Circle, con algunos lugares intermedios!


check us out!

2019 DECEMBER

Chocolate Festival: December 8 Midnight Madness: December 5, 12 & 19 Parade of Lights: December 14 New Year Eve Fireworks: December 31

2020

J A N U A R Y- M A R C H

Martin Luther King Jr. Parade: January 20 St Patrick’s Day Parade: March 7 Maryland Day Weekend: March 20-22 Annapolis Film Festival: March 26-29

ANNAPOLISARTSDISTRICT.ORG Check out many additional events on the Annapolis Arts District Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pg/AnnapolisArtsDistrict/events


Uncover Understand Unify

Birch Map by Janet Jeffers.

Profile for UpStArt

UpStART Annapolis Winter 2019  

ART + CULTURE + LIFE

UpStART Annapolis Winter 2019  

ART + CULTURE + LIFE

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