Inside the Hall: Maryland Hall News Blog | Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts

Inside the Hall: Maryland Hall News Blog

While our building is currently closed to the public, we are still working on finding ways our audience can access all of our exhibits that are on display. Please follow our social media outlets and sign up for our e-newsletter for videos, images, and other fun content about our exhibits, artists, and more!

For Unnatural Causes: Art of a Critical Nature, we have created this blog along with a complimentary video tour of the exhibit. While the images in the blog include every artist shwcased in the exhibit, this is not representative of every single work of art in the show. To see every piece of art in Unnatural Causes please take time to watch the video!

*Many of the works in this exhibition are for sale! We will be providing a 10% discount on artwork sales while our building is closed to promote supporting local artists and art organizations. If you have questions about which works are for sale or anything at all please email ekohlenstein@mdhallarts.org.

 

Baltimore, Md.--Maryland artist collective 4 Alarm Artists presents the multi-venue exhibition Unnatural Causes: Art of a Critical Nature, which features works and performances by more than 30 Maryland artists and artist collectives all addressing issues related to detrimental changes to climate and biodiversity.

The show, which features different exhibitions at Maryland Hall in Annapolis from Mar. 5-May 2, at Creative Alliance in Baltimore from Mar. 7-Apr. 11, and at Carroll Mansion in Baltimore from Apr. 22-May 24, was inspired by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the creation of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


   

 BLAKE CONROY 

Definition of Monoculture

Pollen drifts with the wind. Where it lands and fertilizes a stamen is dictated by chance. Farmers have been at the mercy of this process throughout history. They adapted it by collecting seeds from their best plants and hoarding them for use in the next planting season. This is how humans have domesticated plants. This process is under threat from new technologies. The courts in the United States have sided with large agricultural companies against the farmer. They have decided, against precedence, that there are some genes that are patentable. When the wind blows pollen from a neighbor’s field, a farmer can’t keep his seed and plant it the next year. It probably contains some genes that are someone else’s property. He risks everything because Big Ag has a track record of aggressive litigation.

My artwork “Definition of Monoculture” is about this struggle, big gov’t and multi national corps with their oversized influence vs what is good for everyone on the planet. It is also about the idea that every life is unique. Each plant in a cornfield is a unique individual. Each has a unique genetic makeup. Each has only one chance at life. Can we trust control of this to just a few companies rather than our heritage? Scientists believe people living in central Mexico started developing corn at least 7000 years ago. They developed it from a plant called teosinte. Should Monsanto have a strangle hold on corn seed because it modified the genes of this ancient crop?

Swallowtail

The Swallowtail Butterfly is a delicate creature. It is also still relatively common. So common in fact that it is mostly overlooked, except by small children. I decided to take a closer look at a single swallowtail butterfly simply because they are so often overlooked. This is a portrait of a single individual. It shows all the uniqueness of this butterfly including the wing damage it has suffered during its short but unique life. We all only get one chance at life and we should respect this is one another and not just our own species.


 

  

Lynne Parks, (left) Bird/glass collision site: 20 S Charles St.56 birds, archival print, (middle) 1 day: American Woodcocks, archival print, (right) White-throated Sparrow song sonogram:O Sweet Canada Canada Canada, drawing

LYNNE PARKS

Lynne Parks is the Outreach Coordinator for the bird conservation and wildlife rescue organization, Lights Out Baltimore (LOB), and volunteers for Patterson Park Audubon.

In addition to educational outreach and assisting with the installation of bird-friendly window treatments, she’s one of several LOB volunteers who monitor downtown Baltimore for bird/window collisions during migration.

On Nov. 3, 2019, Lynne and her walking partner, Aaron Heinsman, found fifty-one dead birds and five rescues in two and a half hours in one small area of the city. It was the worst monitoring day they’d experienced. Native sparrows are the majority of birds found in the fall, and Lynne’s data specific work reflects this. It includes photography, drawing, and a grid of the labels LOB uses to record data.

 

Lynne Parks, 56 birds, 1 day: White-throated Sparrow, Bird Tags

Three photographs show some of the birds we found that day, and one photograph shows a deadly building where some of them died. Glass shows either a clear pathway to a bird, or reflects vegetation, which appears real. As many as a billion birds die annually from window collisions in the United States. It’s one of the leading causes of bird mortality.

Lynne is a recipient of the 2013 Mary Sawyers Baker Award and MSAC Individual Artist Award in Visual Arts: Photography, 2018.


   

Janet Little Jefers, (left) Painted Wash, (middle) detail of painted wash, (right) Scissure, Archival Pigment Prints

JANET LITTLE JEFFERS

Janet Little Jeffers is an Annapolis/Baltimore-based artist specializing in digital photography. With a background in graphic design and interior design, and a lifelong fascination with travel and exploration, she explores intimate and abstract details in the natural and manmade worlds, particularly decaying manmade subjects as nature slowly reclaims them. She seeks beauty and the unexpected in the overlooked, the mundane, or the eyesore. As she explores these visual worlds, the lines often blur between the micro and the macro, the natural and the manmade. It is a reminder of how interwoven we humans are with our environment, and the vulnerability of our natural surroundings as well as our manufactured creations: ultimately, the forces of nature have the power to transform—or unmake—every object forged by humankind.

 

Interruption: Grand Staircase Escalante

I have returned numerous times to the region of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the southern Utah desert, attracted by the remote lesser-known charms of the area, from slot canyons and petrified wood to colorful badlands. In 2017, a presidential proclamation slashed the national monument in half, slicing it into portions and removing protections for the much of the area. The once-continuous stretch of protected habitat—allowing many animals to roam freely—is now broken up by the monument’s division. In addition, the monument is home to an a bee hotspot — 660 species of bees live in the area due to its diversity of flowers. The region also contains significant ruins and areas of importance to Native American tribes, as well as sites of paleontological discovery, including dinosaur fossils over 75 million years old, and the discovery of a new tyrannosaur species in 2013. Ultimately, the excluded areas of the monument could see dramatic changes through development and mining activities, as nearly 700,000 acres of newly unprotected land could now be open to mining of coal and minerals, as well as oil and gas drilling.

My recent visual explorations of the area have focused on themes of interruption and vulnerability. For more information on how you can help protect and preserve the interests of the monument, visit gsenm.org or grandcanyontrust.org.


 

 

Hugh Pocock, One thing Constantly Changing, photograph and Installation

HUGH POCOCK

Hugh Pocock is a full time faculty member at the Maryland Institute College of Art and is the founding coordinator of the Concentration in Sustainability and Social Practice. He has been the MICA PALS Fellow since 2010.

Pocock’s work inhabits the space where the “natural” and the” technological” are inseparable. Organic materials, such as water, air, salt, wood and earth and the processes of labor and industry are the platforms on which Pocock’s work are built. The history and metaphor of the human relationship to natural resources, time and energy are among the issues Pocock investigates in his sculptures, installations, performances and videos.

 

One thing, Constantly Changing

One thing, Constantly changing is an installation addressing the rapid decline of polar ice that is currently underway. The work explores our connectivity to the planet using the gallery as a demonstration site for how the dynamics of heat and water are responding and adapting to our human activity.

"The Arctic ice cap is melting. Our behavior is warming the planet and causing a massive redistribution of water. In this bowl is melted Arctic ice. It was collected near Barrow, Alaska. The heat in the room is causing the water to evaporate. The heat is generated by burning natural gas and coal. Now the molecules of this Arctic ice are in this room, you are breathing them. Some of the water will rise as vapor, and join the formation of clouds. The clouds will blow across the country, forming and changing. Along the way, some of the water will fall as rain." - Pocock


 

 

Peter Stern, (left) Alluvial II and (right) EscarpmentAerial Photography 

PETER STERN

Mine Lands to Marshes: Aerial Photography by Peter Stern

In his series Mine Lands to Marshes, Peter Stern presents his aerial images of coal mining in Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River, and the Chesapeake Watershed, bringing these areas together to tell the story of their interconnectedness as a regional ecology, presented through Stern’s aesthetic eye for composition and beauty.

In these images viewers see the Mid-Atlantic from a unique and intimate perspective. Flying low, slow, and alone in his small airplane over the coal mines of Pennsylvania and the coastal landscapes of the lower Eastern Shore, he conveys an intimacy with his subjects that echoes his deep personal connection to the region.

 

Peter Stern, (left) 4974 and (right) Carbon, Aerial Photography

Flying between 500 and 800 feet above his subjects, and shooting primarily in “bird’s-eye” perspective, Stern discovered that he could create compositions with minimal reference to recognizable objects. These images occupy a place between the abstract and the representational, which he refers to as “Third Spaces.” As his preferred subject matter, these are not the sweeping vistas of natural splendor or the designed and manicured landscapes often seen in aerial photography. Rather he interprets the “in-between” spaces: the unusual and overlooked landscapes that provide deep visual intrigue.


 

  

BRIDGET PARLATO 

Bridget Parlato is a designer/artist/activist in Baltimore and sole proprietor of a freelance graphic design business, Full Circuit Studio and Baltimore Trash Talk, an anti-trash initiative. Her cause-related work is designed to raise awareness of our impact on the earth, our water systems, the animal world and each other.

The Cigarette Planet / Think About Your Butt Campaign

Baltimore activist Stephanie Compton approached BTT/FCS to create art from trash for the Baltimore Figment Festival. Together, Ms. Compton and Ms. Parlato collected cigarette butts from Baltimore streets and Parlato created the Cigarette Planet - emphasizing that butts are the most littered item on the planet.

On Earth Day 2020, Baltimore Trash Talk will team with Waterfront Partnership and Baltimore City to launch the Think About Your Butt Litter Campaign along areas of the harbor waterfront in downtown Baltimore. The graphics will accompany Terra Cycle cigarette butt recycling containers.

 

Keep it Neat from Stoop to Street

In hopes of a city-wide litter campaign in Baltimore city, Baltimore Trash Talk/Full Circuit Studio (BTT/FCS) created the “Keep it Neat from Stoop to Street” campaign. Street-level response to this concept has been 100% positive. Finding funding has not been possible. The concept has been limitedly used by the Southwest Partnership to beautify their 8 neighborhoods in southwest Baltimore. The posters feature actual southwest residents, highlighting people known to regularly clean their blocks.

The campaign bypasses the “Don’t Litter” approach and instead focuses on the “Do” aspects of cleaning up: joining together, create community while creating cleaner streets, and mutually care for the public places.

Concept, copy and design by Baltimore Trash Talk/Full Circuit Studio. Photography by Zizwe Allette.


 

  

JANET MAHER 

The name of the Greek earth goddess, Gaia, which came to mean Earth, evolved to the idea that all aspects of our planet are interconnected, affecting each other as if one organism, as many ancient spiritual traditions have taught. With the planet now, tragically, fully immersed in the Anthropocene Epoch, I choose to create artworks that abstractly reflect my ruminations about humans’ impact upon the earth and the environment’s health in relation to that of her inhabitants. I typically begin with “non-art-worthy” or otherwise conventionally rejected materials, then work formally with them in an attempt to reach what I consider to be a beautiful result. I hope that enough ambiguity remains such that others can find personal meanings/connections to my images and that the alchemy of intentional artmaking may help the situation.

The Gaia series grew from vestiges of demos I did for courses I was teaching. Back in my studio, through a series of processes and mixed media techniques, I explored the edges at which my results could be interpreted from either micro or macro perspectives.


Blake Conroy, Swallowtail, laser-cut paper

 BLAKE CONROY 

The Swallowtail Butterfly is a delicate creature. It is also still relatively common. So common in fact that it is mostly overlooked, except by small children. I decided to take a closer look at a single swallowtail butterfly simply because they are so often overlooked. This is a portrait of a single individual. It shows all the uniqueness of this butterfly including the wing damage it has suffered during its short but unique life. We all only get one chance at life and we should respect this is one another and not just our own species.


 

 

Andrea Huppert,  Uprooted series, Mixed Media

ANDREA HUPPERT 

My dad was an educator, athlete, outdoors man, and conservationist and was the catalyst for my deep love and reverence of nature. I spent much of my childhood at his side fishing, camping, boating and hiking while learning valuable lessons about our environment along the way.

After moving to beautiful Cromwell Valley in Baltimore County, I became distraught after watching a steep hillside being denuded for a housing development. I become more politically aware that year but could not stop a development that had already been approved. Two years later, I became more politically involved as a Community Activist to address the clear cutting of trees by BGE on Cromwell Bridge Road, a state-designated Scenic Byway. The battle, which lasted for almost five years, included Senate hearings and numerous meetings with BGE, State legislators, community members and other environmental organizations. Eventually BGE agreed to re-plant ‘manageable’ vegetation as mitigation for habitat loss and hillside erosion. They also agreed to notify residents in advance of their plans to cut trees on private properties (which they have a federally mandated right to do) that border electrical transmission lines. I’ve found it can require a passionate battle with “the powers that be” to try and protect our natural resources.

  

Andrea Huppert, Details from Uprooted series, Mixed Media

Uprooted

In my mixed media works I often incorporate visually symbolic natural imagery. Twigs, nests and birds, among colors and abstract forms that allude to opposing forces, constant change and the tentative nature of our landscapes.

This series of paintings was done after collecting unearthed and torn tree roots following construction “repairs” completed by Baltimore City on their property surrounding Loch Raven Dam. I live on a lane that is partially shared with the city as an access route for dam maintenance. Needless to say, I have frequently been at odds with them as well, for their lack of environmental stewardship.


 

 

Tina Hinojosa, Number 1 and Number 2, Silicon, sterling silver found plastic, fishing rope, dish soap

TINA HINOJOSA 

Mass production of plastic began about 60 years ago. Every 15 years, the amount of plastic produced doubles. We are currently producing about 300 million tons of plastic per year. Plastic can take an estimated 400 years to deteriorate, therefore most of the plastic produced still exists. Only 9% is recycled. What is not recycled ends up in landfills or pollutes our land and waterways and eventually ends up in the ocean.

I enjoy working with plastic and other recycled materials because it allows me to take some of these items out of the waste stream. While researching my next project, I found Plastic Oceans released by the United Nations, I was inspired to contact Dr. Jennifer Lavers in Tasmania for more information. Dr. Lavers has dedicated her life to studying the effects of plastic ocean pollution on the Flesh-footed Shearwaters on Lord Howe Island. Currently, 100% of expired chicks examined have plastic in their bellies. Dr. Lavers was nice enough to send me some plastic from the chicks’ stomachs. Originally, I planned to make something from that material, but I had a very visceral reaction when I received it. The items felt like treasures too sacred to alter and that they had a message of their own to send. This work, however, was created in response to this experience.

 

Each piece is slush cast in silicone and filled with one of the items in the top 12 of the Ocean Conservancy’s “Threat Rank Report,” published each year. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the pieces, even take them down and put them on.

The pieces are named according to their place on the Ocean Conservancy Threat Rank Report (most frequently found plastic items in the ocean)


 

  

Bridget Parlato, (left) Pollinators & Pesticides Series, (middle) Pollinators & Pesticides:Bird 2 - Dead bird and and Neonicotinoid Molecule, (right) detail of Dead bird, graphite and colored pencil on paper

BRIDGET PARLATO

Bridget Parlato is a designer/artist/activist in Baltimore and sole proprietor of a freelance graphic design business, Full Circuit Studio and Baltimore Trash Talk, an anti-trash initiative. Her cause-related work is designed to raise awareness of our impact on the earth, our water systems, the animal world and each other.

This series of drawings focuses on the problem of neonicotinoid pesticides and pollinators. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine that act on receptors in the nerve synapse. They are toxic to insects, mammals, birds and other higher organisms. Marketed by European chemical giants Syngenta and Bayer, neonics are the most widely used insecticides both in the United States and globally.

Despite the EPA conceding the case that these pesticides harm bees and other pollinators, they still remain on the market.


  

Janet Maher, works from Gaia Series, Mixed Media Collage Drawings

JANET MAHER
The name of the Greek earth goddess, Gaia, which came to mean Earth, evolved to the idea that all aspects of our planet are interconnected, affecting each other as if one organism, as many ancient spiritual traditions have taught. With the planet now, tragically, fully immersed in the Anthropocene Epoch, I choose to create artworks that abstractly reflect my ruminations about humans’ impact upon the earth and the environment’s health in relation to that of her inhabitants. I typically begin with “non-art-worthy” or otherwise conventionally rejected materials, then work formally with them in an attempt to reach what I consider to be a beautiful result. I hope that enough ambiguity remains such that others can find personal meanings/connections to my images and that the alchemy of intentional artmaking may help the situation.

The Gaia series grew from vestiges of demos I did for courses I was teaching. Back in my studio, through a series of processes and mixed media techniques, I explored the edges at which my results could be interpreted from either micro or macro perspectives.

 

For an arts organization built around in-person, shared experiences, this is a challenging time. Like many of you, we are actively thinking about how to support our artists, friends, neighbors and businesses that make our world such a joy to be a part of. We hope you keep the arts high on your priority list as you contemplate how you can help. With that in mind, one of the groups that will be hardest hit during this period are the small, local, restaurants and merchants in our community.

We have created a way for you to support them while also supporting the arts.

Please consider purchasing a gift card or gift certificate from your favorite local restaurant or merchant and then donating that gift card to Maryland Hall. We will integrate the donation into the silent auction at our annual Arts Alive celebration this September 11, 2020.

Your money will go to work right away in our community AND will help Maryland Hall raise needed funds in the future.

To participate, simply send your gift card or certificate to Maryland Hall, 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. Include your name, address and the gift card amount. We will send you a tax receipt for the donation. Gift cards are cash equivalent donations and thus tax-deductible when donated to a non-profit.

Businesses to Support (just a starting point!):

  • Restaurants
  • Boutiques
  • Gyms & fitness studios
  • Bed & breakfasts
  • Local hotels
  • Hair salons & spas
  • Coffee shops & cafes 
  • Art stores 
  • Local furniture & houseware shops

 

More Ways to Help

We also ask that you help lift up our Resident Companies and partner organizations during this time. We all rely on each other to share the arts and none of us do it alone. Performances and events are being rescheduled and/or cancelled and hard decisions are being made as rehearsal time windows on future performances become smaller. Many of these groups rely on the income of these events to operate. If a show has been cancelled or postponed to a date you cannot attend, please consider donating your tickets to the organizations helping them sustain their revenue and allowing you to receive a tax deduction. If you didn’t have a ticket to begin with, come be a part of the audience on the new date.

A list of cancellations and postponements can be found on our website here. We will continue to keep it updated and we will share our reopening date as soon as know more. Do not hesitate to reach out to us at info@marylandhall.org with any questions.

Thank you for being a part of the Maryland Hall community. We’re here for you.

– The Maryland Hall Team

During this time of social distancing and the physical closure of our building, we want to keep sharing the arts however we can. For an arts organization dedicated to in-person, community experiences, this is challenging but we remain committed to prioritizing the health of our neighbors and preparing for the brighter days ahead.

As we pause our in-person programming, we've compiled artist interviews from our archives to share with you, all in one place:

 




















Photo by Hayley Ann-Vasco

​Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto, who has led the Ballet Theatre of Maryland for the past 17 years, has announced her retirement effective in June. The Board of Trustees has selected Nicole Kelsch to succeed her.

“We are deeply grateful for the contributions that Dianna has made during her tenure as Artistic Director,” said Board President Ted Atsinger. “She has raised the Ballet Theatre of Maryland to a higher level of professionalism and artistry. Through both the Company and the Conservatory, she has cultivated not only the dancers’ technical skills, but also their passion for the art of dance, and their understanding of how to pursue personal and professional development in the world of professional ballet. Among these excellent dancers is Nicole Kelsch, who we are pleased to announce we have selected to lead the Company upon Dianna’s retirement.”

Cuatto joined the Ballet Theatre of Maryland in 2003. Previously, she spent four seasons as the Ballet Mistress with the Richmond Ballet. Throughout her long ballet career, she has served in many roles including Artistic Director, Choreographer, Ballet Mistress, adjunct faculty, teacher, and Principal Dancer in companies and universities throughout the country.

Cuatto began her career as a professional dancer with Ballet West in 1963 where she went on to become a Principal Dancer. As a Principal Dancer, she performed a wide range of classical and contemporary roles with national companies including Sacramento Ballet, Oklahoma Ballet, Berkeley Ballet Theatre, the San Francisco Chamber Ballet, and the Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre.

In addition, she worked in Hollywood performing for the American Music Awards, Broadway musicals, and national television, where she also choreographed the Wonderful World of the Waltz for PBS.

Cuatto is a gifted, prolific choreographer who has created more than 109 works of ballet choreography for the Ballet Theatre of Maryland during her 17-year tenure including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, An American Southwest Carmen, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, Beauty and the Beast, Tango Dramatico, Little Women, and Excalibur - most to critical acclaim.

The final choreographic works of her tenure as Artistic Director with the Ballet Theatre of  Maryland will be presented at Innovations 2020 on April 17 and 18 at Maryland Hall in Annapolis. Immediately following the performance on April 18, you can attend the Season Grande Finale Retirement Party for Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto and honor her many contributions to the community. More information will be posted on Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s website regarding this event in February. 

Cuatto’s husband, Al Kessler, a member of the Board of Trustees will also be retiring from Board, company, and as a volunteer.

I want to give quality dance instruction and look back and feel it’s been a life well lived.” – Mary Slater

Not only did Mary teach me to tap, she taught me not to let others’ thoughts change my beliefs about myself.” – Tracy Inaldi, longtime student

Mary Slater Taps Into Our Hearts

Shared From our Winter/Spring 2020 Catalog

Mary Slater’s life as a dancer began at age four at the local fire department. She joined their majorette group and after two years began dancing at her teacher’s studio. Her path as a teacher wasn’t as clear cut. Though she started teaching in high school, she initially studied physical therapy at the University of Maryland. Mary says, “While I was in school, I was candy striping at Prince George’s Hospital. There I realized you couldn’t make everyone better and that was sad. At the same time, I was in the dance theater program at Maryland so I changed over to dance education.” Mary soon found herself creating her own places to teach. “I’m not the ‘traditional dancer’ so I had to be something unique,” she says gesturing to her 4’ 9” frame.

In the 70s, Mary’s dance journey took her to Columbia University in New York City where she studied modern dance and became immersed in the emerging tap scene. She studied under legendary Tony Award winning choreographer and dance instructor Henry LeTang. “I ended up the solo student in his tap classes because tap wasn’t popular at the time. As his Broadway career grew, the classes grew and I became one of his teachers,” Mary says.

When she wasn’t dancing with legends, she and her professional dance partner Wayne McCarthy got jobs by dancing on street corners along 5th Avenue. “Agents would put their cards in our hats and that’s how we got work. We performed in night clubs, on cruise ships and even did a show in Japan – I twirled Samoan swords in my baton days,” she says with a smile. Mary and Wayne made quite the duo; Chita Rivera herself attended their show in Japan.

Mary always had the intention to move back to Maryland with more education and experience. She discovered Maryland Hall in 1988. “I moved home to help my mom who had a knee transplant that went bad. There was an ad that Maryland Hall needed someone to do room bookings and I thought I could do that. Someone saw my resume and they offered me a teaching position,” she says. Mary never went back to New York except for visits. Before opening her own studio, Mary’s teaching circuit included MD Hall, University of Maryland and several performing arts schools in the region. “Maryland Hall has been the constant,” she says. 

When LeTang’s movie Tap starring Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. came out in 1989, Mary created “An Evening with the Masters of Tap” at MD Hall. She brought down the major players in Tap including LeTang, Bubba Gaines, Buster Brown and George Hillman for workshops and a show. It was a huge splash with the local paper featuring the event. After the show, Mary treated the men to a crab feast at her house. That’s when she knew MD Hall was her home. 

Over the years, Mary has taught all ages, even seeing students she taught as children come back as adults...or to sign up their own children for her class! Longtime student Tracy Inaldi says, “I met Mary 25 years ago when I was in high school. At that time, I was more of a ballet dancer. Before my first class with Mary, I warned her that other teachers told me that I’m just not a tapper. Mary laughed and lightheartedly said, ‘I’ll change that!’ Well, not only did Mary teach me to tap, she taught me not to let others’ thoughts change my beliefs about myself.” Tracy plans to enroll her toddler son in Mary’s tap class as soon as he’s old enough; he got his first taste of tap at last year’s ArtFest. “I honestly don’t know where I would be without Miss Mary. I am eternally grateful to her for the joy of dancing, the warm memories of performing, the encouragement to believe in myself, and for our friendship!”

“I try to create a family atmosphere for my dancers. I always encourage them to come back and visit after they go to college. It makes me feel good when they do because it lets me know they really enjoyed their time in the studio,” she says. A former boss once told Mary if you give to the community, they will give back to you. “I’ve always used that as my philosophy about everything and it’s been very true,” she says.

Mary’s favorite part of teaching dance is, “helping people find another means of expression and an outlet, creating a sense of joy in their life.” At MD Hall, this may apply most to her thriving Adult Jazz program. The classes offer exercise through learning and performing tap. Mary started a recent class inviting her students to join her for an upcoming anniversary screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club, another flick choreographed by LeTang. As the students started a combination, ease settled into their bodies, smiles spread across their faces and joy came through their feet. Some students have danced with Mary before and their feet haven’t forgotten the steps. For others, they’re trying it for the first time. The program has grown to three levels: beginning/introductory, intermediate level 2 and level 3.

“As long as you keep challenging them and they keep learning, they continue in the program. You have to keep it fresh,” she says. Her adult students are dipping their tap shoes into the performance world, putting on shows at ArtFest and in Mary’s annual recital. Mary easily recognizes the importance of dance in all ages and skill levels. “I’ve created a sense of community. I just enjoy seeing my dancers grow into well rounded people. Dance does so much for people besides making them dancers.”

Now surpassing three decades at MD Hall, Mary says, “I’ve continued here because I like the feeling the minute you walk in the door. You see the artwork, you hear the music, you see the young and old all enjoying the arts. I think it’s wonderful that we can make the arts possible for all, not just the ones who can afford it,” she says.

Take a Class with Mary Slater this Winter/Spring:

Tap for 2: Child & Adult
Ages: 3+
2/1-5/4 | Mondays (4 - 4:45pm)

First Dance I
Ages: 3-5
2/1-5/4 | Mondays (4:45 - 5:30pm)

Ballet - Tap -  Jazz
Ages: 6-9
2/3-5/4 | Mondays (5:30 - 6:15pm)

Let's Tap  
Ages: 16+
2/3-5/4 | Mondays (2:30 - 3:30pm)

Beginning Adult Tap
Ages: 16+
2/1-5/4 | Mondays (6:15 - 7pm)

Adult Tap 2
Ages: 16+
2/1-5/4 | Mondays (7 - 8pm)

Adult Tap 3
Ages: 16
2/1-5/4 | Mondays (8 - 9pm)

 

 

ArtyFacts is a NEW comprehensive arts integration program for young children, dedicated to teaching through, with and about the arts.  Each Mini ArtyFacts class is designed with a theme which guides the curriculum, providing pathways to learning concepts developmentally appropriate for pre-k and kindergartners. Using art, music and movement along with bilingual storytelling, yoga and creative play, children have the opportunity to develop their imagination, literacy skills and creative problem solving while engaged in a diverse, fun and safe classroom.

NOW ENROLLING FOR WINTER/SPRING 2020:

For its debut, ArtyFacts will be offered as Sampler Workshops twice a month from February through May. Parents may sign their child for any or all of the eight workshops!  View the schedule and register here.

Each class will include stories, music time, art projects, yoga, movement, and dramatic play; while also introducing beginner Spanish vocabulary through songs and stories. Bilingual teaching assistant will encourage speakers of both English and Spanish to explore creatively.

 


 

LAURA BRINO

Program Director and Lead Teacher

Laura Brino is a freelance artist and singer/songwriter who studied illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art and art education at Towson University. Currently the Outreach Coordinator at Maryland Hall, she oversees many youth programs including Jovenes Artistas,  an after school arts program that gives youth facing adversity a safe environment for self-expression, confidence and motivation to stay in school. Prior to her work at Maryland Hall, Laura worked for Anne Arundel County Public Schools both as a Visual Arts Teacher as well as an Arts Integration Specialist. She is passionate about using the arts as a pathway for learning and is committed to providing dynamic programming for youth. She has presented at three national conferences about the healing power of arts.

Contact info: 410-991-3898 | lbrino@mdhallarts.org

 

ESTEFANI CASTRO

Teaching Assistant and Bilingual Lead

“My name is Estefani Castro. I am 19 years old. I graduated from Annapolis High School in 2017. I plan to go back to AACC and earn my Associates in Child Development. I began attending JA (Jovenes Artistas) in middle school up through the end of high school. When I first heard about the art program I decided to check it out since I never participated in any other after school programs. As a young teenager I was going through so many changes and sometimes I didn’t know how to deal with them but with JA I was able to express myself through art. It definitely kept my mind busy from having depressing thoughts. JA created a sense of belonging. It was like a second home. I had the chance to make new friends and work with them on awesome projects and for that I am very grateful. JA has helped me become a better person and   It helped me realize what my purpose in life is, which is to help kids and lead them through the right path."


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New Guitar Workshops with Professional Musician Bryan Ewald

Annapolis’ own Bryan Ewald is a musician that is difficult to pigeon hole. While constantly juggling multiple bands and projects of his own throughout his career (currently Starbelly, Jarflys, Meg & Bryan, Technicolor Motorhome, among others), and regularly working with many of the area’s finest artists (Eric Scott, Higher Hands, Doug Segree, Dan Haas, Brandon Hardesty & Bumpin Uglies, Greg Phillips, and many more...), he’s also an in demand "guitar for hire" for dozens of regional and national artists.

Bryan has been hired for live and/or studio work by over 150 artists as diverse as: Rachael Yamagata, Judd & Maggie, Pat Dinizio (Smithereens), Bobby Vega (Tower of Power, Santana, Sly Stone), Warren Zanes (Del Feugos), Walking Sticks (SHAED), Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, Shane Gamble, Mary Prankster, Pressing Strings, The Temptations (Damon Harris), David Cassidy, The Supremes, Bibi Bourelly, Kelly Bell Band, Yvonne Elliman, Thelma Houston, Mama Jama, David Pack (Ambrosia), Rita Coolidge, Native Run, Stephen Bishop, and countless others. 

For 30 years, he’s been an equally sought after instructor. Due to performing and travel schedules, he’s always had limited teaching availability…until now! We are excited to partner with Bryan to grow his offerings with a series of NEW guitar workshops. Twice a month, Bryan will offer one-time workshops ranging from Guitar 101 for beginners to Intervals and Scales for intermediate/advanced players. The sessions are designed as drop-in workshops or as a flexible series.

An artist with PRS Guitars since 2005, Bryan is also the primary demonstrator and clinician for the prestigious brand. Since 2012, PRS Guitars has utilized his skills for YouTube product videos and live demonstrations and clinics all over the world. He is one of the lead instructors of the Maryland Hall & PRS 2nd Annual Interactive Camp for Aspiring Museums.

When he’s not on the road or playing with one of the bands listed above, he can be found close to home doing solo gigs or performing with his two talented sons.

Now, YOU can join him in class!

2020 Schedule: 

Sessions for Ages 12 & Up |  Sessions for Ages 16 & Up 

The Naval Academy Band returns to Maryland Hall to present a series of free concerts this Fall. Beginning Sunday, September 22 at 4 pm, with a Chamber Winds and Brass Ensemble Concert, the band will perform a total of four free concerts at Maryland Hall this Fall. 

"We are very pleased to be partnering once again with Maryland Hall to produce free public performances for our community by the outstanding musicians of this premier military band,” says Lt. Cmdr. Patrick K. Sweeten. "Both organizations’ dedication to the performing arts make our long-term collaborative efforts exciting for Annapolis and our region. We look forward to a continued association with Maryland Hall and are grateful for the opportunity to represent our Navy and the United States Naval Academy through upcoming performances."

Upcoming concerts at Maryland Hall include:

  • Friday, October 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm - Navy Birthday Concert (Main Theatre) | Reserve a Seat

  • Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 4 pm - Superintendent's Combo (Bowen Theatre) | Reserve a Seat

  • Monday, November 11, 2019 at 7 pm - Veterans Day Concert (Main Theatre) | Reserve a Seat

The Naval Academy Band has been providing music for the Brigade of Midshipmen and the surrounding community since 1852. Located at the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, this premier military band offers world-class ensembles which perform a variety of musical styles, ranging from classical to contemporary. Naval Academy Band concerts are free and open to the public.

Advanced reservations at marylandhall.org are recommended. For more information, contact the Maryland Hall Guest Services Team at 410-280-5640. Box office hours are Monday - Friday from 9 am – 5 pm.  For more information about the band, please visit the band’s website at usna.edu/usnaband.

 

An Evening With Broadway Star Rebecca Luker

Live Arts Maryland opens the 2019-2020 Season with Broadway Star Rebecca Luker on Saturday, September 14. An Evening with Rebecca Luker is a one night only event! Known for her many performances as well as her interpretation of the American Songbook, Ms. Luker will open the season. Ms. Luker has long been recognized for the skillful combination of her distinctive fine soprano voice and rare dramatic sensibility. 

After the concert, step onstage for a special reception celebrating the new season.


In honor of our 40th Anniversary, we interviewed Live Arts Maryland: 

Making Connections with Live Arts Maryland

Founding Resident Company Live Arts Maryland is approaching its 50th Anniversary! We talked with Artistic Director J. Ernest Green about what keeps their audience coming back year after year.

Tell us about your career and how you came to Live Arts Maryland.

​I was born in Baltimore and my family moved to Cleveland but I have a lifelong connection to Annapolis; every year I spent chunks of my summer visiting family here. In the ‘80s, I was the Orchestra Assistant at Peabody and assistant to my teacher. When I was finishing my doctoral work, my teacher said, “I want you to do this job with the Annapolis Chorale. It’s perfect for you.” Because I was also assisting with the Opera program, I had a reputation for working with singers and orchestras – it’s unusual to move easily between the two. My teacher thought I’d be the perfect fit for the Chorale and told me to go and make something of it. So I did!

Very quickly the orchestra established itself and the chorus became a really strong ensemble that was musically vibrant in the community. At the same time, I traveled back and forth to South America to conduct opera in Brazil. I did that for 4-5 years while also building the chorale. Guest conducting took me all over Europe and America. When I put down roots, I ended up at the Kennedy Center as conductor with the National Symphony for 12 years. From there, I began working with Marvin Hamlish developing part of my life as a pops conductor. Today, most of my guest conducting is orchestral and my residencies last a few days. “Live Arts” is now in the middle of what I consider its third or fourth iteration since I came in ’85.

What can an audience expect from your “fusion” programs?

In the classical concert music world, we’ve created a “museum repertoire.” The bulk of what we do was written in the mid 1800s to early 1900s. That’s over a 100 years old! That doesn’t always connect with us. So, our programs combine chorale traditions with new, contemporary pieces. Our goal is to find connections with music that may sometimes go unnoticed and share that with our audience. Doing new pieces and fusing them together ensures we’re creating something that is part of our time.

What are Live Arts’ keys to success?

We constantly re-evaluate and assess what we’re doing in the context of what the community needs. Not necessarily what it wants but what it needs and how to serve them. That’s the secret to longevity. It’s all well and good to do what you do, sing, perform music, dance, but you have to be careful that you’re not creating a museum. Last season, we did a tremendous amount of repertoire of this time and that resonated with our audience.

How do artists become part of the Orchestra and Chorale?

The chorus is a mostly volunteer chorus with some section leaders on staff. It is a community group of singers drawn from the region. To join, there is a quick voice placement audition and then they come and sing with us. The process is simple and not scary. We want to be as welcoming as we can.

The Annapolis Chamber Orchestra is made up of professional musicians from the area as well. They are some of the best players in the region. Our soloists are drawn from all over the country and the world.

The Chorale has a loyal following. What keeps patrons coming back?

In everything that we do, we try to share the joy that we have in making, sharing and presenting music. I want the audience to feel like they are welcome. They should feel like we’ve invited them into our house and we’re playing music. It’s just a slightly bigger house with lots of seats. Sharing a piece of music at a concert is a big statement and we embrace it. If our audience knows we’re excited about it, they become excited about it.

What is unique about the upcoming season?

We’re really focused on building connections across the season and across the repertoire that resonate with the audience. Connections unfold in that original program and across the whole season. The audience will see the music through the same lens we look through. They are an active participant in what happens on stage.

“I’ve never seen a bad cat photo,” says Maryland Hall Photography Teaching Artist Joe Yablonsky. He says it as a joke but there’s truth in his humor: Yablonsky’s eye for photography has no room for pretension. “I’m the first one to admit there isn’t only one good way to take a photo. I think every student should bring their personality into the process and take photos that are uniquely their own.” Yablonsky developed his own love for photography on the campus of Princeton University. In the late 90s, he lived near the beautiful grounds and found inspiration in the gothic architecture and gargoyle sculptures.

“I specialize in photos of public sculptures and architecture, always trying to find the obscure out of the sculpture and historic architecture,” Yablonsky says. His body of work includes works by master sculptors such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Daniel Chester French and Isamu Noguchi, to contemporary artists involved in community public art projects. His photographs are only taken when a rare combination of lighting and atmospheric conditions are present in the scene to highlight the sculpture and its environment. All photos are hand printed using a traditional darkroom on fiber paper and are selenium toned to increase their archival permanence.

Yablonsky made photography his career in 2003 when he found himself looking for a change after leaving his engineering job. “I went for creativity and photography was something that was already growing out of control in my life so I started teaching.” In addition to MD Hall, where he began teaching in 2017, Yablonsky also teaches at the Smithsonian, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, VisArts in Rockville and Anne Arundel Community College, among others. His classes at Maryland Hall range from the technical in How Do I Use my Digital Camera to the experiential and creative in Travel Photography.

“I want to teach people who want to learn how to use their camera, how to use every button and help them develop their eye. Whether that’s film or digital,” Yablonsky says. For those ready to take their photography skills out into the world, Yablonsky’s Annapolis at Night is an alternative learning experience. Students get out of the classroom and get immediate feedback in the field. Bring gloves for this year’s class – it takes place downtown during Midnight Madness! “You’re only cold for three hours and then you have the photos for the rest of your life. It’s a blast,” Yablonsky says. All classes are for all skill levels and interest and open to digital or film shooters.

In a digitally driven world, Yablonsky strays away from apps and editing. He is not keen on post-production work and he teaches his students how to take photos that don’t require it. “Students in my classes gain a much better understanding of how to use their camera and how to take better photos on a more consistent basis, without relying on post production,” he says. The key is to “think more and shoot less -- do more thinking before you press the shutter release button -- and therefore take less photos. And learn from both your successes and your mistakes.”

Yablonsky designs his classes to create a strong foundation of the concepts of photography that help photographers find their own vision. When asked what his greatest accomplishment as a teacher is, he says, “Seeing when people get it; when they truly understand and move forward and the material becomes second nature.”

As for his favorite place to take photos in Annapolis? The answer is easy: “wherever the light is good,” he says.


Register for a Fall Photography Class with Joe Yablonsky

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