By Leslie Dolsak

For nearly 40 years John Ebersberger has had a home at Maryland Hall, his favorite places being rooms 213 and 214, the two north-light studios. Despite the fact he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Ebersberger’s artistic abilities took shape at Maryland Hall, first as a student then as a teacher.

Ebersberger recalls with enthusiasm the pivotal moment that drew him to Maryland Hall. Shortly after graduating college, he and a friend went to a sketch group at Weems Creek Community Center. He spotted an artist working and was completely awestruck by his work. “I remember saying, ‘can you teach me how to draw?’ The artist was Cedric Egeli, who happened to be teaching at Maryland Hall in the late ‘70s.  Ebersberger quickly enrolled in his portrait and figure drawing classes.

“It was really just mind-blowing. I was in my early 20’s and to have that gift to study with a really gifted and important artist was phenomenal,” said Ebersberger, noting that Egeli’s instruction permeated throughout the Maryland Hall community. His key students later became impactful instructors -- including the late Lee Boynton and Bonnie Roth Anderson.

In 1985, Ebersberger started teaching at Maryland Hall along with Josephine Beebe who was also influenced by Egeli’s instruction. A number of Maryland Hall’s Visual Arts teachers then took the next step in advancing their artistic knowledge by studying color with Henry Hensche --  then in his mid-80s -- at the Cape School of Art. “I remember Cedric bringing Henry down to visit my studio [at Maryland Hall] to show him my work around 1983/84.” Clearly an unforgettable memory for Ebersberger and a turning point in his work.

Passing Down the Potent Brew

“It was a wow!” recalled Ebersberger.  Hensche was originally Charles Hawthorne’s teaching assistant in the 1920’s. (Hawthorne was a noted painter who founded the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899.) “He was somebody who arced back to a whole different time period. It shaped my entire career and my entire artistic life. Between the classical realism of Egeli and the impressionist color of Hensche, it’s a potent brew,” Ebersberger said.

It’s that potent brew Ebersberger himself exudes that keeps students, professionals, hobbyists and retirees coming back for in the classes he teaches at Maryland Hall. A backbone steeped in artistic wisdom that Emily Garvin, Maryland Hall’s Vice President of Programs says will continue with vigor. “Several of John’s students have evolved into fantastic teaching artists and accomplished artists. Our aim is to keep connecting these artists with the community through our classes and exhibits.”

One such artist who promises to pass down this “potent brew” of artistic wisdom is Melissa Gryder, once an Ebersberger student, is now teaching Visual Arts at Maryland Hall. Gryder remembers very clearly how her life and career dramatically changed after meeting Ebersberger. A graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA, Gryder was just five-years out of school and had just moved to Annapolis.  As a gift, her husband bought her a figure drawing class at Maryland Hall with Ebersberger.  “It was like walking into the art class that I always dreamed of,” recounted Gryder. “There were full-time professional artists working alongside novices.  I was incredibly impressed by the caliber of work going on in that class.”

Gryder started taking multiple painting classes with Ebersberger and was introduced to the teachings of Henry Hensche, the Cape School, and the Egelis. She was flabbergasted by the thriving Annapolis Impressionism scene. “My entire career shifted. I took as many classes as I could,” said Gryder.  She began delving into plein air painting, exploring color and figurative and portrait work as well as discovering a new love for the palette knife. Gryder continued, “I had finally found a place to learn all of the things that had been missing. John is the most influential art teacher I have had.”

No Distance too Far for Learning

In addition to his impact on Gryder, Ebersberger has many other ecstatic fans and class regulars. He cites one man who, for the past eight years, has been driving two and a half hours from Pennsylvania every Monday to take his class. He even comes early to help Ebersberger set up the classroom.

“Instructors like John demonstrate the tenacity and personal commitment to living and working as an artist through their authentic exchange with students,” said Garvin. “All of our instructors are passionate about sharing their artistic skills with the community. It takes years of dedication and discipline to become a teaching artist that will draw the attention of students regionally.”

“I’ve had people fly up from Florida and the Carolinas. I had a guy email me recently from Belgium who was going to be Alexandria, Virginia, and he wanted to take a class from me,” Ebersberger said, noting people seek him out because he was a student of Hensche.  

While the demand for Ebersberger’s classes is certainly flattering, it’s actually teaching that helps him hone his craft. “You’re clarifying what you’re doing and what you are trying to impart.”

Ebersberger has taught many workshops throughout the country and the world, but says Maryland Hall sets itself apart. “It’s a special integration. It’s been really neat because of the Symphony and the Ballet being here. At various times I’ve painted ballerinas and musicians who have performed here. [I have] the ability to teach without a lot of constrictions or demands on a style or approach.”

The freedom to teach was the biggest learning benefit Gryder reaped from Maryland Hall. “My academic experience focused on more abstract ideas. John taught me how to actually observe life and paint to create a mood, not just how to copy something.”

Precisely, the benefit Ebersberger clung to when he stumbled upon the riches within the large brick building, formerly Annapolis High School. “The education I got here [Maryland Hall] was the traditional education system. When I was in art school there was nothing like this. Maryland Hall was on the vanguard of what was going to happen in New York with this really intense re-visitation of classical realism.”

Preserving the Quality of What We Already Have

As Maryland Hall approaches its 40th Anniversary (in 2019), Ebersberger’s only wish for Maryland’s Hall is to preserve what works, tipping his hat, for example, to the ancient easels. “Sometimes it’s not what you do but what you don’t do. To hold on to that. To not always think you have to be moving ahead with the newest and the best, when the best might be right under your nose and you don’t even know it’s there sometimes.”

The nuances of life being right under one’s nose is exactly what Gryder pointed to as Ebersberger’s strength as a teacher. “John inspired me to notice subtle color and atmospheric changes that resulted in me being more aware of the beauty surrounding us,” Gryder explained. Her hope? To pass down to her new flock of students the timeless traditions and community connectivity that the Maryland Hall’s greats instilled in her.


Maryland Hall is pleased to partner with other local community organizations on activities surrounding the 2018 Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Celebration (celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth).  

Watch this space for events and activities.  

Frederick Douglass 200 Creative Arts Competition

Anne Arundel County students, grades 4 through 12, were invited to participate in the “Frederick Douglass 200 Creative Arts Competition” and “Follow In His Footsteps”.  Students submitted their applications in Fall 2018 and turned in their projects in early October.

Creative Arts Showcase and Awards' Celebration

All are invited to attend the Creative Arts Showcase and Awards’ celebration on Friday, November 9, 2018, 6 to 8pm, at the Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammond Lane, Brooklyn, MD. 

This event celebrates the Frederick Douglass Bi-Centennial – 200 years from his birth in 1818, in Talbot County, MD.  Members of Northern Arundel Cultural Preservation Society have joined with eleven other organizations to make this an inspiring evening for the students and a life lesson for all of us. There is no admission fee. You will be amazed at the students’ work and their concerns about equality in our nation. Free and open to the public. 

Email or call 410-533-1977 with questions.  

Download the application form and more information here.  



School stress can take a toll on kids. More and more young people are reporting stress and anxiety in school, especially with social media so ever-present. Study after study proves that access to the arts improves mental health.  Don’t let another summer go by dropping hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on camps with nothing to show for it. Maryland Hall is offering camps and workshops that will help your teen do a reset on the school year and reboot for the upcoming one all while building life skills.

Alice Yeager, MFA, with over 40 years of experience as an educator in creative and healing arts has seen the difference the arts can make. "I believe the arts inspire the creative mind within us all that naturally seeks for a better world amidst all of the turmoil and strife … to look at the chaos and then see beyond it to find a more peaceful harmonious way of life.” Yeager will be teaching several offerings this summer at Maryland Hall, like, Creativity, Intuition and Inspiration and Designing and Illustrating Children’s Books.   

Today’s teens need art more than ever, especially with all the strains of technology.  “Teenagers are processing so much change in their daily lives. The arts offer a welcomed break free from life’s pressures while providing a safe outlet for expression,” said Andrée Tullier, a Visual Arts Instructor at Maryland Hall offering several engaging teen-focused courses this summer including, Teen Drawing Foundations, Pastel Portrait Workshop, and Charcoal Portrait Drawing Workshop.

Here’s a week-by-week look at just some of the offerings this summer for tweens and teens:  

All course offerings for tweens and teens last between two to three hours and are priced competitively. Maryland Hall members receive discounts off the pricing. To view the full program of Maryland Hall summer offerings and to register click here.


The Art of the Labyrinth

For more than 15 years, visitors to Maryland Hall have been inspired and motivated by their experiences with our labyrinth. The labyrinth is the centerpiece of Maryland Hall’s Founder’s Green (front lawn) which also includes a painter’s circle, benches, walkways and a recently-added sundial. The labyrinth and surrounding green spaces were funded by the TKF Foundation whose mission is to “support the creation of public green spaces that offer a temporary place of sanctuary, encourage reflection, provide solace, and engender peace and well-being.”  Maryland Hall is partnering with TKF Foundation to offer Yoga on the Labyrinth this summer.

With the goal of providing an area of solitude, beauty and mindfulness, the labyrinth and surrounding environment were designed by landscape architect James Urban (FASLA). Constructed in 2002, Maryland Hall’s labyrinth is a replica of one of the most famous in the world -- the one inlaid in the nave floor of the Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral outside of Paris, completed circa 1220 A.D. Centuries ago stone masons labored to inlay a special geometric design of concentric circles and curves in the nave floor of the Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral. They were creating a labyrinth, using as their pattern one found on coins dating back to Hellenistic Greece.

Maryland Hall’s labyrinth is just over 42 feet in diameter and has eleven circuits to its single pathway for a walk of approximately one-half mile in length. The labyrinth and surrounding gardens provide opportunities for reflection, rejuvenation and artistic expression. With daily stress and pressures and the bombardment of technology, the labyrinth and its surroundings provide a respite from hurried lives. This goal complements Maryland Hall’s mission to provide “art for all” with myriad opportunities for cultivating artistic expression and nurturing creative experiences.

TKF also funded an iconic bench that accompanies the labyrinth. In partnership with the Maryland Correctional Enterprises, TKF benches are built by inmates learning carpentry skills to help them secure employment upon release from the Western Correctional Institution in Lavale, MD. The benches are made from reclaimed pickle barrel wood that is more than 100 years old. Waterproof journals and pens are placed in a small opening underneath the bench so visitors can write a diary entry, daily log, motivational quote, or even converse with someone else who has written in it. The bench and journal are an integral part of each sacred space supported by TKF. The quotes below represent just a few of the hundreds of quotes visitors have shared inour journals over the years.

Tom Stoner, co-founder of the TKF Foundation with his wife Kitty, says of the Maryland Hall labyrinth: “Art and nature give people a means to transcend daily stress, reframe perspectives and renew spirits. We are so pleased to be a part of the creation of the Maryland Hall Labyrinth and Artists Circle, which fuses both in a uniquely potent way—providing our community an accessible, open space tailored to encourage moments of introspection and a sense of harmony.”

Since its creation in 2002, the labyrinth has served not only as a place for meditation and thought, but for creative events and activities as well. Activities have ranged from outdoor concerts and yoga classes to canned goods drives and plein air painting classes.

Maryland Hall’s labyrinth is always open; visitors are welcome any time of day (or night) to walk the circuit, meditate, and share their thoughts in our journal. Look for new programs incorporating the labyrinth and outdoor spaces in the year ahead and continued improvements to our gardens and grounds as part of the ongoing restoration and modernization of
Maryland Hall.

How to Walk the Labyrinth at Maryland Hall…

There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. However, some of the following tips will help visitors get the most out of a labyrinth walk.

  • Begin your walk at the entrance (outside rim) and if you encounter other people pass them or let them pass you.
  • Clear your mind and become aware of your breathing.
  • Maintain silence throughout your walk and when others are walking.
  • Walk at your own pace. Pause for rest and reflection.
  • Practice mindful walking by becoming aware of sights, smells, sounds and sensations.
  • Find a private space to reflect through meditation, writing or drawing when you have completed your walk.
  • Remember that each labyrinth walk is unique — different for each person and different from the time before.


Recent quotes from visitors to the labyrinth: 

April 28, 2017:  Enjoying the sun and the breeze and the beautiful spring scent as I contemplate my performance tomorrow evening…definitely gonna share this bliss!

 No date:  I sit here and stare at an open world full of adventure and peace. All we need to be happy.

 August 2017:  A pleasure just to sit and enjoy this bench in the bright sun, shade and breeze.
A quietness only partially interrupted by the occasional passing car with clouds wafting lightly over the building’s roof. Pleasant.

 June 14, 2017:  Spending a few minutes before a concert enjoying this beautiful spot in your lovely city as a welcome break from the busy-ness of DC. Thank you for your hospitality Annapolis!

 October 10, 2017:  Walking the beautiful labyrinth. We love it!

 No date:  The labyrinth walk gave me the structure I need to be creative!

Help Bring "art for all" to Everyone! with a  Maryland Hall Membership!

Purchase a one-year Maryland Hall Membership from June 1 - 30 and receive an additional 3 months of membership benefits FREE!                       


Your membership not only provides you with benefits like discounts and accessibility to a creative community but it also supports the funding of our programs – like outreach, exhibitions, performances, and classes – that allow us to pledge “Art for All” to our community year round. As the fiscal year comes to an end please help us to ensure the success of our programs by supporting Maryland Hall’s mission through a year-long membership”


Your investment as a Maryland Hall Member will include the following benefits:

- Discounts on tickets to Maryland Hall performances and select events and select Resident Company performances 

- Discounts on tuition for all Maryland Hall classes; members pay no registration fees 

- Coupons to local businesses 

- Advance notice of exhibitions and performances and the opportunity to purchase tickets before the general public 

- Mailings of Maryland Hall catalogs and electronic newsletters

Memberships purchased from June 1 - 30 that would normally expire in June 2019 will expire in September 2019. Additional months of membership will be added to your account.  Offer Valid for all Membership Levels

Visit here to purchase a membership.

Why the Arts Are a Must for Children 6 and Under

Not too long, not too short. Not too hot, not too sunny. Not too buggy, not too sticky. Maryland Hall’s seven-weeks of summer camps let toddlers and tykes explore the arts in the comfort of an air-conditioned building with professional instructors and small class sizes.

The arts have been proven to benefit children in many developmental ways, including:  motor skills, language advancement, decision-making, visual learning, inventiveness, cultural awareness and improved academic performance.  

Eileen Razzetti, director of Academy Ballet School of Annapolis, which operates at Maryland Hall, sees firsthand the positive impact of art and dance. “Children learn to focus and follow directions. They learn responsibility and teamwork. When a dancer enters a room, there is a presence – a self-confidence,” she said. “It’s equally as important for boys. Everybody should take dance. It’s like reading and writing,” Razzetti is a full-time member of the Royal Academy of Dance in London who trained in New York City at the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo Ballet School and performed with the Metropolitan Opera Company.  

Holly Rosario, an art instructor at Maryland Hall, agrees that the arts build focus and self-confidence, and also perseverance in a child. “All of these qualities contribute to a student’s success and engagement. Spending the summer making art both in our studio and outdoors can lead not only to a big boost in each student’s skills, but also to a lifetime of art appreciation,” said Rosario, a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art with a Master of Arts in Teaching.

“Our instructors set us apart,” said Emily Garvin, VP of Programs at Maryland Hall. “Our classes and camps are taught by professionals who are living and breathing their passion.”

Here’s a snapshot of the weekly camp offerings for children 6 and under:

All course offerings for toddlers and tykes are drop-offs lasting one to three hours. Weekly session prices range between $60 for members | $85 for non-members to $210 for members | $235 for non-members.  To view the full program of Maryland Hall summer offerings and to register click here.


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