Maryland Spotlight - Art Of The Chesapeake
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Maryland Spotlight - Art Of The Chesapeake 


The Bay Inspiration

Baltimore, MD (November 1, 2013) - The ethereal beauty of the Chesapeake Bay and the diverse wildlife that feeds from its waters has inspired artists for generations. Sculpture, painting and carvings capture the essence of the Bay and are a perfect way to bring home a striking memento from your visit to Maryland.

“Chesapeake Bay art depicts the places and things that evoke the feeling of the bay region, an area known for its natural splendor, maritime culture and recreational choices,” says Margot Amelia, executive director of the state tourism office.

“Throughout the Chesapeake Region, you will find charming Main Streets and Arts and Entertainment Districts, where you can find one-of-a-kind treasures just in time for the holiday season. These towns tend to be scenic locations with an array of cultural attractions and enticing dining and lodging choices – perfect for weekend getaways,” Amelia continued. 

This November, explore events, museum gift shops and local galleries filled with art inspired by the culture and allure of the Chesapeake Bay.

(The state tourism office suggests checking individual destinations or county tourism offices for information about local galleries and arts centers.)

Eastern Shore:

Meander along the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway to observe watermen bringing their bounty to shore, visit historic towns, and travel through scenic stretches of productive farmland and pristine natural areas. Take a few days to explore the 85 miles to gain an appreciation for the working life of Maryland's Eastern Shore farmers, watermen, and artists.

Chestertown hosts its annual Sultana Projects Downrigging Weekend: Tall Ships and Wooden Boat Festival to celebrate its maritime culture on Nov. 1-4. Additionally, artists’ wares are on display at the RiverArts Studio Tour, through Nov. 3 and the new exhibit, “Living Rivers”, opens Nov. 1.

The Fall Sea Glass Vendor Fair, Nov. 1-2 in Grasonville, Queen Anne’s County, features works of art etched from the tides of the bay. Make a weekend of it: Attend a lecture by world-renowned sea glass expert Richard LaMotte on Friday and use your new-found expertise to find the perfect sea glass craft on Saturday.

Take the time to discover the autumn splendor of Maryland during the annual Waterfowl Festival Nov. 8-10 in Easton. The event features America’s folk art, decoy carving, goose and duck calling contests, retriever demonstrations and a vast array of wildlife inspired art. 

The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network connects visitors to an authentic Bay experience via parks, wildlife refuges, museums, sailing ships, historic communities, trails and more. Download the Chesapeake Explorer app.

Here is a sampling of museums on the Eastern Shore:

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum – St. Michaels, Talbot County – Exhibits, demonstrations and annual festivals depict bay culture and history on the banks of the Miles River in St. Michaels. “Push and Pull: Life on Chesapeake Bay Tugboats”, is a display of artwork and artifacts from the museum's collection and private collections. An exhibit in the Waterfowling Building features working decoys from the mid-Atlantic region. This month, the museum celebrates the pearl of the Chesapeake during Oysterfest on Nov. 2.

J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum – Crisfield, Somerset County – Named for the former Maryland governor (a native son of Crisfield), the museum is located at Somers Cove Marina, site of the annual National Hard Crab Derby. It has exhibits depicting the origins of the Chesapeake Bay, the seafood industry, Crisfield history and decoy carving. Tours of the Ward Brothers Workshop allow visitors to watch carvers at work. Crisfield is also known as "The Crab Capital of the World."

Rock Hall Museum – Rock Hall, Kent County – In a town known for its marinas, seafood outlets and access to the Chesapeake Bay on the near edge of the Eastern Shore, the museum was established as a private enterprise in 1976 by a local educator. In 2000, the founder's widow donated it to the town. The museum, located in the Municipal Building near the town center, has a re-created decoy-carving shop stocked with original items used by a Rock Hall master carver.

Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art – Salisbury, Wicomico County – Located in a waterfront property with 12,000 square feet of exhibition space, the museum has the world's largest public collection of decorative and antique decoys. It was named for Lem and Steve Ward, two brothers from Crisfield who pioneered the evolution of working decoys into objects of fine-art. Now through Feb. 2, 2014, see the special exhibit “A Flight of Science and Magic: The Owl”.  

Western Shore:

The Religious Freedom Scenic Byway ambles through the tidewater region of Southern Maryland, along the shores of the Potomac and Patuxent rivers leading to the Chesapeake Bay.  Along the way, you will find Maryland’s first capital, Historic St. Mary’s City and great seafood. Be sure to pick up a copy of the 128-page booklet, Southern Maryland Trails: Earth, Art, Imagination, to point you in the direction to a cornucopia of homemade and homegrown items. 

Annapolis is home to several great galleries that feature art celebrating the bay. Photography, paintings, pottery and more recreate images of life spent on the water in the “Sailing Capital of the World.” For a unique treat witness the world’s longest International Tug of War over water at the annual face-off between Eastport and Annapolis on Nov. 2.

Some say there is a distinct art to landing the piscatorial creatures that inhabit the bay; local charter boat captains can teach you how to hook the big one at any time. Perfect for those with a competitive edge - sign up for the annual Bay-wide Chesapeake Bay Fall Classic Rockfish Tournament.

Travel the 560-mile Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail to discover museums on shipbuilding, decoys, lighthouses and maritime recreation as well as the story of the British invasion of the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812.  

Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park - Baltimore – This national heritage site in the maritime community of Fell’s Point has 5,000 square feet of gallery space, used for exhibitions and interactive learning centers, such as a boat-building workshop. Exhibits tell the story of the local African-American community and its ties to Chesapeake Bay traditions. The first African-American owned and operated shipyard was located yards away. Chesapeake Bay cuisine can be found on the menu of Waterfront Kitchen, a recently opened seed-to-plate restaurant located on site.

Havre de Grace Decoy Museum – Havre de Grace, Harford County – The museum is home to 1,200 decoys and decorative carvings. On weekends, local carvers offer carving demonstrations. Special events include an annual decoy and wildlife art festival in the spring. Havre de Grace, located on the banks of the Susquehanna River at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, is home to the Concord Point Lighthouse – Maryland's second oldest lighthouse (built 1827).

Upper Bay Museum – North East, Cecil County – This local heritage museum houses artifacts pertaining to hunting, boating and fishing. Visitors can trace the history of the waterfowl hunter through exhibits of outlawed gunning rigs and skillfully carved decoys. They can also follow the progress of Upper Bay boating and fishing with many displays of model boats, nets and one of the country’s best collections of marine engines.
Calvert Marine Museum – Solomons, Calvert County – Three permanent galleries house these exhibitions: Paleontology of the Miocene Epoch, Marine Life of the Chesapeake Bay and Maritime Heritage of Southern Maryland. Drum Point Lighthouse, built in 1883, is on the museum's waterfront. A woodworking shop here is headquarters for the Southern Maryland Shipcarvers' Guild and the Solomons Island Model Boat Club. For the ultimate Chesapeake Bay experience, spend the night in the Cove Point Lighthouse refurbished keeper’s house.

About Maryland tourism:

The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.3 billion on travel-related expenses in 2011. During 2011, the Maryland tourism industry also generated close to $2 billion in state and local taxes, and provided more than 131,000 jobs for Maryland residents.
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