Art of the Chesapeake

Discover the best galleries and arts events and learn about the unique art of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

By Brooke Adcox

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Chesapeake Bay Sunset
Chesapeake Bay Sunset
Enjoy the hands-on exhibits and overnight programs at the lighthouse at this museum.
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

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. Such artwork is widely available in Maryland towns near the bay or one of its many tributaries. These towns, in many instances, have vibrant and fun arts and entertainment districts.

Eastern Shore Galleries

On the Eastern Shore, the three sister towns of Easton, St. Michaels and Oxford (Talbot County) are gallery hot spots. Mindful of the cultural and culinary attractions of these towns, county officials promote their area as “the Hamptons of the Chesapeake.”

One of the best places to start appreciating the area’s signature art is the Waterfowl Festival, which has been taking place in Easton since 1971. This weekend celebration of wildlife art and Chesapeake Bay culture benefits conservation efforts across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. This year's festival features the work of more than 300 wildlife artists and artisans, specializing in painting, sculpture, carving, photography, decoys and folk art.

Annapolis is another prime destination for galleries. Nearly two dozen galleries are located minutes from City Dock, center of the historical district. Cambridge (Dorchester County), Denton (Caroline County), Elkton (Cecil County) and Havre de Grace (Harford County) also have arts and entertainment (A&E) districts, and are either on or near water.

Southern Maryland Galleries

The Southern Maryland town of Solomons (Calvert County) also has an active gallery scene. Two other locations with clusters of galleries are Fells Point, a historic waterfront community in Baltimore, and Bethesda (Montgomery County) – recently named top A&E district for the year by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

And, on the Upper Shore (Kent County), the colonial seaport of Chestertown also has a wide selection of galleries. Chestertown artists are among the 50 artists in Kent and Queen Anne's counties who open their studios to visitors during the River Arts Studio Tour. And, on the Upper Shore (Kent County), the colonial seaport of Chestertown also has a wide selection of galleries. Chestertown artists are among the 50 artists in Kent and Queen Anne's counties who open their studios to visitors on the Upper Shore (Kent County), the colonial seaport of Chestertown also has a wide selection of galleries. Chestertown artists are among the 50 artists in Kent and Queen Anne's counties who open their studios to visitors

“Artists flock to the Chesapeake Bay region in search of subject matter for paintings, sculptures, textiles and other forms of art.”

Each season brings new sources of inspiration – the ever-changing colors of the bay, its beaches, grasses, skies and forests, for instance.  Interesting shapes also emerge amid forms in nature and the region's abundant wildlife.

 

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