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June marked one year for me writing for this newspaper, and it has been an incredible journey so far. The readers I have heard from, the staff, and all of you producing wonderfully complex works of art has made this job not only artistically fulfilling, but also incredibly enjoyable. I had no idea that we lived in such an artistically-centered community when I moved here. I said last year, from a position where I didn’t know better, that you might read my little section of the paper because you’re artistically inclined or you’re just interested in events happening locally, figuring it was one or the other. I certainly didn’t expect it to be a passionate interest for both. Before I talk even more about local art creators, which I have happily done for the past several months, I’d like to remind you of the theatrical productions scheduled for the near future!

Last month I spoke with the Thurmont Thespians once again, after discovering that their upcoming show this month will be their last. They are putting all of their energy into making their last show their very best one, and it will be something I highly recommend attending. There’s something special in viewing a theatrical performance put on by extremely passionate performers. Certain plays demand a particular kind of passion to be put on effectively, and the Thespians are showcasing the perfect play for such an event, Footloose. If you’re in the mood for a night chock full of entertaining dancing, singing and storytelling, stop by The American Legion building in Thurmont! It will be performed July 21st – 24th and July 28th – 31st. Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s shows are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show is at 2 p.m.

If you’re looking for another play to hold you over before the Thespians go out strong, The Totem Pole Playhouse is set to show One Slight Hitch, a theatrical comedy about unforeseen complications on a bride’s wedding day. I have seen this play in the past, and I promise you’ll love it! It makes for a very funny evening. It will be shown July 8th – July 24th, with times ranging from 8 p.m. to 2 p.m. depending on whether it’s a weekday or on a weekend. Check their website for ticket details!

This month, I’d like to talk about some recent happenings in Taneytown, especially from an arts perspective. Within the past year or two, Taneytown has had a resurging interest in producing art birthed from personal inspiration and through learned skill. A perfect example came just this past month, with the Taneytown Wine, Music & Art Festival, which took place on June 18.

This is the fifth year for the annual festival, and many talented groups have emerged with a variety of artistic creations. I’d like to spend some time introducing them to you! They’re very lovely people, committed to creating artistic works which you can admire and purchase if you’re so inclined.

One such case is Lighthouse Lazer, a business in Sykesville that creates custom engravings. Maryellen Shaffer, with her husband Lance, are involved in every step of the process. She told me, “We feel very strongly about that we need to support any of our local businesses including artists.” Their customers include brides and other businesses who look for custom, well-produced engravings on glass trophies, monograms, guestbooks, and much more. They produce beautiful work, examples of which can be found on their Facebook page and their website. They’re friendly and very professional, a great fit if you are looking for custom engraving work, much of which is creative in scope.

Present at the Festival this year was Nancy Lee Horn, owner/operator/designer of Nandick Hill Studios. She specializes in producing images of nature burned on wood, and their intricacy is remarkable. She also creates fine art and engravings.

I spoke with her for this article and she was very enthusiastic about the recent promotion of art in Taneytown.

I am all for anyone that wants to promote the Arts. Art is in every aspect of our lives. It is in our homes, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the music we listen to and the movies and plays we see. I am so impressed when I am at an art show and some kids stop and watch me burn. They ask all kinds of questions and so many say “I wish I could do that.” But without encouragement they won’t even try. Any promotion of the Arts is great and I support Taneytown 100% in this.

I agree with her views completely. It’s incredible how many of us are committed to art when it is often glossed over in favor of other interests, like sports or the “standard” courses like Math and Science (although both are necessary for a well-rounded education). If you are interested in her work, and would like to contact her for more information about custom-work or the purchase of some her pieces, you can contact her at (410) 857-4707, or by email at nandick2@verizon.net

Another arts group present at the Festival was the COB51 Arts Studio, which stands for Create Outside the Box. They specialize in teaching of artistic skill, a perfect venue for the first timer or for parties! They are also a fun date idea, different from the usual picnics, hikes, or the dinner and movie variety.

Lisa, operator of the studio, told me “We have been open almost one full year and we are a full service art studio offering classes for adults and kids in drawing, painting, we have art clubs and camps for kids, walk in crafts, we do onsite and off site paint night events etc!” But what stands out about this studio is their teaching of Ebru art, the most popular form of paper marbling. Ebru art is mesmerizing to watch. It’s created by sprinkling paint onto oily water, then transferring the design to paper. I’ll link two videos below which demonstrate the technique.

They’re a lovely little getaway at a great price. COB51 Art Studio is located at 51 East Main Street in Westminster, MD. They can be reached by phone at (410) 491-1172, their website can be found here, as well as their calendar of events, which can be found here.

The vendors at the Taneytown Arts Festival are committed to their work, and Max from has been a longtime seller at the event, having been in attendance since the very first one. What she told me about the changes she’s seen in his time at the festival is, in my view, pretty eye-opening:

I have had a booth there since the first art and wine festival five years ago and I have seen it explode in size over that time. I can honestly say that I feel the festival has been instrumental in the expansion of local art awareness in the Taneytown area. The questions my clientele ask about process and technique have changed too. More people ask how something is made now, rather than how much it costs.

She is now the main operator of Bent Wrapped and Hammered, a business that creates unique handcrafted jewelry, often composed of sterling silver, brass, or copper. Like many of the artists mentioned here, her work is inspired by nature, but she’s inspired by sci-fi elements as well! This is just a handful of her work, all of which can be found online!

If you’d like to reach her, she is available by phone at (410) 861-0629, or by email at info@bentwrappedandhammered.com. Her online store can be found here, and the list of events she will be attending is here!

Besides the copious amount of interesting art at the Festival, there were live performances by individuals and bands. Jazz and folk music are the most popularly recognized music that has emerged from Maryland, and you can find their influences in the blues performers that took the stage at the festival. This included the band The Smokin’ Polecats, who were headed by lead vocalist Mary Shaver.

Both the band and Mary Shaver have music that I’d highly recommend listening for online, if you want a taste of their respective styles of playing. Mary Shaver’s voice has been compared to Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin. You can find her first record, No Time Like Now, on Spotify or Amazon. In particular, I recommend the following tracks: You Took Away My Blues, which has a plethora of instrumentation found in modern, 80s and classical 1920s blues compositions, and Just Your Fool, with a guitar progression that will probably remind you of the production on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Texas Flood, most notably his famous track Pride and Joy.

The Smokin’ Polecats are another local group, who specialize in all tastes of blues music. You will hear influences from many subgenres of the blues in their oeuvre, especially the New Orleans, Piedmont and Soul Blues. On their website you can hear a sampling of their recordings, my personal track recommendations being Mojo Boogie and Rock This House.

I find a lot of joy in discovering budding art movements, and in a place like Taneytown, there is certainly a great amount of inspiration to draw from. Taneytown has not been known for as a hub for art until recently. Before this recent surge of interest by members of the community, Taneytown was mostly known for its historical significance. It could have once been the battleground for a major Civil War battle, which wound up occurring in Gettysburg. George Washington wrote about Taneytown in his correspondences, and it holds many listings in the National Register of Historic Places, especially the Bullfrog Road Bridge, which was built in 1908.

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But there is so much more to Taneytown than just its history, as its commitment to art reveals. Vintage Colors, an art gallery, antique shop and interior design store all in one, is a great highlight of this local commitment. Founded in 2013 at 1 Frederick Street in Taneytown by Dave Hammond, you will discover an eclectic mix of fine art, beautiful knick-knacks and inviting home décor.

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Dave Hammond and Lauren Wieprecht, both a part of Vintage Colors, have been major contributors to the growing arts movement in Taneytown. In January of this year they founded Taneytown for the Arts, a nonprofit group intended to foster love for and creation of the arts. They created this group for the exact reason that the Thurmont Thespians and The Totem Pole Playhouse founded their organizations: to build a closer community through the appreciation and participation in fine arts, whether that be the performing or visual arts.

And like the Thurmont Thespians, Taneytown for the Arts recognizes the importance of having all ages participate in the creation of art. Dave believes that introducing the young into the arts is key in establishing a strong, close artistic community. At the Taneytown Arts Festival, the group set up a booth for most of the day, to set up their presence for locally created art. And following a day’s length out in the community, they welcomed visitors to hear the winners of the Youth Artist Award.

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The theme that the Taneytown for the Arts group had this year for the Youth Artist Award was “Building a Community of Hope.” And like the art at the Arts Festival, there were a diverse number of mediums utilized to express this idea, including the commonly known pen and ink, and acrylic on canvas. The winner of the People’s Choice Award, where members of the community voted on their favorite piece, as well as the winner of the Visual Arts Award was Jasmin Snair. The winner of the Performing Arts Award was Maggie Hall. It was a beautiful night of community gathered around for a beautiful purpose.

There is an event coming up with the group which you can participate in as well. The group is having a Paint Night Fundraiser, which is a great way to come out and support your community! Anyone can come, experienced and non-experienced alike, and have fun painting a work of art called Jellyfish Dance.

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Admission is $35, which is an excellent price considering that all the materials for the fundraiser are covered in your ticket. It will take place on Friday, July 22nd. Further details can be found on the Taneytown for the Arts’ Facebook page.

There are big changes on the horizon for Taneytown, and Taneytown for the Arts. Vintage Colors, the birthplace of the group, will be closing its doors this month, its last day being July 10. If you read this in time, please check it out! The people there are so friendly and very talented, and the pieces you find there might have you take out your wallet! I also suggest visiting The Red Door Boutique, a locally owned home décor and gift shop with a beautiful amount of art worth your visit. They can be found at 16 West Baltimore Street in Taneytown.

The Red Door Boutique is a quaint, beautiful place like Vintage Colors, in that many items in the store are items you have always wanted without you knowing it. It’s a great stop if you live in or are passing through Taneytown!

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There is a lot happening in our community with the arts, and it is something we often take for granted, myself included. Let’s be grateful that we have so much to do, so much to see, and so many places to be in this lovely community of ours.

PDF: ENJ ~ July 2016

 

 

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