Dozens of artists participate in annual Havre de Grace art show
Special from the Bargaineer
— Dozens of artists from around the region and the country gathered in Millard Tydings Memorial Park for the annual Havre de Grace Art Show last weekend.
Now in its 53rd consecutive year, the Havre de Grace Art Show is among the longest running art shows in the state.
“I think it’s the oldest cultural art show in Harford County, maybe even in Maryland,” said Cindy Height, one of the event’s chief organizers.
Height emphasized the cultural impact the event has on the city.
“It stimulates an interest in trying to do,” she said. “It stimulates creativity.”
The show gives artists a chance to mingle with both potential customers and other artists.
“Everyone enjoys meeting the artists, learning about them and even seeing how they make their art,” Height said. “Art is very social.”
Artists from up and down the east coast came to Havre de Grace for the show.
“They bring in people from all over the place to this show,” said Bonnie Castillo, Havre de Grace’s tourism coordinator. “There are some amazing crafts here. It’s better than anything you can see in a mall.”
Mark and Matt DeMichele — who are based in Sarasota — have been making sand sculptures for the family business, Nautical
HAVRE DE GRACE
Shawn Forton displayed his art, which is focused on professional sports.
Sand Sculptures, for their entire lives.
“It’s a family business, so we were forced to do it growing up,” Mark joked.
His grandmother started the business in 1985, he said.
Asked what brought them all the way to Havre de Grace from Florida, Mark said, “It’s an art show, man. It’s a great show.”
Art is a family affair for the Troutmans, too.
Although Mary Lou Troutman was not at the art show — she was at her home studio in St. Mary’s County — her husband was at the show, selling and promoting her work.
“She’s pretty much known as a nautical artist,” Jeff Troutman said. “She paints where we live.”
Troutman has been a crabber for 40 years, he said. Crabbing has influenced the theme of Mary Lou’s art.
“She likes the bay theme,” he said.
Mary Lou has been going to art shows for 40 years.
“She’s been painting, and I’ve been toting and fetching and framing,” Troutman said.
Several artists at the show shared Troutman’s interest in nautical art, including Steve Lucy.
“I’ve been making art since third grade. That was just two years ago,” the man joked. “In third grade, I got in trouble for it, so I know I was doing something right.”
His art focuses on nautical scenes. For many years, Lucy worked on charter boats in the Atlantic Ocean.
“I worked on the ocean, and that’s just what I saw,” he explained.
Molly Sims, who also enjoys painting natural scenes, was showing her art at this show for the first time.
“Nature is my inspiration and portraying the beauty within the ordinary,” she said.
Her oil paintings display animals and flora in natural settings.
One of her favorites, she said, is a painting of sunflowers.
“I have done art my whole life,” she said. Sims began creating art for commission while she was in college. In 1996, she graduated from Spokane Falls Community College in Washington with a degree in graphic design and an emphasis in illustration. She has sold numerous paintings in the U.S. and in England.
Kyle Wilson’s photography meanwhile, differed a little bit from much of the other art on display.
“Sunsets and flowers are one thing,” he said, “but abandoned stuff is quite another.”
Wilson — who won second place at the show — is a photographer based in North Carolina. The name of his business is Left Behind Photography.
Wilson said he was introduced to photography by his father, a state trooper who got into photography by taking photos of crime scenes. His father later took photos of weddings as well as portraits.
Living in North Carolina, Wilson would take photos of “abandoned stuff,” but he never thought anyone would appreciate his photography.
“I didn’t think anybody would like this abandoned stuff,” he said.
His girlfriend encouraged him to try to sell his work. Wilson was reluctant, until his girlfriend surprised him by having one of his pieces framed and giving it to him.
“It’s one thing when you see the photo on the device, but it’s another when you see the actual thing,” he said.
Wilson tries to capture photographs from everyday life.
“It’s whatever I see traveling the backroads,” he said. “There seems to be no shortage of things people leave behind. I try to find the beauty in everyday things like rusty pickup trucks and abandoned farm houses.”
“When I see a no trespassing sign, I want to know what you’re hiding,” he said. “That’s like a welcome sign for me.”
The art show is also an opportunity for young artists to gain exposure, said Nikki Ishak, a 2D designer and illustrator based in Havre de Grace.
Ishak, 19, won first place in the student category at the Havre de Grace Art Show in 2015.
This year, Ishak took second.
“It’s been pretty good for me,” Ishak said, adding that she was able to sell three originals.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said, noting the large amount of artists at the show. “I don’t always get around to all of the booths by the last day.”
She encouraged young artists to attend and participate in the show.
“I would encourage young people to use this show to start with,” she said. “It’s not too big or expensive. It gives local exposure, which is just as important as online.”
Liz Lawson, another young artist based in Havre de Grace, agreed, saying that it could light a spark for young people to get interested in art. Some people, she said, can get discouraged from pursuing art.
“You might get a lot of young people that might learn to love art,” she said.
Art is a powerful medium for people to express themselves and send a message, said Lawson.
“It’s therapeutic, and it’s a way to say what you need to say without bombarding people,” she explained.
Trevor Slade, an artist based in Street echoed the role that art plays in shining a light on serious issues.
Slade said his art focuses on “expressing things that aren’t expressed enough,” noting that some viewpoints are oppressed by the world.
“My art is a rejection of the current art world,” he said. “It’s a rejection of capitalism. But it’s an acceptance of the truth and the world around us.”
Art can also serve as a healing power.
Sean Simmons said he started photography “as a release” after his military service ended.
“It helps with the mind to settle down and relax and enjoy natural beauty,” he said.
Nathaniel Badder is the owner and artist behind 36 Letters.