Dozens of artists par­tic­i­pate in an­nual Havre de Grace art show

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRAD KRONER

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


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.

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