PUBLIC ART TRAIL
Article by Anne Jenkins
Public art offers an interesting, unique and fun way to learn
about an area's history, quirks or local flora and fauna. Many
big cities around the world show off their artists talents with
decorated sculpture forms such as trams and fish in New Orleans,
La., bulls in Sydney, Australia or murals in London, England.
And now smaller towns and regions are realizing the benefits
beautification and economic
of public art. The popular holiday destination peninsular,
Delmarva, home to Delaware, Maryland and Virginia has an
intriguing trail of public art, much of it revolving around the
water and the life it sustains. Follow the art (working from
north to south), find hidden gems, stay in quaint B&B's or
boutique inns and absorb some fascinating history through art.
Milford DE detail of one of the murals by Mispillion Art
photo courtesy Downtown Milford inc
The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland and artist Bill
Dunlap launched a Poetry & Art in Rural Maryland Project in
2010. The venture features poetry-based murals on rural
structures throughout the state. Once the project is completed
they will establish a driving tour to encourage visitors to
travel to more out-of-the-way places with the lure of art and
poetry. It is as much an adventure of rural driving through
rolling bucolic countryside as it is art appreciation.
& Art in Rural Maryland Project, Barn Quilt Art at Crow Farm
Winery and B&B in Kennedyville, Md. Photo courtesy Kent County
Tourism and Economic Development Office
Tucked in among creeks and nooks of the Northern section of the
peninsular is Rock Hall, MD. Where the recent Clam House
restoration project is a fine example of public art raising
awareness to local history and giving a nod to modern changes.
Formerly a seafood processing plant, once derelict but
now fixed up to host a number of revitalization efforts focused
on marine related businesses and boasting an entire wall mural
by artist, Ken Castelli. Castelli's design mirrors his model
boat building skills.
Utilizing simple imagery, he incorporated the existing
windows on the side of the building to paint images of work
boats jostling beside each other very effectively.
mural is an exciting work of art and a major asset to the
community," Mark Einstein, Chairman of the Waterfront-Watermen
Committee said. "The clever design and color scheme adds a
welcomed spark to both the building and the harbor. "
Clam House mural photo by Suzanne Einstein
Further South in Caroline County around the towns of Denton and
Easton a new collaborative public art project called
Stitching Stories of
Freedom: A Byway Quilt Trail Honoring the Underground Railroad
is taking shape. Sixteen quilt block replicas have been
installed along significant sites of the Harriet Tubman
Underground Railroad Byway in Caroline County. A companion trail
guide will soon be available to visitors to show them the
location of each block, the block stories, and parking locations
for each site.
Stitching Stories of Freedom A Byway Quilt Trail Honoring the
photos courtesy Caroline County Council of Arts MD
Talbot County, Maryland also is the birthplace of Frederick
Douglas and they honor their native son with a fine art
sculpture by Jay Hall Carpenter on the Talbot County Courthouse
lawn in Easton. Another source of pride is a sculpture called
by Bart Walter,
this nod to nature depicting a family of geese stands in front
of the Waterfowl Festival Building.
|Frederick Douglass Memorial photo courtesy Mark Sandlin
A good base to explore Delmarva is the town of Milford in
Delaware. Check in to The Towers, a historic Victorian home now
a B&B right in the center of town within easy walking distance
of a number of restaurants and upmarket boutiques, art
galleries, studios, theatre and more.
The Milford Library in the center of town boasts a full wall
mural of the town by the late Jack Lewis, a prominent Delaware
artist. Around the corner from the library the local Mispillion
Art League members painted 6 large wall murals showing the towns
Milford mural by Mispillion Art League. Full length from Eastern
Photo courtesy Downtown Milford Inc
Downtown Milford Inc., (DMI) recently introduced Art on the
Riverwalk Tour (ART), a 3-year project placing boat sculptures
along their 3-mile Riverwalk . Milford's ship building history
inspired Lee Nelson, DMI's Executive Director,
to use the classic yacht Augusta, as a model.
The Augusta was built in Milford in 1927 of native white cedar.
She was the first of the luxury yacht line produced by the
Vinyard Shipbuilding Co. In 2010, Augusta
was restored,and put back into service at the yard that
built her 83 years ago by present owners, Sudler and Joan
Lofland. Today, Augusta and the Vinyard Shipbuilding Co.
is Delaware's only remaining shipbuilding site of the
original seven. They reflect the shipbuilding history and the
talented Milford craftsmen who worked here.
Milford DE ART Project.
Artist Anne Jenkins & Student Artist Ann McGehrin
depictng ship building history & bird life on the river.
courtesy Downtown Milford Inc
“The ART project is the good example of the revitalization and
rebranding of the town,” said Nelson. “We have various groups in
town working together, artists and students collaborating and it
encourages visitors to spend more time downtown.”
Milford DE ART Project. Artist
David Rule & Student Artist
Kim McKinney depicting the arts community.
Downtown Milford Inc
The projects first 6 boats are placed centrally downtown and
over the next 2 years, 18 will be in place. Local artists are
juried in and mentor a local high school student to decorate the
based on the town's branding of River
Town, Art Town, Home Town.・
DMI produced a brochure explaining the artist's design for each
boat and showing their locations.
Milford DE ART Project.
Artist Cathy Walls & Student Artist
depicting the hometown / community. Photo
courtesy Downtown Milford Inc
Cambridge, MD in Dorchester County has a number of murals and
mosiacs in town. They have just dedicated a new series of murals
in honor of James Michener's
highlight the area's natural heritage, both done by local mural
artist, Michael Rosato. One is on a train caboose on Maryland
Avenue in Cambridge and features Canada geese. The second on the
side of J. M. Clayton Seafood, overlooking Cambridge Creek,
portrays The Watermen, a great blue heron,.
MD artist Michael Rosato works on the Canada geese mural Photo
by Dave Harp
rich history, unique Chesapeake culture and expansive landscapes
are known by people around the world thanks in part to Michener’s
said County Tourism Director Amanda Fenstermaker.
inspiring works of art help tell our many stories to visitors
|Cambridge MD Heron Photo by Jill Jasuta Dorchester Tourism
Down at the beach Ocean City is known as the
The Ocean City Development Corporation, commissioned a White
Marlin sculpture in stainless steel, by eastern shore artist,
Paul Lockhart. The marlin joins a long list of
public art in many forms - sculptures, wall murals,
painted utility boxes, and designed brick pavers in Ocean City.
|White Marlin sculpture, photo courtesy of Glenn Irwin Ocean City
Public art can stir up local pride or fire up controversy,
either way it is an exciting addition to any town. Public art
encourages visitors to the area helping to create economic
for locals and tourists alike, it is a neat way to study local
history and find out more about the area.