'Town & Gown' Merge to Make Art Show a Reality

  • Sunday, November 14, 2010

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Nov. 14. 2010) - Joey Gardner delivered on a promise last week that he made during his successful campaign earlier this year for a seat on the Princess Anne Town Council.

    In collaboration with businessman Jerry Bivens, Gardner was the driving force behind the conversion of Oscar's Americana Grille and Sports Bar into a bohemian art gallery - for one night.

    The Somerset Avenue establishment attracted a decidedly eclectic gathering that showed up to admire the works of Christopher Green, Angel Timmons and Kason Washington. The three University of Maryland Eastern Shore seniors are art majors scheduled to graduate this December.

    Gardner, a professional photographer, met Washington campaigning this past spring. They struck up a conversation about how to promote "town-and-gown" activities and the two agreed informally to work on staging an art show featuring student work.

    Gardner said he was impressed immediately by the quality of Washington's art and that of his classmates.

    Each hung 10 of their favorite pieces at Oscar's and then reveled in the praise from townspeople and fellow students - and in the case of Green, his mother, father and sister, who traveled from Virginia Beach to attend the show.

    "Their work is just beautiful - absolutely gorgeous," said Jennifer Sullivan, a Pennsylvania native who now lives in Princess Anne.

    Pam Lower of Princess Anne gazed in amazement at Green's spot-on reproduction of Rembrandt's self-portrait. "I don't know art, but that (oil painting) is really, really good. I can't believe college kids did this," she said.

    Gardner and Bivens were heartened by the night's turnout.

    Bivens said he is "always looking for something interesting to attract new customers."

    Green, a graphic illustration major, picked UMES after attending a science and technology summer camp while in high school. "It just seemed like a close-knit community."

    Timmons, who grew up in Baltimore, dabbled in art before college but had no formal training until she enrolled at UMES.

    "I thought it was going to be really hard," the applied design major said. "I ended up one of the top (art department) students. I'm really proud of that."

    Solomon Isekeije, interim chairman of UMES' Fine Arts Department, said Timmons, Green and Washington and their peers might be among the university's best-kept secrets.

    "We hope to change that," Isekeije said. "This is a start."

    Washington, who grew up in Towson and bears a resemblance to a young Eddie Murphy, called the one-night show "one of the most exciting nights of my life."

    Friends and strangers heaped praise on the applied design major as they gazed at his black-and-white pencil drawing of a male lion one observer said looked like the work of someone twice Washington's age.

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    Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, wrobinson3@umes.edu.

    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu.

     

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