Quilts and the Stories They Tell
On exhibit January 7 – March 14, 2021
Take a close look at a quilt and you can almost hear the words of the maker, the fabric, and the purpose of this utilitarian work of art. But while every quilt has a backstory, the story quilt starts with a message. A story quilt may include words, photos, non-traditional fabrics, and embellishments along with more standard quilting techniques and materials.
This exhibit brings together the stories of a variety of individuals – master quilt artist Lauren Kingsland, her apprentice Grammy award-winning Cathy Fink, and members of the Uhuru Quilters Guild. While the expertise of the quilters varies, each artist has the ability to tell a story in fabric in a unique and nuanced way, through choices of color, texture, design, and embellishment.
Ms. Kingsland shares a series of personal story journal page quilts marking significant moments in her life as well as one of her newest works, “Why I Vote.” Among Ms. Fink’s quilts is one about a song she wrote honoring a friend who died in the AIDS epidemic, an ironic project to complete during another pandemic. And among the varied quilts on exhibit by the Uhuru Quilters are those that respond to current events through the long lens of history. Some of the artists have exhibited nationally, like one by Angela Lanier, whose work was recently juried into We Are The Story at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, MN.
Artina 2020: LIGHT: A Sculptural Solar Dance
On Exhibit August 5 – November 29, 2020
This outdoor juried sculpture garden curated by Gaby Mizes featured works by members of the Washington Sculptors Group installed throughout the rustic museum grounds.
As climate change concerns continue to rise, we need to increase the uptake of renewable energy to help reduce the use of polluting fossil fuels. In this exhibit, LIGHT: A Sculptural Solar Dance, artists used renewable energy sculptures to represent a need for better environmental responsibility. Work in this exhibition re-imagines solar energy as an art form. It adopts sunlight as the medium, the subject matter, or the energy source of the art. Artists explored how light, sun, sound, and energy intersect, capturing the importance of sustainability by using solar energy in existing or site-specific outdoor sculptures: art made from sunlight—the energy source for life on Earth. These sculptural displays celebrate the energy of the sun’s warming rays.
In thinking through the dance between art and light, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s and American artist James Turrell’s thoughts may come to mind:
“I am obsessed with light. How light forms a space. How a space forms light. As a child I grew up in Iceland where there is no sunlight in the winter. It simply stays dark all day. Light became something that pulled people together. Light became a way of connecting to other people. Light is social. Light is life.”
“Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation.”
About the Juror and Curator
María Gabriela (“Gaby”) Mizes is originally from Argentina. She graduated from the Instituto Argentina de MuseologÍa in Buenos Aires and Columbia University in New York and has worked around the world for many museums and art institutions. These include the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York as Assistant Curator of the traveling exhibition Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century; and the American Federation of Arts, where she handled traveling exhibitions in the United States and abroad.
In Washington, DC, Gaby founded Latin American ERA, a private consultancy company providing expertise in exhibitions and art collections management for national and international projects, and has worked for the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and several private art collections. She is currently the Director of Registration at Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, where she has been coordinating exhibition installations, managing the outgoing loans program, planning and designing art storage facilities, and caring for the collection for thirteen years.
Makers Among Us
On Exhibit October 9 – November 23, 2020
Makers Among Us features the work of young, emerging visual artists living in the Washington, DC metro area. The exhibit highlights the freedom, imperfections, creativity, and unique perspectives of artists who are just beginning their artistic careers, and who do not necessarily have years of experience and formal training under their belts. Makers Among Us provides a platform for contemporary artists who have had limited opportunities to share their work with the public and a space for audiences to discover new talent and perspectives.
The individual artists are driven to create but also to share their work with you, the viewer. Their art is not only a vehicle for self-expression but also an avenue to communicate with audiences across generations and other perceived boundaries.
Naja Elon Webb
About the Curator
Gabi Mendick is a self-taught artist who finds that her lack of formal training gives her greater freedom to explore and express her ideas and to experiment with a wide variety of media. She believes art and humor are accessible vehicles to connect with each other, ways to express opinions and emotions that are honest but thoughtful, and that can open considerate debate and discussion. Ms. Mendick views art as a way to begin to understand the least significant and the most significant similarities and differences between people. As the exhibit curator, Ms. Mendick wanted to give other informally-trained artists a platform to express themselves.
An American Story: Jewish & Muslim Perspectives
On exhibit March 5-May 31, 2020
Jews and Muslims Making Art Together (JAMMART) is a group of unaffiliated, Muslim, and Jewish artists, that gathered together in 2008 for the purpose of creating art, learning about each other’s beliefs and values, and ultimately becoming friends. As they learned more about one another, they decided to create a work of art that focused on areas of deep intersection. The resulting work, composed of paint, fiber, metal, glass, ceramic, and wood, is a declaration of the beauty contained within the two religions and the intermingling of shared values and beliefs.
An American Story exhibited the original JAMMART artwork plus works by sixteen individual artists who are members of JAMMART – all of whom are immigrants, children of immigrants, or grandchildren of immigrants. JAMMART hopes that these works can be a reminder of the ideals that the United States was founded upon. JAMMART’s members want their art to show the power of friendship, community, faith, hope, and love.
Art Dolls: Figurative Sculptures Tell a Story
On exhibit January 9 – March 1, 2020
Reception: Sunday, January 12, 1 pm – 3 pm
This exhibit featured the work of students enrolled in doll making classes at Montgomery College taught by Wendelin Daniels. Her students explore mixed media art and the human form through the design and creation of original art dolls.
The dolls show a wide range of personae — from portrait dolls of historical figures to fantasy dolls, and everything in between. Adorned with their own distinctive costumes, accessories, and props, each doll conveys a unique individual personality and story. Unlike dolls that are manufactured as children’s toys, art dolls are irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind figurative sculptures.
The exhibit also illustrated some of the procedures used in making art dolls so the audience can see “behind the seams.” Doll making is a painstaking process that requires many skills including sculpting, painting, designing, wig making, costuming, and sewing. But it all begins with an idea — a vision of who the artist wants to create. Students refine their original concepts through brainstorming and research. They develop drawings of the character they have in mind, which includes sketches of the face and proportional drawings of the body and then delve into sculpting, painting, and assembling the doll. Costumes are created after the doll’s body is completed. Careful editing takes place throughout the process to ensure the clear communication of ideas. Students often utilize found objects in implementing their design as they undergo creative problem-solving and repurposing of existing materials. In the end, students are rewarded and delighted with seeing their vision brought to life
Action and Reaction by Mark Goldman
Exhibited January 9 – March 1, 2020
Action and Reaction by Mark Goldman centered on the two most important parts of sports photojournalism: action and reaction. The exhibit captured the instantaneous intensity, athleticism, and success created through highlighting game action of area professional and collegiate level sports teams, while also revealing the competitiveness, heart and emotion behind each player’s reaction. An accomplished photographer Mark utilizes his skills in photography, to reveal the in depth knowledge of sports it takes to photograph picture-perfect moments in such a fast-paced, competitive environment. He demonstrates his knowledge of a variety of sports by being one step ahead of the game action by carefully selecting proper placement, studying each sport, and watching the important interactions between players and coaches. The exhibit drew parallels and displayed the equal level of importance between action and reaction to convey the complete story of the game.
Fine Arts & Crafts Holiday Gift Show
November 29 – December 31, 2019
The annual Fine Arts & Crafts Holiday Gift Show features one-of-a-kind pieces including jewelry, quilts, pottery, and other fine arts and crafts – handmade by local artists. The Museum’s eleven resident artists offer their newest creations; ranging from glossy enamel work and mixed media collage to a variety of metal jewelry and unique had built ceramics.
In addition to the Museum’s many talented artists, local artists from the community have hand-crafted items made in a variety of media for sale. Every item on display for sale is unique and individually crafted by an artist who puts their heart and soul into making something special for everyone on your gift list.
Moments in Time
on exhibit August 1 – September 1, 2019
Each year, Sandy Spring Museum and the Olney Art Association work together to offer visitors new views of the surrounding area. This year’s theme was “Moments in Time.” On display were the beautiful works of local artists in varied mediums including watercolor, acrylic, oil and pastel. An opening reception was held Thursday, August 8.
Honoring Our Past, Celebrating the Future
On display January 3 – February 3
Closing Reception on February 2
An exhibit of art by students from the Barnesville School of Arts and Sciences, which explores and takes inspiration from the local history of the Sandy Spring community.
In early November, Middle School students spent a “Collaborative Day” visiting the Museum to prepare for this exhibit. Fifth through eighth graders explored a variety of objects from the museum’s collection, ranging from newspaper publications and handwritten correspondence to clothing, daguerreotypes (an early form of photographs), and athletic gear. Items were selected to represent four notable people from Sandy Spring’s past: suffragist Mary Bentley Thomas, baseball player Jack Bentley, postmaster and bank founder Alban Gilpin Thomas, and free black, shingle maker Remus Q. Hill.
Students were taught guidelines for object handling and were able to study pieces chosen specifically for this exercise. Explanations were shared of each item’s importance in the life of its prior owner. Students were asked to select objects that interested them most to sketch, and then wrote detailed descriptive paragraphs about them. These objects were the inspiration for artwork students created for the exhibit that will be on display at the museum through February 3.
Color Your Community
On display February 7 – April 28, 2019
Artists Martha Spak and Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg explored the interwoven quality of our Sandy Spring community through both two- and three-dimensional interpretation, inviting visitors to join them in creation of the art.
The exhibit included abstract expressionist oil and acrylic paintings, colorful film panels, life-scale figurative sculptures, and photos from the local community. Additionally, community members and guests joined in with the artists in finishing a mural depicting Sandy Spring faces and places, forming the unifying center of this exhibit. Visitors were invited to add to the mural, in both color and content, to join in the dialogue of the communal form itself. This visual dialogue invited visitors to explore the artist that resides in each of us and illustrate their unique place in the Sandy Spring Community.
Colored Folks: We Come in Every Shade
On display May 2 – July 28, opening reception May 2
“Colored Folks” is an art exhibit of Normon Greene’s paintings that show people as they really are- a mixture of colors, sizes, and differences. People come in all colors, from very light skin to very dark skin and all shades in between. This exhibit will display a collection of paintings celebrating our differences and similarities and the many ways in which we complement each other.
Greene draws inspiration from a number of art historical periods including cubism and futurism. He admires the expression and forms of Marcel and Raymond Duchamp, Henry Moore, and Umberto Boccioni. In his art, he strives to honor the human form through reflections on people’s relationships with themselves, each other, and their environments.
St. John’s Episcopal School: Our Life in Art
On display May 2 – July 28, opening reception May 2
“Our Life in Art” features artwork from the students of St. John’s Episcopal School. Students have been working since October 2018 on these pieces and are thrilled to have the community view their work. For most students this is their first formal exhibition.
Each class, kindergarten through eighth grade, created a collaborative artwork that focuses on subjects such as reflections of themselves, their community, the world around them, religion, spirituality, and personal values.
Upper School students, fifth through eighth grade, were selected as solo artists and designed large-scale drawings and paintings that concentrate on personal experiences and ideals that they value as important. Their artwork consists of many different media including colored pencil, pastel, acrylic paint, and graphite.
CreativitY, with a capital WHY?
on display September 5- November 24, 2019
An exhibit of creative people at work captured in action by professional photographer Larry Marc Levine. Mr. Levine is interested in watching people create different forms of art and finds it as fascinating as the creative process itself. For this exhibit, he interviewed and photographed a variety of talented individuals from different backgrounds with experience in different areas including a glass blower, a Native American pow wow dancer, painters, fabric artists, a Chinese zither player, a violin maker, and many others. Most of these creative spirits are from the local Montgomery County area. Levine believes that respect for the individual and appreciation for diversity of people, of ideas, of processes are all important aspects of his photography.
Courtesy: Maryland Humanities
Home Before Sunset- Celebration of a Rural Community
An exhibit by the Countryside Artisans of Maryland
On exhibit September 27 – November 18, 2018
In 1814, the Quakers built their meetinghouse in Sandy Spring village. A six-mile radius from the Sandy Spring Meeting House defined that rural community, as this was the farthest members of the Meeting could travel to and from the meetinghouse by horse or carriage in one day, arriving home before sunset.
Today, we can travel farther than six miles in one day and still be home by sunset, but the foundation of a rural community still lies within that day trip. The Countryside Artisans of Maryland, a group of artists that live in the countryside within a day’s drive, brings that rural community back to life. Wind your way through the exhibit and experience this rural way of life and community. On display will be art in ceramics, glass, enamel, stone, wool, oil paint, watercolor, pastel, and much more.
The Art of Stewardship Project
The Art of Stewardship Project is a private foundation established by the Mort Family to encourage stewardship of the earth and environmental awareness through the arts. A grass roots effort, The Art of Stewardship Project assists arts communities by organizing and providing forums for interaction and dialogue offering resources and opportunities to artists in their role as Stewards of our Earth.
Painter, Greg Mort’s collection consists of 8 large-scale giclée canvas mounted prints. Mort’s prints were on display at the Museum during the 2018 Fall Gala on October 25th.
My Life, Marks of a Needle
An exhibit of traditional Korean quilting and textiles by In Sook Park
This special exhibit highlighted an art form that dates back to the 14th century. These quilted patchworks were historically used as wrapping cloths – covering sacred texts, food, or as clothing (for “wrapping” a loved one). More than 50 textiles were flown in from Korea. Sandy Spring Museum is the only location in the United States where this work was exhibited.
ARTINA 2018: Introspective
Sculpture Park at Sandy Spring Museum
ARTINA 2018: Introspective is the third collaboration between Sandy Spring Museum and Washington Sculptors Group. Up to 20 sculptures were on view in this outdoor exhibit juried by Cecilia Wichmann. ARTINA 2018: Introspective asks the visitor to explore through sculpture our conscious thoughts, feelings, psychological processes, or other human acts of self-reflection as they relate to the landscape.
TogethR A Part
An audience immersive experience, this performance by members of Sinclair Dance explored the experiential concept of being free while living in the shadows of societal constraints and social constructions.
See highlights by clicking here.
Uprooted: The Art of Refugees
Conflicts around the globe and the current political climate have put an acute focus on the plight of refugees. Six refugee artists from different areas of the world, including Iraq, Ethiopia, and Somalia, shared paintings and drawings that express the stories of their personal journeys.
Memories, dreams, and the history of their respective homelands were depicted, as well as the transitions and changes arising from their new lives in the USA. The participating artists included Fetun Getachew, Ahmad AlKarkhi, Alemzewd Alemu, Khalid Alaani, Rand Shihab and Abdurahman Abukam Mohamed.
Listen to NPR coverage of the exhibit.
The Sikh Project: Turban and Identity by Amit and Naroop
The turban has been the most powerful and obvious symbolism of the identity of a Sikh. The Sikh Project is a celebration of that identity. Historically, the turban was worn by royalty and the rich in South Asia. The turban, as an article of faith in Sikhism, is a public declaration of sovereignty and equality of all people.
Sikhs have been a vital part of the American fabric for over 125 years. The 38 new portraits captured by London photographers Amit and Naroop embody the beauty and diversity of the community and recognize the challenges and triumphs of what it means to be Sikh in America.
This exhibit was made possible through a partnership with The Sikh Coalition.
Wellspring Visions was an exhibit of art works made by residents of Sandy Spring Friends House in a variety of media including paintings, prints, drawings, pastels, photography, ceramics and textiles.
Wellspring Artists was established at Friends House in 2011 for the purpose of inspiring and giving encouragement to those who create art and those who aspire to do so. Members are professional and avocational artists. The group maintains a small gallery space in Flower Alley of the Main Building. It is open to all residents whether or not they are currently practicing artists.
Friends House is a 50-year old retirement community located in Sandy Spring, Maryland. This non-profit organization was established in 1967 by Quakers to provide affordable housing and fulfilling retirement experiences for seniors. The multicultural community is based on values that include equality, simplicity and peace.
Inner Light: A Collaboration with ManneqART
Original wearable sculptures created by artists from around the country, responding to the theme of Inner Light, chosen because of Sandy Spring’s Quaker heritage. The sculptures illustrated the duality of lightness and darkness, positive and negative.
The Inner Light is your connection to something greater than yourself. In order to find your Inner Light, you must also have an understanding of darkness. The Inner Light opens the unity of all human beings to our consciousness. Quakers believe that the potential for good exists in everyone and that your Inner Light can shine through darkness. Everyone has an Inner Light but one must be willing to seek it.
Ballerinas and Butterflies
Photographer David Wonderling exposed both the beauty of nature and determined skill in this exhibit.
Wonderling invited his audience to study the juxtaposition between the graceful beauty of nature’s butterflies and the similar exquisite grace of a ballerina’s training, dedication, and determination.
Having photographed a variety of subjects, Wonderling felt these two were his most challenging projects. Neither butterflies nor ballerinas hold still for long!
The images of ballerinas featured in his exhibit were captured at the Studio of Ballet Arts in Sandy Spring and the butterflies at the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton.
Celebrating our Neighborhoods
On exhibit August 2 to September 2, 2017
For many years, Sandy Spring Museum and the Olney Art Association have worked together to offer visitors new views of the surrounding area. In this year’s theme, “Celebrating Our Neighborhoods,” each artist has strived to capture that special something in our neighborhood, loosely defined as the 6-mile radius stemming from the Sandy Spring Meeting House – that gives him or her cause to celebrate.
With an exhibit of over 40 original works of art by members of the Olney Art Association in multiple media, they celebrated the everyday life in these communities – Ashton, Brighton, Brinklow, Brookeville, Burtonsville, Cloverly, Ednor, Norbeck, Norwood, Oakdale, Olney, Sandy Spring, Spencerville, Sunshine, Roslyn, Tridelphia and Unity.
ARTINA 2017: (Re)use and Abuse of the Land
on exhibit June 29 – September- 30, 2017
Wind your way through a sculpture park of original works of art situated on the museum’s rustic grounds. ARTINA 2017 created awareness among visitors of the need to reconnect with the land and preserve nature for future generations. It included installations that interpret historic land use.
Juried by Ursula Achternkamp, artists include c.l. bigelow, Elsabé Dixon, Mary Annella “Mimi” Frank, Eve Hennessa, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Jin Lee, Cat Lukens, Raina Martens, Grant McFarland, Maryanne Pollock, Marc Robarge, Casey Snyder, and Diane Szczepaniak.
ARTINA 2017 is the second collaboration between Sandy Spring Museum and Washington Sculptors Group. This project is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Elegant Simplicity: Artists’ views of the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House
on exhibit June 29 through July 29.
A community-curated exhibit that brought together a collection of historic and contemporary images of the Friends Meeting House, as we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the construction of the Meeting House. This place of worship has captured the attention of artists, from professionals to amateurs. Images in this show included painting, photographs and models made by community members. This beautiful building has been enjoyed for its simple beauty and we honor it for its part in the life of our community.
Palimpsest: Layers of Time
on exhibit April 1 – July 29, 2017
An exhibit of new photo-collages by Gail Rebhan that are an unsentimental look at the cultural history of various locations in the Sandy Spring, Maryland area. Ms. Rebhan examined changes in land use as a result of shifting societal values, desires, government actions, and market forces and blending archival and contemporary photographs, along with historical newspaper articles, maps, advertisements, ephemera, and text into one final image for each site. Using layers of various opacities, she conveyed a sense that the past never goes away and continues to influence the present.
The image depicted here, “18035 Georgia Avenue, Olney, Maryland – 1917/2016,” explored the evolution of a family business that operated from 1885 to 2004. Beginning as Finneyfrock’s blacksmith shop, it evolved into Finneyfrock’s Power Equipment and Welding Company. Currently, Domino’s Pizza and Al Sospiro Trattoria operate at this location. This photo-collage blended a 1917 photograph with today’s scene. The artist’s writing, a handmade cake dish, 1956 receipt, 1999 advertisement, and a 1967 patent document provided evidence of the site’s changing uses. Click here for a review of the exhibit. This project was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Face to Face: The Evolving Story of Sandy Spring
on exhibit October 4 – November 18, 2017
This exhibit by members of the Maryland Society of Portrait Painters featured works inspired by the people and places of Sandy Spring, past and present. Artists connected with the community of Sandy Spring using photos of contemporary local residents and images from the Sandy Spring Museum archives. See Sandy Spring’s people, landscape and history portrayed in artwork through a variety styles and media including oil, watercolor, clay and pastel.
Winston Harris: Time Tradition and American-Made Series, on exhibit January 11 – April 1, 2017
This exhibit of new and existing work identified the artist’s interest in the importance of time as an event itself. During his residency at the museum, Mr. Winston worked with students of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. The artist’s intention was to create connections between people of different ethnicities and show how everyday personal objects are uniquely linked to the students’ cultures. Original prints by the students as well as collages by Mr. Harris that combine student work with his own were on exhibit. This exhibit was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Jim Thomas: A Sandy Springer Travels the World
In the spirit of the Annals Of Sandy Spring, in which travelers from our area in the old days returned from foreign lands with tales of their adventures, this photography recaptured that experience with a few pictures and stories from Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America (Africa and South America coming soon?) The photographer, Jim Thomas, is a lifelong resident of Sandy Spring, and a direct descendant of John Thomas, who, together with James Brooke, founded Sandy Spring in 1728.
Dirk Holger: Blue Earth: January 4 – February 25, 2017
Works by Dirk Holger, resident of Olney and native of Germany, who fell in love with the process and product of tapestry while it was in a nascent comeback led by Jean Lurçat, for whom Mr. Holger served as an assistant. While only several of Mr. Holger’s tapestries were on exhibit, you could see the artist’s pen drawings have a woven, hatched quality that would lend themselves to tapestry. Indeed the artist had that in mind when he created the first of his Blue Earth series.
Living through the Lens: Photographs by Christina Koutsoukos and works of art by students at Quince Orchard High School
This memorial exhibit, curated by Nina Cordaro, was a tribute to her cousin Christina Koutsoukos. Christina was a budding young photographer when she was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 18. Her dreams and creative vision live on through her photos, which were on exhibit, alongside works of art by some of her talented friends. On several dates, photos were sold to raise money for a charity in Haiti that Christina supported. On exhibit November 30 – January 7, 2017.
Color, Community and Connection, October 1 – November 19, 2016
Works of art by Maryland Colorists created in Sandy Spring of local scenery, residents, and artifacts in the museum’s collection. The artists presented a vision of continuously pursuing the expression of light’s myriad effects and how it illuminates the world around us. From landscapes and figurative works painted around Sandy Spring to still life paintings of artifacts in the Museum’s collections and plein-air portraiture of Sandy-Springers, viewers connected with the vibrancy that is Sandy Spring. Maryland Colorists: Michele del Pilar, Melissa Gryder, Abigail McBride, Nancy McCarra, Sarah Wardell, and Andree Tullier.
ARTINA: Art in Nature Sculpture Park, June 30 – September 30, 2016
Visitors experienced an unexpected encounter with art and nature, set on the Museum’s rustic grounds and throughout the adjacent woods, as 11 members of the Washington Sculptors Group showcased site-specific and time-based sculptures. Renowned art historian Martine Van Kampen of the Netherlands served as the exhibition’s juror. Several of these sculptures were constructed with community participation. The 11 artists who Van Kampen selected were Allan Arp, c.l. bigelow, Jeff Chyatte, Eve Hennessa, Jin Lee, Darcy Meeker, Vanessa Niederstrasser, Salvatore Pirrone, Mike Shaffer, Diane Szczepaniak, and Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin.
Spirit of Sandy Spring, July 27 – September 24, 2016
How often do you drive through Sandy Spring on Route 108 and stop to think about the area and how it came into existence? If you don’t take time to slow down and enjoy your surroundings, this exhibit was created for you, with more than 40 pieces of artwork in various media created by the artists of the Olney Art Association (OAA), each one telling its own unique story about the community as interpreted by our very talented neighbors.
Objects of Significance, June 8-September 3, 2016
Everyone has objects, heirlooms, or other personal items that hold special meaning about their origins, identity, or history. On display in this exhibit were objects, artwork, and artifacts of significance that people brought with them to the U.S. to maintain important cultural traditions. We examined the many reasons why people immigrate and migrate, the things they bring with them, and the things they leave behind.
Frame of Mind: Sandy Spring Project, June 20, 2015
Sandra Atkinson, Light Switch Dance Theatre, founder and artistic director of Light Switch Dance Theatre created a site-specific modern dance piece on the history of Sandy Spring. Sandra described the project this way, “I conducted research at the museum’s archives for about six months and visited various sites in the area, like the Quaker Meeting, the Sandy Spring, and the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, just to get a feel for the place. It seems that most people know that the Quakers freed their slaves about 50 years prior to the Civil War but I wanted to learn more about how the lives of Quakers and African Americans intersected in the years after the War. One of the most interesting documents I found in the archives was a receipt from a land purchase. It was a transaction between two women – one white and one black.” So how does this become a dance? “The movement is generated through words and images from my research. You will not see a literal interpretation of local history but you will see gestures that evoke certain images. My hope is that the experience of watching the dancers will make people want to engage in conversation.” Sandy Spring Project: Frame of Mind was accompanied by an original score written by Wesley Meyer, who also performed live at the event. One section of the dance piece was performed by students in the conservatory teen program at the Sandy Spring Studio of Ballet Arts.
The River’s Journey: From Sandy Spring to the Patuxent and Anacostia
The photographs of artist, Bruce McNeil, in this exhibit documented the flow of water from the eponymous Sandy Spring to the tributaries that lead to the Anacostia. From Sandy Spring, where McNeil claims, “one can drink the water from the ground” to the Anacostia, which is sometimes referred to as “one of America’s most-polluted rivers,” the journey is meant to inspire a feeling of connection to the beauty of the rivers and a sense of spiritual transformation.
With Pen and Camera: The Art of Ahmed and Ayah Belal
This exhibit featured Islamic calligraphy, geometric paintings, and architectural photography by local residents, artists, and father-daughter team Ahmed and Ayah Belal. With Pen and Camera explored both the geometry and lyricism of Islamic calligraphy and architecture through the eyes of two Egyptian-American artists.
Art of the Afrocentric Community
Works in wire by Floyd Roberts
This exhibit displayed a collection of multi-media sculptural works exploring issues of nature, race and artistic identity. Mr. Roberts, a native of the island of Trinidad, seeked to show the contributions and challenges of those of African and Caribbean descent to the artistic community. Mr. Roberts also expressed his concern for the environment and his appreciation of wildlife by creating pieces representing all corners of the animal kingdom, from the deep sea octopus to the wild horses of Assateague.
I See: Courtney Miller Bellairs
This exhibit was on display in Summer 2013. This was an exhibit of oil and water color paintings that referenced the spirit of Sandy Spring and its history. Her work addressed the ways one occupies space and the ways one assigns color and graphics to various objects. Bellairs also explored the Museum’s collection and created new pieces inspired by what she saw. Her favorite objects were documented visually and organized and regrouped by color and pattern in the community. She enabled viewers to see the items in the collection in a new light and imagine what life was like in past times.