On Saturday, Seth and I travelled to Cumberland, MD to see my tiny tree art in the Allegany Arts Council Nature Art Exhibition.
I am a big softie for Cumberland. Like most everyone else from Maryland, I would travel with my parents to some point west and stare with wonder at the little old-timey time town with all of the steeples. And, like most everyone else from points east in Maryland, we never stopped. I feel very fortunate to have people in my life that are from that little city. Now I get to go whenever we are visiting the boyfriend's parents (or when I conveniently have art on gallery walls). We get to walk down Baltimore Street and browse through interesting antiques and gaze into the windows of perfectly preserved department stores waiting for someone to want that beautiful building badly enough. I get to be puzzled by the deep love of a high school football team (Go Sentinels!) and the hatred of another (Campers wear pampers). When I can talk Seth into it, we get to drive up Washington Street and gawk and the big, old victorian homes. Once I got to walk on the new turf at Fort Hill High School. And every time we drive beyond The Cut, every single time, I am just in awe of the beauty of the Ridge and Valley region and the way it pulls me back to growing up in Harford County when corn and patchy forests stood where a GAP warehouse now sits.
This was my first real experience with the Allegany Arts Council. They are organized, thoughtful, have a vibrant community of artists, and really, really care about their place in the world. They have a county-funded gallery in the historic center of town that is crazy nice. Joined by Seth's parents, we had the pleasure of witnessing the award ceremony for the Western Maryland Watercolor Society held in the same venue. Paintings from all skill levels were hung and no less than 11 awards were given for categories akin to, "sheer will" and "most empathy". A more enthusiastic group of artists and art lovers would be difficult to find.
So do yourself a solid and visit that city instead of just driving through on your way to stupid Deep Creek. It won't be crowded. There's actually a fair amount to do, see, eat, and drink. And I promise you will leave a better person. Just do me a favor and ask them to open up those damn tunnels under the Emmanuel Parish more than once a year.
Water Color Society: http://www.westernmarylandwatercolorsociety.org
Tunnels under a Church?!: http://www.emmanuelparishofmd.org/?page_id=165
"Deeds, Not Words": http://forthillhs.com/About%20us/History%20of%20school.html
Allegany Arts Council: http://pastelspace.com/aac/