Radio Interview about KCAC’s Preservation of the Charles Sumner Post #25

Joyell Johnson and Leslie Prince Raimond were pleased to participate in a web-based radio talk show, The Gist of Freedom, hosted by Lesley Gist. They were interviewed by Gary Jenkins who is a Civil War historian interested in the Kent County Arts Council’s restoration of the Charles Sumner Post #25 hall in Chestertown. The far reaching medium of the World Wide Web was employed to connect Ms. Gist who is in Patterson, New Jersey, Mr. Jenkins who is in Kansas City Missouri, Joyell and Leslie in Kent County, Maryland and the rest of the world-wide listening audience.
The show begins at :50 into the show.


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March 12, 2012 · 11:16 am

The Superstars of the Sold-Out Seventh Annual “Women Helping Women”

The Seventh Annual “Women Helping Women” concert took place on Wednesday, March 7 at the Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown, Maryland.  The sold-out show was produced by Carla Massoni, Sue Matthews and Lucia Foster. The event raises funds to help support Dr. Maria Boria and the Marydel Clinic which provides medical services for those in need.

Pictured are Dr. Maria Boria, honored guest; Stef Scaggiari, musical director, and singers Mary Simmons Ashley , Kate Bennett, Lucia Foster, Meredith Davies Hadaway, Rebecca Hardy, Diane Landskroener, Beth Anne Langrell, Sue Matthews, Beth McDonald, Melissa McGlynn, Pam Ortiz, Caitlin Patton, Rebecca Pitre and Karen Somerville.

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Friends of the G.A.R. Awarded Generous “Legacy” Grant

The Charles Sumner Post #25, Grand Army of the Republic on South Queen Street in Chestertown has been awarded a generous grant of $100,000 by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development through its Community Legacy program.

This grant, overseen by the Town of Chestertown and administered by Kent County Arts Council will provide funds to acquire the building from its owner, Preservation, Inc., and to begin the renovations to make this historic structure ready for building a program to support a vibrant center of performance, display, education and research that honors local African American culture and the country’s Civil War heritage.

This is an effort of KCAC in cooperation with leaders of the African American Community, Town of Chestertown, Kent County Department of Tourism and Economic Development, Main Street Historic Chestertown, Preservation Incorporated, Washington College students in SIFE, and many other interested citizens, from near and far.

With this grant, KCAC will acquire the GAR Building by the fall 2012, at which time the building’s phased renovation program will begin. As fund-raising efforts continue, the project will continue to move towards completion.

Fundraising is still on-going, in order to match funds to develop the Legacy grant and other grants they are seeking.

All donations, no matter the amount, are greatly appreciated. You can donate online, or download, print and mail the pledge form to the Kent County Arts Council.

Thank you for your support!

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We Want Your Poetry!

Calling All Poets o’ the Eastern Shore. Tis time, once again to enter in an annual spring ritual, the 16th Annual Eastern Shore Regional Poetry Contest.

Cash prizes of $100, $50, and $25 dollars are awarded for first, second, and third place in each of four categories: children / youth (grades 1-8), students (grades 9-12), adults (ages 18-59) and seniors (ages 60+).  Plus the winners get to recite their winning poem at the Church Hill Theater.

For the 16th year in a row this contest is being sponsored by the Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot County Arts Councils.

To enter, download the Entry Form. Deadline for entry is March 1, 2012.

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Wishing Everyone a Very Artful December

The First Friday of December is just around the corner, and is full of wonderful activities for any Arts-Loving patron.

December 2, Chestertown’s celebration will be in full gear to begin the Holidays.  We will list some of the events held from 5:00 to 8:00.  For further information on this entire list, go to the December calendar at

The many downtown Chestertown art galleries will be featuring works by some of our wonderful local artists.  There will be gift-giving ideas galore:

Artworks- 306 Park Row
Chestertown Arts League- 312 Cannon Street
Artist’ Gallery- 239 High Street
George’s Weekend Gallery- Queen and High Street

Kent County Public Library has begun a series of monthly art shows, with a reception on First Fridays: the featured artist for December is Angela Ranzoni.

The Bookplate-112 South Cross Street- will be hosting two literary events:

4:00 to 6:30 pm, Robert Earl Price, Washington College instructor, poet and stage director brings his poetry classroom for a reading. The public is invited to listen and read their own works as well. The Fifth Annual Kent County Poetry Festival is still a few months away. We need some poetry for the holidays.

From 7:00 pm- until- Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson, the husband-wife team of Idiots’ Books come to celebrate five years of creative writing, artistic accomplishment and two and a three-quarter children. There will be cake, lots of books and a lot to talk about, as they will cover all that has happened between Book #1 and Book #35.

The Chester River Chorale will present “A Chester River Holiday” December 2 at 8:00 pm and December 4 at 3:00 pm at the Presbyterian Church on Washington Avenue. This is a gala Holiday Concert highlighted by Washington National Opera Young Artist, baritone Thomas Beard, Chestertown’s own Cantor Gary Schiff, and various soloists from the Chorale. The program of traditional Christmas and Hanukkah music will also feature accompaniments by organ, piano, and a small chamber orchestra.

The Holiday Production at The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre will perform “Live from WVL Radio theatre, It’s a Wonderful Life” in its final weekend Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3:00 pm.

Saturday, December 3, Downtown Rock Hall will feature Christmas activities
Boat Parade and Santa’s Arrival at Rock Hall Harbor. 5:30pm
Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Parade on Main Street. 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
Santa will be collecting Canned Food and Toys to be given to Children and Families in Rock Hall.
Free Refreshments provided by Durding’s Store!
Free Photo with Santa provided by Smilin’ Jakes!

Friday, December 9 at 8:00pm
Kent County Arts Council presents Ray Fenner at Cabaret Soul Night, at the Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre. Bring your dancin’ shoes and be prepared for an enjoyable evening. Featured singer Ray Fenner backed up by Ernie Green’s band will perform the soul-sounds of the 50’s and 60’s.   Performers will also include Pam and Bob Ortiz, who will open the show, and Sunny Fassett and Robert Earl Price, poets. Tickets are $8.00

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Ray Fenner at Cabaret Soul Night Friday, December 9, 8pm at the Garfield Center for the Arts

Kent County Arts Council presents Ray Fenner at Cabaret Soul Night, Friday December 9, 8:00pm at the Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre. Bring your dancin’ shoes and be prepared for an enjoyable evening.
Featured singer Ray Fenner backed up by Ernie Green’s band will perform the soul-sounds of the 50’s and 60’s

Performers will also include Pam and Bob Ortiz, who will open the show, and Sunny Fassett and Robert Earl Price, poets.

The band, from Dover, Delaware, includes director Ernest Green, keyboard; Reggie Guinn, bass; George Roach, drums, and Dewitt McIntyre, sax. Ernie Green has been the musical director of The 100 Voice Choir since its inception, and directs scores of musical groups throughout the region, including his home state of Delaware.

Ray Fenner began his music career under the direction of his father, the late Fleetwood Fenner at an early age. He began to work full time in music after retiring from the Kent County Board of Education. He worked for the school system for many years. He is married to Marie Fenner, and they have three children and three grand children.

Bob and Pam Ortiz, residents of Chestertown, have enchanted audiences with their performances of traditional music as well as original compositions. They have lent their talents to many community events including Music in the Park, Women Helping Women, P.T.A. functions, and more.

Tickets are $8.00. For more info call Leslie Prince Raimond, 410-778-1149 or the Theatre at 410- 810-2060.
The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre
210 High Street
Chestertown, MD 21620

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Mr. Fat Cat Hackett – He’s All Yours for One Night Only

Mr. Fat Cat Hackett is Back for One Night Only!

Friday Night- July 29, 2011

Prince Theatre, 8:00 pm

210 High Street, Chestertown, MD 21620

There is no Charge

(free will basket)


Listen Sing and Dance

Lite drinks on sale


Sponsored by Kent County Arts Council

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Friends of the G.A.R.: Your Support and Generosity is Greatly Appreciated

We want to thank everyone for joining us in our quest to illuminate and preserve the arts, history, culture and community of Kent County by becoming a Friend of the Grand Army of the Republic.

In March we invited everyone to lend their financial and moral support to purchase the Charles Sumner Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), also known as Army Hall or Centennial Hall. The building, located on South Queen St. in Chestertown, MD, is only one of 2 its kind left in the country. Under the direction of Kent County Arts Council, and with the help of Main Street Historic Chestertown and the Kent County Office of Tourism and Economic Development, we plan to continue restoring this historic structure.
The building would house an Art and History Gallery that shines a light onto the Nation’s Civil War and the story of African Americans’ involvement in it. The second floor would be an event space for concerts, youth programs, poetry readings, lecture series, film series, drama and more.

The support from the county has been tremendous. We are also buoyed by the recent significant progress in recognizing the monumental achievements of African Americans and their involvement with the Civil War on the Eastern Shore and beyond.

Starting Saturday, July 16, the African American Civil War Museum begins a 3-day celebration for their new home in Washington, DC. Events include a conference on the first day around the theme “From Civil War to Civil Rights — The Path to Racial Healing,” a film festival and the official ribbon-cutting at noon on Monday, July 18. The Washington Post has an informative article about the museum and upcoming events.

On June 19, 2011 in Easton, Maryland, an 8-foot tall bronze statue of Frederick Douglas was unveiled in front of the County Courthouse. The Chestertown Spy dramatically documented this long, awaited historic day. Local residents, state politicians, and historians witnessed this event and recounted the importance of publically documenting and preserving the extraordinary African Americans history of the Eastern Shore.

The New York Times “Disunion” blog recently documented the complicated connection Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas shared. They were born just a short distance from one another on the Eastern Shore. Their contributions to American History were monumental, and it is only just that they be equally honored and recognized for their fortitude.

The Kent County Arts Council is dedicated to illuminating the arts in the county. Additionally, being able to restore and support a historical landmark, that was once a meeting place for African American Civil War veterans and their families, is a testament to our goal of preserving and supporting the rich historical legacy of the Eastern Shore. We invite you to join us as we move forward in preserving and enhancing the amazing history of this region that we love so much.

Your donation, no matter how large or small, is greatly appreciated. You can mail in your contribution, or pledge online.  Each person who donates will have a connection to the great history and culture of the Eastern Shore.

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Friends of the G.A.R. – A Very Timely and Historic Project

How timely! Historian David W. Blight’s Memorial Day New York Times article highlights the history we are commemorating here in Chestertown, Maryland.

We feel fortunate to be in step with this enlightening historical commentary, just as the Kent County Arts Council community seeks to create a history and cultural heritage center in the building which was built and used by the members of Grand Army of the Republic, Charles Sumner Post # 25.  The structure is one of only two African American G.A.R. Halls left standing in the United States.

For more information on how you can become a Friend of the G.A. R. and help us with this historic project visit our site.

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Merry, Merry Artistic Month of May in Chestertown!

Chestertown’s First Friday in May is full of many wonderful events.
Please join us from 5:00 to 8:00 pm for this amazing roster of artistic events.

  • Faith Wilson‘s art at Chestertown Old Book Co.
    113 Cross Street
  • Music and poetry will be performed at Ortiz Studios
    207 S. Cross Street.
    Musicians — Meredith Hadaway, Ben Bennington, Rebecca Hardy and Bob Ortiz
    Poets: Meredith Hadaway and Jehanne Dubrow
  • Artworks gallery’s show is entitled “Nature’s Palette”
    306 Park Row.
  • Chestertown Arts League‘s show “Second Look” will feature the plein air paintings of participants in the Paint the Town festival held last weekend.

PS: Join Vince and Leslie Raimond as they celebrate their 44th Wedding Anniversary with everyone at First Friday!

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