CSM, calvART Gallery, Arts Council of Calvert County Collaborate for Visions of Verses
Artists can be inspired by many things — nature, music, emotions and even other art. A poet’s moving words, for instance, can provide a rich source of creative inspiration. This is the idea behind Visions of Verses, an upcoming art show based on work inspired by local poetry.
Eleven poems written by College of Southern Maryland (CSM) faculty and students and other Southern Maryland poets have served as the inspiration for a collection of paintings, jewelry, ceramic and fused-glass pieces by calvART Gallery member artists. These poetry-inspired pieces will be on exhibit at the calvART Gallery Visions of Verses show in Prince Frederick April 11 to May 6. In addition, a special celebration of these artworks and poets will be held at a reception and reading at the gallery 5-8 p.m., Saturday, April 14.
“We are especially interested in fostering connections with the communities the college serves,” said CSM Professor Neal Dwyer, one of the participating poets in the Visions of Verses project. “This collaboration between CSM’s literary series and the calvART Gallery and the Arts Council of Calvert County is yet another way for us to encourage a love of learning beyond the classroom, an appreciation for the role the arts play in nurturing our shared humanity.”
Artist Carol Wade is one of the 18 calvART Gallery artists participating in the Visions of Verses collaboration. She also has a connection to CSM, having worked at the college for 30 years as a graphic designer. Inspired by Dwyer’s poem “where a pool and rapids meet,” Wade painted a water scene for one of the exhibition’s pieces.
“I chose to paint a scene of beautiful mesmerizing water, because the poet uses the water as symbolism about him and his son’s relationship,” Wade said. “The action and the intricacies in the water relate to their past and present ever-changing relationship. This poem really touched me because I can relate to the experience of having my son grow up and stand on his own. It is very poignant, bittersweet.”
For a second piece, Wade went beyond following up on a theme and incorporated some of the poem’s lines into her work that arose from her reading of Elisavietta Ritchie’s “We Wake Beside An Invisible River.”
“The poet visits Japan and sees a beautiful scene of fog and water and a crane flying away,” Wade said. “She compares this to a similar scene of a blue heron flying over the marshes and cattails of the Patuxent River … My art is an interpretation of a mix of eastern and western styles. The mixed-media style with the Western Blue Heron and cattails, combined with the eastern Japanese scroll proportion [uses] simplicity and white space. For added interest, each cattail has a verse of the poem in it.”
The Visions of Verses collaboration was organized by the Arts Council of Calvert County, CalvART Gallery members and the CSM literary program, headed by Neal Dwyer. “It is a pure joy to work with CSM, and I am excited they were interested in the collaboration of the Art and Poetry event,” said Arts Council Executive Director Carol Eberly.
Eberly noted that Visions of Verses was planned with Carol Harvat and Pam Callen, president of calvART Gallery, to coincide with April since it is Poetry Month in Maryland. “The Arts Council is working on making this an annual event,” Eberly said.
The April 14 reception and reading for Visions of Verses will be a celebration of this mutually beneficial collaboration between local poets and artists. “The evening is offered as an opportunity for the Southern Maryland community to come together to experience and reflect on the ways the arts can serve to enrich our lives with beauty and understanding, pointing us toward that more perfect world our hearts know is possible,” said former Maryland Poet Laureate Michael Glaser. He with Harvat coordinated the poets for the Visions of Verses collaboration.
In addition to Harvat and Glaser, participating poets include Neal Dwyer, Katherine Lassman, Elisavietta Ritchie, Hiram Larew, Sherbrooke Lea Carson, Rocky Jones, Jeanne Vote, Rachael Heinhorst and Jeffery Coleman.
In addition to Wade, participating artists from calvART Gallery are Ray Noble, Phyllis Noble, Pam Callen, Ann Crain. Lonnie Harkins, Suzanne Shelden, Ray Bogle, Sylvia Hill, Mary Blumberg, Denise Breitburg, Marie Estabrook, Alyson Schwartz, Ann Trentman, Mimi Little, Wendy Schneider and Jo Anne Gilhooly.
The Maryland State Arts Council is a sponsor of this event. For information on this and other arts events in Calvert County, visit www.calvertarts.org. For information on calvART Gallery, visit http://calvartgallery.com/. For information about language and literature studies at CSM, visit https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/not-sure/areas-of-study/languages-literature/.