Why Baltimore’s
Mount Vernon Matters!

August, 2014 Volume 2, Issue 8

Editor’s Note: This month’s feature is written by Burt Kummerow, President of the Maryland Historical Society

Dear Reader,

Monument Early Design
An early design for the Washington Monument, by Robert Mills, submitted for the Washington Monument drawing competition, 1813. MdHS, MS876

Have you traveled up Charles Street from the Inner Harbor lately? As you head up the busy narrow corridor, the Washington Monument dominates the view ahead as it has for almost 200 years. Passing the many restaurants, shops and city landmarks, you are soon veering left or right and entering the cobblestones and monuments of Mount Vernon Place.

Welcome to Baltimore’s iconic Washington Monument, a full twenty years older than its Washington, DC counterpart. With aging stone and mortar, it is presently in intensive care, completely enshrouded in scaffolding and decorated with a large banner. The Monumental City is looking both to the past and future as it is “Restoring Mount Vernon Place.” A dedicated and public-spirited Mount Vernon Place Conservancy is again bringing much needed attention and resources to one of America’s memorable neighborhoods.

It all started with the Battle of Baltimore, 200 years ago this September. A year later, in 1815, Baltimore defenders were intent on raising monuments to their success.

As the War of 1812 ended, thousands marched in solemn procession to two locations. Downtown, near the courthouse, they laid the cornerstone for a Battle Monument dedicated to the dead in the recent battle. They picked a spot overlooking the city for the second monument. Howard’s Park was a sylvan retreat with a winding path to Revolutionary war hero John Eager Howard’s Belvedere country mansion. Howard eagerly donated some of his land for an impressive monument dedicated to the first president. A public lottery collected funding to erect a statue-topped obelisk that was an architectural marvel in its day. A decade later, visiting President John Quincy Adams declared the bustling port a “Monumental City.”

As Baltimore grew, the Washington Monument attracted a new, fashionable suburb. By the 1850s, the Mount Vernon neighborhood featured fine houses and imposing churches. An urban park surrounded the monument for a block in all four directions.

Peabody Library
George Peabody Library, image by Matthew Petroff

The late 19th and early 20th century brought cultural institutions that helped define a maturing America. The Walters, father and son, created a great, nationally recognized art museum on the square. Nearby, George Peabody built a remarkable library. Enoch Pratt, a hardware tycoon and long-time Mount Vernon resident, put together a pioneering public library a few blocks away. The original Johns Hopkins University campus spent decades developing in the neighborhood and Baltimore City College, among America’s oldest public high schools, prospered nearby until relocating uptown in the 1920s. The Maryland Historical Society, another time-honored organization, moved into the Enoch Pratt House after the First World War.

The Mount Vernon Neighborhood emanating out from the Washington Monument has influenced American history and culture far beyond the limits of Baltimore and Maryland. In recent decades, urban energy has successfully renewed a rundown Inner Harbor, but the city’s soul remains in its many neighborhoods. Mount Vernon tops that list with a potpourri of thriving restaurants, hotels, retail stores, museums, historic churches, concert halls and theaters. The University of Baltimore, the Meyerhoff, MICA and Station North anchor the north, and the Bromo Seltzer Arts District with the west end attractions bolster the south. Apartment dwellers are arriving in droves, taking advantage of this increasingly livable urban area.

In the center of it all, ringing the monument, is a world of civic activity worthy of a European capital. Fueled by dynamic public and private partnerships, including the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, Downtown Partnership, Mount Vernon Belvedere Association and our own Mount Vernon Cultural District, the neighborhood is working with city and citizens to restore its historic luster, building by building and block by block.

The construction traffic snarls will soon disappear and the festivals will return as early as this December when the Washington Monument is lit anew for the holidays. We invite you to leave your car during these bicentennial years and start exploring a special place on foot. You will soon be joining the chorus, “Restoring Mount Vernon Place,” one of Baltimore and America’s matchless neighborhoods.

Burt Kummerow, President and CEO
Maryland Historical Society
www.mdhs.org


 

It’s Baltimore Restaurant Week!

 

Prime-Rib-mmm1

It’s that time – that magical week when Baltimore’s finest restaurants roll out their red carpets and shine their nicest silverware: It’s Summer Restaurant Week!

Now thru August 10, 2014, participating restaurants are offering three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for just $30.

Lucky for us, many of these excellent restaurants are located right here in Mount Vernon. So I had to bring you the juicy details — just in time for dinner.

Esquire Magazine says that the Prime Rib serves one of the 20 Best Steaks in America — and it’s located right here in Mount Vernon!

For just $30, you can enjoy your choice of soup or salad, entrees ranging from their special cut of Prime Rib (pictured), Imperial crab, salmon or a pork chop, served with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. The chocolate mousse pie makes for the perfect finish.

Kabuli-Pallow

The Helmand celebrates restaurant week with four, three-course menu options to choose from, including their delectable lamb simmered with apricots and chili peppers.

The Helmand, named among CityPaper‘s Dining Hall of Fame, has been serving outstanding meals in Mount Vernon since 1989. See for yourself why Richard Gorelick of the Baltimore Sun says it “still entices and delights.”

And for all the mouth-watering Restaurant Week details, and to make your reservation, click here.


 

August Events In Mount Vernon
Presented in Chronological Order

 

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
1212 Cathedral Street | Phone: 410-783-8000 | Website

 

Jerry Garcia Symphonic

Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration
featuring Warren Haynes
Fri, August 8, 2014 at 8 PM (Pier Six)

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Rams Head Promotions partner to present the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration featuring Warren Haynes and members of the BSO on Friday August 8, 2014.

This ground-breaking orchestral program – curated by the Garcia Family – features Jerry Garcia’s original compositions, as well as classic interpretations of his timeless standards that were hallmarks of Garcia and the Grateful Dead’s shows. Collaborating with a full symphony orchestra, renowned vocalist/guitarist Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Dead) lends his soul-soaked, introspective blend of rock, blues, R&B and jazz to Garcia’s masterworks.

Tickets start at $35
Visit www.ticketfly.com

 

Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website

 

Baltimore: Birthplace of the American Bicycle?
An ‘Old Timey Bike Fest’ and Cycling Conference

Bike Fest

Baltimore is known as a “city of firsts,” but few know that Charm City gave birth to the first American bicycle! We’re launching a new campaign to win national recognition for Baltimore’s unique place in the history of American bicycling. Working in partnership with Baltimore Heritage, we are hosting a special-one day exhibition, American Wheels to the Front: The Involution of American Bicycles (1868-today), as well as celebrating our cycling past and present at the ‘Old Timey Bike Fest’ and happy hour on Thursday August 7, 2014.

  • From 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM, you can enjoy FREE admission to the Maryland Historical Society to experience American Wheels to the Front: The Involution of American Bicycles (1868-today)
  • There will be a FREE Young Defenders First Thursday Happy Hour in the Courtyard from 5:00 – 7:30 PM
  • On hand will be local food trucks, including The Green Bowl and GrrChe, and local beer and wine at a cash bar: $3/beer; $5/wine
  • Demonstrations of historic bicycles by modern high-wheel men starting at 6:00 PM
  • A celebratory bike ride led by Baltimore Heritage departing MdHS at 7:30 PM

What is a Velocipede?

High Wheel Men

Invented in Germany in 1816, the velocipede was an early ancestor of the modern “safety” bicycle. The velocipede caught on quickly among reckless urban “dandies” in France and England. Growing interest in the United States prompted a writer in the Baltimore Morning Chronicle to remark acidly, “Every species of transatlantic nonsense, it would seem, is capable of exciting curiosity, no matter how ridiculous.” Where some only saw a chance for ridicule, Baltimore piano-maker James Stewart saw an opportunity. In late 1818, Stewart crafted the first velocipede manufactured in the United States and, in February 1819, put it on display downtown at the Concert Hall (built around 1813 on South Charles Street).

A polarizing debate followed. The Federal Republican and Baltimore Telegraph sneered: “A curious two-wheeled vehicle called the Velocipede has been invented, which is propelled by Jack-asses instead of horses.” 80 year old Charles Wilson Peale stopped by to see the velocipede on his way back to Philadelphia after painting portraits of President James Monroe, Henry Clay and black freeman Yarrow Mamout. The velocipede quickly won Peale’s heart and when he arrived home in Philadelphia he commissioned a local blacksmith to make him one of his own. Stewart’s invention led to the Dandy-operated velocipedes that terrorized many a society lady throughout the late 19th century as well as the road bikes citizens of today use to get to work or just enjoy the fresh air.

About the International Cycling History Conference

Wood Trike

Also taking place from August 6-9, 2014 at the Maryland Historical Society is the 25th Annual International Cycling History Conference. The Conference has been notable for bringing together academics, curators, collectors, and enthusiasts to debate and present new knowledge on all aspects of cycling history. The Conference has a notable track record in bringing to light critical, interesting, and previously unappreciated stories from the history of cycling. Examples include such diverse subjects as exposing the fraudulent ‘Leonardo’ claims to invention of the bicycle, to the role of Col. Albert A. Pope in formation of the bicycle monopoly in 1899, to discussion of the role of cycling in women’s liberation.For more details and to register, click here.

For a complete list of August events at The Maryland Historical Society, click here.

 

The Maryland Humanities Council
108 West Centre Street | Phone: 410-685-0095 | Website

 

Literary Walking Tour of Mt. Vernon
Sat, August 16, 2014 at 11 AM

Owl Bar

Take this guided 90 minute walking tour with the Maryland Humanities Council, past Mount Vernon’s elegant mansions and majestic cultural institutions. Follow in the footsteps of the many famous authors, poets, and editors who sojourned in Baltimore’s cultural hub. Tour goers will also receive a 10% coupon for lunch at the Owl Bar at the Historic Belvedere Hotel. Registration is required for this free tour. Space is limited.

Tour starts at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

More info: Click here or call Michele Alexander at 410-685-4186

Music of the War of 1812
Thur, August 21, 2014 at 11 AM

David Hildebrand
David Hildebrand

The War of 1812 spawned a huge variety of songs in America. From the early stirrings of party politics under President Adams, the traumatic effect of Jefferson’s Embargo in 1807, through the triumph at Fort McHenry and the last battle in New Orleans, Americans took pen to paper to tear at political opponents, to dramatize the great sea battles between huge frigates in full sail and to laud battle heroes like Hull and Perry. In addition, songs of ridicule, sentimental ballads of love and separation and songs encouraging enlistments were sung at home, on the streets and in theaters. This program climaxes in the true telling of the birth of the Star-Spangled Banner in September, 1814, dispelling several lingering myths along the way. Live musical selections accompanied by appropriate images (if projector and screen available). Adult and high school audiences. David Hildebrand teaches American music history at the Peabody Conservatory, and he is finishing a history of music in Maryland for The Johns Hopkins University Press. He and his wife Ginger Hildebrand have been performing professionally for museums, historical societies, schools, colleges, and universities throughout the country since 1980, focusing on American music. Dr. Hildebrand received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Catholic University of America, his M.A. in Musicology from George Washington University, and his B.A. in Music from Dickinson College.

Tour starts at Symphony Manor Assisted Living, 4301 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210

More info: Call Lynsey Ricci at 410-235-4301

 

Mount Vernon Place Conservancy
817 St. Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website

FREE outdoor movie series in the West MVP square at8:30 PM, yoga, walking tour and harp performance – ALL FREE.

FREE Outdoor movies (on 16′ inflatable screen)
8:30 PM, WestMVP Square
Wed, August 6: The Monuments Men (2014)
Wed, August 13: The Lego Movie (2014)
Wed, August 20: The Great Gatsby (2013)

FREE Walking Tour:
“The Cultural Tour: Mount Vernon Place to the Inner Harbor”
Sat, August 23, 10 AM, West MVP Square, (don’t forget to bring water!)
Co-sponsored by the Conservancy and the Baltimore National Heritage Area.

FREE Harp Performance
Wed, August 27, 7 PM, West MVP Square

FREE Maryland Historical Society Re-enactments of the
War of 1812
Wed, September 3, 7 PM, West MVP Square

FREE YOGA (year-round)*
Every Saturday 8:30 AM in the East MVP Square
*BeginningSeptember 6, the class will move inside to the Belvedere (1 East Chase Street)

 

Peabody Institute
1 East Mount Vernon Place | Phone: 410-234-4500 | Website

 

Summer Intensive

Paul Taylor Dance Company Summer Intensive at Peabody

For nearly three decades, the Taylor Intensives have been a premier training ground for modern dance technique and the best way to study Taylor style and repertoire. The Intensives have achieved distinction by virtue of outstanding faculty members – distinguished Taylor dancers and alumni – and the exceptional personal attention given to each student. With Taylor dances now in the repertoire of many renowned companies around the world, in addition to those of the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2, it is vital for dancers seeking a place in today’s dance world to know Taylor style and repertoire. The Intensives provide that opportunity – students learn from the masters here at Peabody Dance!

Studio Showings: Fri, August 8 and Fri, August 15, 4-5 PM
Location: Peabody Dance Studios, 17 E. Mt. Vernon Place
Reservations: 410-234-4626

 

Spotlighters Theatre
1221 North Calvert Street | Phone: 410-962-5070 | Website

Auditions for Rocky Horror Show
Sun, August 3-6 PM
Sat, August 9-1 PM
Sun, August 10-5 PM

Girls and Boys of Summer

Auditions for The Man Who Came to Dinner
Sat, August 16, 1 PM
Sun, August 17, 6 PM

More Info: Click here

Summer Cabaret – The Girls (and Boys) of Summer
Featuring Beth Weber, Christine Thomas-O’Meally, Dyanna Neal Jim Knost, and Stephen Lampredi
Sat, August 23, 8 PM

An evening of music and laughter!

Tickets: $20 (adults), $18 (seniors) and $16 (students & military)
More Info: click here.

The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles Street | Phone: 410-547-9000 | Website

 

Super Thursday Party: Here and Now 2
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 5-9 PM
Enter the museum through Centre Street

Here and Now 2

Party at the Walters!

See The Janet and Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Exhibition in its final days, tour the Walter’s collection and enjoy music in the galleries of the Walters Art Museum courtesy of DJ Paul Labelle, host of “Save Your Soul” at Baltimore’s Lithuanian Dance Hall and noted jazz violinist, David Schulman.

Baltimore’s own Union Craft Brewery will offer libations and lite fare will be on sale in Café Q.

Admission: Free
Register here for a free drink.
Super Thursday Party: Here and Now 2 is sponsored by Constellation Energy


Trivia Time!

ceiling
The spectacular Tiffany Dome at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion

Congratulations abound to everyone who correctly answered last month’s question!

Mount Vernon is home to many Tiffany windows – we are quite fortunate! You can find them at:

  • Emmanuel Episcopal Church
  • Garrett-Jacobs Mansion
  • Grace and St. Peter’s
  • Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
  • And Old Saint Paul’s

Ready for this month’s question?

Question:H.L. Mencken, the ‘Sage of Baltimore’ was also something of a foodie. The Baltimore Sun has published a handful of articles listing some of his favorite dining spots, most of which are here in Mount Vernon. While the buildings have been lost to Time, their names live on in Memory. (And they’re making me hungry.) Name one of Mencken’s favorite dining rooms!

Email me your answer, and you could win a prize!

laura-sig

Laura Rodini
Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is
A Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore

New Neighbors

July, 2014     Volume 2, Issue 7

Dear Reader,

Hoschild Kohn Building
The old Hochschild Kohn building on Park Ave, courtesy Department Store Museum

We’re extending a warm welcome to our new neighbors on the western side of the Mount Vernon Cultural District – the 520 Park Ave. Apartments!

The building, managed by WPM Real Estate, once served as the main warehouse for the Hochschild Kohn department store chain. Founded in 1897 and known simply as Hochschild’s, it was Baltimore’s largest department store for most of the 20th century. The warehouse building on Park Avenue also housed the company’s furniture department.

Co-founder Louis B. Kohn was ahead of his time when he opened a Hochschild’s out in Edmonson Village in 1947. The store later expanded to other suburban outposts in Woodlawn and Columbia to keep up with retail demand from newly opened shopping malls.

After a long run – Hochschild Kohn’s went out of business in 1983 – the building next housed the Bank of Baltimore and then Aegon insurance before it moved downtown in October, 2011.

Today, WPM Management is committed to preserving 520 Park’s past while adding all the modern conveniences befitting a luxury apartment building.

Courtyard
A view of the interior courtyard,
courtesy WPM Management

For example, the center of the building has undergone renovations that enabled its builders, Kinsey Construction, to create a central courtyard. “Think of the building like a pineapple,” says Regional Property Manager Karen Houston, “It has been cored in the middle.” This move added beautiful indoor/outdoor living space for residents as well as additional light. Designers also retained historical architectural elements, such as the concrete structural support pylon pictured at center. Old photographs of Hochschild Kohn line the walls of the building’s common areas, and the floor plans are named after area streets and landmarks, such as Belvedere, Eutaw, and Howard.

Careful consideration has been taken into the building’s environmental impact, as well. 520 Park has been built to LEED Silver standards, which means it uses high efficiency heating and cooling systems, energy efficient appliances, hot water heating, and efficient lighting, just to name a few.

“520 Park Avenue represents a modern rehab of a historic building that will link Mount Vernon to Seton Hill and Downtown’s West Side,” developer Mark Caplan tells Baltimore CityBizList. “When complete, this redevelopment will offer the kind of sprawling views and first-rate amenities that are spurring residential growth throughout downtown Baltimore.”

A Peek Inside

We were fortunate enough to tour of the building, which is nearly completed. Each of the 171 unique apartment homes features 13-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, granite countertops and modern kitchens with stainless steel appliances.

Interior
A view of the 1-bedroom apartment,
courtesy WPM Management

There will be retail space on the first floor of the building, and as reported by The Baltimore Business Journal, a fitness center or restaurant is a likely occupant of about 3,000 square feet. The rest of the space – about 15,000 square feet – will function as a marketplace with room for 15 vendors. (Think a smaller Belvedere Square). You’ll be able to shop at a gourmet charcuterie stand, one that specializes in pickles, and another serving fresh oysters.

Perhaps best of all, the building’s 200+ new residents will have easy access to area universities such as University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins, University of Baltimore and the Peabody Institute. Students already comprise the bulk of the building’s leasees, and we couldn’t be happier to be adding so many young professionals to our neighborhood.

520 Park welcomed its first new tenants in late June, with its official grand opening set for October, 2014. For more information about the 520 Park Ave. Apartments, click here.


 

Coming Soon to Mount Vernon…
Howard’s Park Dog Park

 

Dog Park

Nearby the 520 Park Ave. Apartments, the city of Baltimore is building a dog park, scheduled to open in the coming months. Plans include enclosing Howard’s Park with a fence and moving the existing statue of Revolutionary War hero John Eager Howard closer to the light-rail stop to create more open space. The dog park will include a water fountain, landscaped gardens, and benches for owners to enjoy.

Although the construction of the park has yet to be complete, Mount Vernon dog lovers are already taking advantage of the space. “We have a fantastic community for our furry four legged best friends to play in unconstrained by leases,” says Geoffrey Hart, Howard’s Park Coordinator, “It is simply impossible to remain in a negative state of mind watching some of dogs run around the park chasing or being chased by one another.  We have an established social hour every Saturday from 10 am until whenever, but during the nicer weather people tend to come out all day long.  Our Facebook page is a great resource to learn about park activities and general information about the going ons at the park.

Look for updates about Howard’s Park in coming issues of our Mount Vernon Newsletter!


 

Now at the Walters: the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Finalists

 

Sondheim Finalists

See spellbinding contemporary art from up-and-coming artists at The Walters Art Museum in a new exhibition from The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts and the Walters Art Museum.

The competition awards a $25,000 fellowship to assist in furthering the career of a visual artist living and working in the Greater Baltimore region. M&T Charitable Foundation provides a $2,500 honorarium for each of the remaining finalists not selected for the fellowship.

“We love having contemporary art here at The Walters,” says Julia Marciari-Alexander, Director of the Walters Art Museum. “This was at one time a contemporary art museum. Henry and William Walters were great collectors of contemporary art as well as art of the past.”

Lauren Frances Adams
‘Chinoiserie: Labor Protest Histories,’
By Lauren Frances Adams

Finalists include Lauren Frances Adams, whose work is dedicated to justice, social inequality and untold stories.

In ‘Chinoiserie’: Labor Protest Histories,’ Adams recreates wall paper that can be found at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, adding evidence of slavery. “It’s an active way to learn about history,” she says, “by being aware of a lack of agency. Here I combined evidence of a seat of power with evidence of slavery. These are precarious prototypes.”

Another finalist, Kyle Tata, is an instructor of photography at the Baltimore School for the Arts. Using contemporary and historical photographic processes, Tata’s work examines the lingering ghost that haunts America’s urban landscape.

Kyle Tata
‘Parking Garage,’ by Kyle Tata

“Something I always think about in East Coast contemporary cities, is a handful of European architects, and their influence,” Tata says, “Their effects on design are cold and austere, which resonates with the underlying feeling people have.” He uses regular office items, including florescent lights, in a new way in his search for ‘utopian undercurrents of every day life.’

You can view all 7 finalists’ work at the Walters Art Museum now through Sunday, August 17. After a review of the installed art and an interview with each finalist by the jurors, the winner of the competition is selected from the exhibition. An award ceremony announcing the winner will take place at the Walters on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 7pm. Tickets are free. Click here to register.

The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 N. Charles Street in Mount Vernon. Phone 410-547-9000.


 

A Great Annual Meeting!

 

Thank You

I want to thank everyone for coming to our first Annual Meeting, and a big thank you to Mona Rock at the Walters Art Museum for the lovely venue, and Trinacria for lunch! We discussed our latest plans with the Mount Vernon Conservancy to celebrate the restoration of the Washington Monument next July 4 (2015), action items on member advocacy and our launch into the social media sphere — next week! For more details, email me for a copy of our Annual Meeting Summary.


 

A New Member Welcome

 

Grace & St. Peters
The interior of Grace & St. Peter’s Church

I’d also like to take a moment and welcome Grace & St. Peter’s to our Mount Vernon Cultural District! This beautiful Episcopalian church was constructed in 1852 as the first brownstone building in Baltimore. It was also the first church built of stone in the city. Its choir and organist are renowned. You’ll hear more about Grace & St. Peter’s in upcoming issues of the Mount Vernon newsletter.


 

July Events In Mount Vernon
Presented in Chronological Order

 

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
1212 Cathedral Street | Phone: 410-783-8000 | Website

 

Wild and Happy

The Ben Folds
Orchestra Experience
Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Thursday, July 17 at 7:30 PM

With the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Ben Folds performs his new concerto and fan-favorites from his celebrated albums.

Tickets start at $45
For complete details and to buy tickets,
click here.

 

Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street | Phone: 410-332-0033 | Website

 

Come to Camp Center Stage!

Camp Center Stage

Camp Center Stage has officially begun! Over 160 students from all across Maryland will join us to spend their summer learning about performing arts and cultivate their acting skill set.

Registration is still open for our *newly added* Session for Grades 1-6 (June 23rd to July 3rd) and for our 7th to 12th grade Session (July 21st to Aug 1st), so if you are looking to find a fun, enriching summer camp, you can click here to learn more and register.

 

Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website

 

Descendants of Joshua Barney Visit MdHS!

Barney Family Barney Wallet
John Helm, Andrea Helm, Mogan Helm, Bennett Helm, Anne Halm Galvin, Tom Galvin, Jack Galvin, Mason Galvin, Sarah Hardy Lower, Gavin Lower, Ian Lower, Archibald Hardy IV, Mary Stuart Hardy, Lancoln Hardy, Archibald Mct Hardy, Mason B. Hardy, Michelle Hardy, Sarah Anne Hardy, Mary Heward Hardy Late 18th century-early 19th century Leather with gilt, polychrome highlights. Collection of Anne Helm Gavin, John B. Helm, Sarah B. Hardy, Archibald Hardy and Mason B. Hardy, descendants of Joshua Barney

The Maryland Historical Society was honored to have descendants of War of 1812 hero Commodore Joshua Barney at the museum in June! Barney commanded the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla and was renowned for his military prowess and exceptional bravery. The Barney family is loaning the museum truly awe-inspiring objects that belonged to Barney himself – such as the leather bill fold or wallet, pictured above, which belonged to Barney during the War of 1812.

The wallet is divided into sections labeled by the month. When it arrived at the museum, letters and documents written by Barney had long been stored in this wallet. Their contents, much of which date to the period of the War of 1812, will broaden our understanding of Barney’s activities between 1812 and 1814 as well as his relationship with his family.

You can view the entire collection currently on display in the In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812 exhibit at the Maryland Historical Society. It even includes Barney’s pistol and spyglass! Many thanks to the Barney descendants for their generous loan.

Other Events at the Maryland Historical Society

War of 1812: Beyond the Battlefield
Summer Lecture Series

The Maryland Historical Society is partnering with Fort McHenry National Historic Shrine to present a summer lecture series, War of 1812: Beyond the Battlefield. The events will take place Thursday evenings at MdHS, from 6-8 PM, with lectures beginning at 6:30 PM. Light refreshments will be served.

Pricing: $10/person.

War of 1812 Cover

Forgotten Conflict: Why the War of 1812 Matters Today
Presented by Don Hickey, Ph.D.
Thursday, July 17

The War of 1812 shaped the United States and Canada and influenced how Great Britain related to the two nations to the end of the 19th century and beyond. Based on its profound and lasting impact, the “forgotten conflict” deserves a higher profile in the living memory today. Hickey will explore the role of the War of 1812 in the current public imagination.

Pricing: $10/person.

To register, click here, send us an email, or call 410-685-3750 x377.

For a complete list of July events at The Maryland Historical Society, visit  www.mdhs.org.

 

The Maryland Humanities Council
108 West Centre Street | Phone: 410-685-0095 | Website

 

2014 Chautauqua Summer Series
Creative Women: Breaking the Mold

Chautaqua
Emily Dickinson, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe, illustrations by Tom Chalkley. All Rights Reserved.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear famous historical figures talk about their experiences and accomplishments… in real life? Join the Maryland Humanities Council at our annual Chautauqua and meet celebrated figures from our nation’s past, then talk with them about their lives, ideas, and impact.

Since 1995, when Maryland’s Chautauqua began at Garrett College, this summer event has spread to six locations, providing free programs for communities in every region of the state. Chautauqua combines scholarship and performance to present an interactive program that engages thousands of Marylanders in thoughtful dialogue.(Illustrations pictured are by artist Tom Chalkley. All Rights Reserved.)

Mark your calendars! Click here to access a schedule of Chautauqua performances.

Featured Historical Figures:

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Access a list of Dickinson’s work
Visit the Emily Dickinson Museum online

Emily Dickinson was an American poet whose works are considered among the finest in the English language. From her family home in Amherst, Massachusetts, she exchanged spirited, engaging letters with family and friends, exploring events of her day and addressing intellectual and artistic topics of the time. Although she was a prolific poet, only a dozen of her works were published during her lifetime, with nearly 1,800 published for the first time after her death. Playful yet mysterious, highly independent in her beliefs, and always ready with her own brand of charming wit, Dickinson captures the imaginations of people world-wide. Glimpse the secrets of Emily’s brilliant heart and join in a farewell tea during a visit in Washington, DC, with her father, a member of the United States Congress.

Mimi Zannino

MiMi Zannino, who portrays Dickinson, is a published poet and teaching artist who facilitates creative writing and memoir-writing classes throughout Maryland in schools, hospitals, and retirement communities. She has served the Maryland State Arts Council as a poet-in-residence since 1989 and has also coordinated the National Endowment for the Arts “Poetry Out Loud Program” in Maryland. She is the author of books for children and adults, and her articles and poetry have appeared in numerous publications. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, and the Teaching Artist Institute programs, Zannino researched, wrote and performs “Time Travel with Emily Dickinson” throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
View Frida Kahlo’s work
Access the Frida Kahlo Museum Online

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist best known for her self-portraits painted in vibrant colors. Kahlo suffered lifelong health problems resulting from childhood polio and injuries from a bus accident, and she endured a troubled marriage with the famous muralist Diego Rivera. These physical and emotional wounds are reflected in her paintings. Although her work was not widely known during her lifetime, she is now recognized internationally for her complex images that inspire the viewer to ponder the mix of psychological, political, social, and cultural elements of her work.

Marian Licha

Marian Licha is known for her one-woman show Frida Vice-Versa, which she co-authored with R. Dennis Green and produced. In addition to her work in theatre, she has extensive experience in radio, television and film. She is a bilingual voice-over talent specializing in commercials, narrations, film, and corporate communications. A recipient of a 2000 MCAC Theatre Fellowship Award and an Individual Artist Award for Solo Performance from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2010, Licha holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from George Washington University and a master’s degree in Educational Theatre from New York University. She has also received training at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and The Second Studio for Actors. Frida Vice-Versa was directed by Jessica Lefkow.

Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)
View Georgia O’Keeffe’s work
Access the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Online

Georgia O’Keeffe is considered the first woman in the American Modern Art movement and is best known for her striking paintings of flowers, bones, and landscapes. New York photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz, whom O’Keeffe later married, brought her to the attention of the American public, and she became part of an influential circle of early modernist painters and critics. An extended visit to New Mexico in 1929 had a profound effect on O’Keeffe’s work, sparking a new period that resulted in her celebrated Southwestern paintings. She settled permanently near Santa Fe in 1949 and died there at the age of 98, leaving a rich legacy of American images.

Kelley Rouse

Kelley Rouse is an award winning broadcast journalist and former news anchor at WBOC-TV in Salisbury. She teaches media writing in the Communication Arts Department at Salisbury University, and leads book discussions at the Worcester County Public Library and Somerset County Public Library. Certified by the Teaching Artist Institute, she shares her love of storytelling and writing in workshops for young people. Rouse’s first one-woman show was about Montana’s Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress. She has been appearing as Georgia O’Keeffe since 2002 in a one-woman play written by Martha Furey.

 

Peabody Institute
1 East Mount Vernon Place | Phone: 410-234-4500 | Website

 

Bassoon Week

Celebrate Bassoon Week!

With Phillip Kolker, Artist faculty and Chair of Orchestral Instruments
Retired Principal Bassoon of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Faculty Concert– Free Event

Saturday, July 19 at 2:00 pm
Cohen-Davison Family Theatre

Closing Concert – Free Event

Saturday, July 26 at 3:00 pm
Leith Symington Griswold Hall

For more information, visit the Peabody’s website by clicking here.

 

Spotlighters Theatre
817 St. Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website

 

Spotlighters Young Actors

Young Actors Academy
A summer theatre intensive for ages K-12.
Monday, July 7 thru Friday, Aug 1, 2014
9 AM – 4 PM

The Academic/Conservatory program for young actors that want to take their skills to the next level.

Four one week modules are designed to provide an approach to acting, play writing, and the general craft of storytelling; students come away with notions of dramatic structure, character development, monologue and scene work, and more. Register for one session or for all four.

For more information, click here.
Scholarship funds available – inquire by email.

God of Carnage

God of Carnage
By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Greg Bell
July 4 – July 27, 2014
Fri, Sat 8 PM; Sun 2 PM

A dark voyeuristic pleasure: watching the verbal battle which unfolds during Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage.

We get to watch the characters’ unravel their dark sides, despite their diplomatic intentions. We get to behold adults who act like rude, petulant children. However, if we watch closely, we might see a bit of ourselves.

Tickets: $20 (adults), $18 (seniors) and $16 (students & military)
More Info: click here.

The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles Street | Phone: 410-547-9000 | Website

 

Bonneau Caprece Jazz Series and WEAA 88.9 FM present Jazz @ The Walters
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | Doors at 6 PM

Carlos Johnson Zone 1 Jazz Band: Hear legendary saxophone player and bandleader Carlos Johnson as he performs a double-set at the Walters. Johnson thrived as a professional musician during his teens and performed at popular jazz clubs during the golden era of Baltimore’s historic Pennsylvania Avenue. He has shared the stage with a host of iconic talent, including Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Damita Jo.

Craft beer and wine will be on sale, and the Walters Museum Store will be open (with special discounts for concert attendees).

Tickets: $25 (20% off for members of the Walters or WEAA 88.9 FM). Click here to purchase.

Seeing Music in Medieval Manuscripts
Saturday, June 28, 2014 thru Sunday, October 12, 2014 | 10 AM – 5 PM

Medieval Manuscript

Medieval painters often filled their manuscripts with scenes of everyday life that included charming illuminations of people and animals playing musical instruments and dancing. Many of these images, however, functioned as sophisticated symbols that conveyed a complex understanding of man’s relationship with the order of the universe. Musical harmony and dissonance were thought to mirror the perfection of heaven as well as the disorder of evil. This exhibition, composed of approximately twenty manuscripts and objects, will explore music in its relationship with philosophy, religion, and the arts during the Middle Ages.

Click here for more information.


Trivia Time!

E. Bonaparte

Congratulations abound to everyone who correctly answered last month’s question!

Known as the ‘most beautiful woman in 1812 America,’ Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte grew up in town and caught the eye of Napoleon’s brother, Jerome, launching an international drama.

Elizabeth lived well into her nineties and could be seen walking around Mount Vernon, collecting rents on the many properties she owned in the area. She died in a boarding house that today is one of the neighborhood’s most favorite coffee houses: Milk & Honey.

Ready for this month’s question?

Question: There are at least two Tiffany stained-glass windows in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, located in distinct, and transcendent, places.

Name at least one building that is home to a Tiffany window.

Email me your answer, and you could win a prize!

laura-sig

Laura Rodini
Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is
A Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore

‘Making a Difference:’ Enoch Pratt And The Civil Rights Movement

June, 2014  Volume 2, Issue 6

Dear Reader,

When Enoch Pratt gave the city of Baltimore a $1 million endowment to build a library, his gift came with one caveat: “my library shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who… can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them.”

The Enoch Pratt Central Library was praised as the country’s first free, no-fee lending library, but it was ahead of its time in other ways, too. 1882 was the year the library was founded, less than 20 years after the Civil War. Slaves had been emancipated, but America remained segregated.

Thanks to Pratt’s inclusiveness, the library was the country’s first to issue borrowers cards to African Americans. In 1886, Harry S. Cummings of 935 North Eutaw Street became the first African American to obtain a Pratt Library card.

The Pratt library continued to uphold Pratt’s mandate, welcoming all through its doors for the next hundred-plus years.

“Even when the country was segregated, the Pratt Library wasn’t,” says marketing director Roswell Encina.

Today the Pratt Library has 22 branches throughout Baltimore. Its Central Library is right here in Mount Vernon, and more than two million people pass through its iron doors each year. The library continues to serve all through its career center, e-reader lending program, author events, and exhibits.

Making a Difference

The Pratt Library is well regarded for its Eddie and Sylvia Brown African American Collection, which is also a part of the Maryland State Library Resources. With more than 45,000 books, a digital collection that examines slave documents and African American life in Maryland, historic newspapers, anti-slavery pamphlets, personal journals, slave narratives, and photographs, it is Maryland’s premier resource for African American historical and genealogical research.

The Pratt’s newest exhibit, Making A Difference: African American Women and the Civil Rights Movement, showcases photographic images and stories of African American women who were instrumental in shaping the modern Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s-1960s. Many of the photographs are from the Pratt’s collection. The exhibit opens June 9 and runs through October 5, 2014.

Shedding Light on Women’s Role in the Civil Rights Movement

Historians have recently acknowledged that African American women were the ‘unsung heroes’ of the Civil Rights movement; for example, even after Rosa Parks made her revolutionary refusal to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, AL, she had to let men speak for her at public events.

“Making A Difference: African American Women and the Civil Rights Movement” seeks to shed light on their important contributions, both in Baltimore and around the country. Dozens of photographs will be on display.

Like the rest of the Pratt Library, this exhibit is free and open to the public.


 

Other Pratt Happenings in June

 

The Book Sale Is Back!

Book Sale
A happy shopper at last year’s Book Sale, courtesy Baltimore Sun

The Pratt usually holds its popular Book Sale around the holiday season, but due to winter snow closings, we get a summertime treat! Its Book Sale is taking place now through Saturday, June 7.

You’ll be able to sort through tens of thousands of old library books and donated books and CD’s in the Pratt’s central atrium. Hardcover books are $1 and paperbacks are 50 cents, so you can really stock up.

Notable Author Event

Jennifer Weiner

On Wednesday, June 18 at 7pm, the Pratt Library welcomes Jennifer Weiner, the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including Good in Bed, In Her Shoes (which was made into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz) and The Next Best Thing.

Her newest book, All Fall Down, is the story of a woman’s slide into addiction and struggle to find her way back again. With a sparkling comedic touch and tender, true-to-life characterizations, this tale of empowerment and redemption is Jennifer Weiner’s most poignant, timely, and triumphant story yet.

To reserve a seat, click here or call 410-396-5494.

Especially For Kids

Fizz Boom Read

And since it’s the summer, the Pratt introduces Fizz, Boom, Read, a program for children —  where you can actually win prizes for reading!

Simply sign up at the library and receive an activity log to fill out. Then start reading. For every day that you read a book or share a literacy activity together, you can check off or color in your activity log.

Prizes are awarded for 7 days of reading, 35 days, 49 days, and each week thereafter. And these prizes are good! They range from Orioles games to National Aquarium tickets. For more information, click here.

The Enoch Pratt Free Library is located at 300 Cathedral Street in Baltimore. Phone 410-396-5430. For a complete list of June events at The Pratt, visit www.prattlibrary.org.


 

Our Annual Meeting!

 

Postcard

Our Annual Meeting will take place on Monday, June 9 at the Walters Art Museum! We’ll discuss our plans for the coming year – including our first ad campaign. We’ll also have a delectable lunch from Trinacria, and a presentation about the new 520 Park Ave. apartments. If you are already a member of our Mount Vernon Cultural District, email me if you’d like to attend! And if you are interested in being part of our illustrious group, but have yet to join, what are you waiting for? Contact me today.


 

June Events In Mount Vernon
Presented in Chronological Order

 

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
1212 Cathedral Street | Phone: 410-783-8000 | Website

All events will occur at the Meyerhoff, unless otherwise noted.

Beethoven's Ninth

Beethoven’s Ninth
Thursday, June 5
Friday, June 6
Sunday, June 8

A not-to-be-missed concert experience. Hear the epic, timeless message of humanity and brotherhood when Marin Alsop leads the BSO, Baltimore Choral Arts Society and guest soloists in Beethoven’s inspiring Ninth Symphony. Marin Alsop, conductor
Angela Meade, soprano
Jennifer Johnson-Cano, mezzo-soprano
Dimitri Pittas, tenor
James Morris, bass-baritone
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Peabody Children’s Chorus

 

Casablanca

Casablanca:
Movie and Music
Thursday, June 12
Friday, June 13

 

One of the greatest films of all time accompanied by your world-class BSO. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, this classic film brings hope and heartache to the big screen while the orchestra performs Max Steiner’s famous soundtrack.A celebrated American film deserves a classic American cocktail! Read more.

Emil de Cou, conductor

 

Summertime

Summertime
Movin’ and Groovin’
Saturday, June 14, 10AM
Saturday, June 14, 11:30AM

A brass quintet will perform the swinging tunes of Joplin and sparkling music by Handel to celebrate what makes summertime great: sunshine, the beach, ice cream, swimming and more!The Music Box Series is a unique music program for young children ages 6 months to three years old and their families. Each performance features pre-concert activities hosted 30 minutes prior to the show by the BSO and partner organization Ready-at-Five, a non-profit that works to ensure that all Maryland children are ready to learn by age five. The wide range of pre-concert activities will encourage literacy, creative play and musical skills.

Attendees of all ages are required to have a ticket.

Maria Broom, narrator

 

 

Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street | Phone: 410-332-0033 | Website

 

Wild and Happy

Wild with Happy
By Colman Domingo
Directed by Jeremy B. Cohen
Through June 29

“Absurdly amusing!” – Variety
“A freewheeling, witty, and heartfelt new play” – AM New York

Grief is a funny thing. Gil’s boyfriend has left him, his acting career isn’t exactly taking off, and his mother just passed away. He’s not taking it all very well. But luckily his boisterous Aunt Glo, a sensitive funeral director, and his outrageous best friend may be exactly what he needs. Colman Domingo’s new comedy, a recent smash hit at New York’s Public Theater, is a wild ride through love, loss, and, just maybe, The Most Magical Place on Earth.

Tickets start at $19
Call 410.332.0033 or visit www.centerstage.org

Global Sister Cities

Global Sister Cities
By Colman Domingo
Directed by Jeremy B. Cohen
Through June 29

Global Sister Cities is a video installation at Center Stage that connects Baltimore audiences with five peer cities across the world: Durban, Glasgow, Ho Chi Minh City, Detroit, and Reykjavik. Exploring the role of art in public discourse Global Sister Cities asks artists and communities “How is your city responding to today’s challenges, and what is the role of art in shaping new ideas and solutions?” The installation is free and will be on display through June 29 in Center Stage’s Deering Lobby. For more info,  click here.

PlayLab

Play Lab: The Show-Off
By George Kelly
New Adaptation by Jerry Patch
June 6 – 8

Nothing has prepared Philadelphia’s Fisher family for their daughter’s new beau, the totally irrepressible and utterly irresponsible Aubrey Piper. Bold braggart and charming chump, Aubrey’s the ultimate self-made man-and the biggest challenge a mother-in-law ever confronted.

Originally written in 1924, and immediately hailed as “the best comedy [yet] written by an American,” this landmark laugher gets a fresh new adaptation and a first hearing in our final Play Lab of the season.

Come early for the ever-popular Toast Bar, then stay after to share your thoughts and responses.

Tickets $10 | $5 for Members
Call 410.332.0033 or visit www.centerstage.org

Fri, June 6 at 8 pm
Sat, June 7 at 8 pm*
Sun, June 8 at 2 pm
5th floor Jay Andrus Rehearsal Hall

* There will also be a free open rehearsal at 2:30 pm on Saturday, June 7. Patrons interested in attending should contact the Box Office at rsvp@centerstage.org. Please arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the start time.

 

Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website

 

Opening Soon! BEARINGS of Baltimore, Circa 1815

General Wayne Inn
A rendering of the General Wayne Inn by the
UMBC Imaging Research Center.

Researchers and exhibition staff are putting the final touches on the new street-view scene of 1815 Baltimore, which will open to the public on Thursday, June 19.

The exhibit is called the Bird’s Eye Annotated Representational Image/Navigable Gigapixel Scene (BEARINGS) of Baltimore, Circa 1815. Combining historical research with cutting-edge effects technology, BEARINGS of Baltimore, Circa 1815 provides a detailed rendition of the burgeoning city and conveys Baltimore’s prominence as a seaport and a commercial hub for the young country.

BEARINGS of Baltimore, Circa 1815 is comprised of over 2.5 billion pixels and nearly 50,000 tiles that are generated from a 3D model of the city. The model itself contains millions of individual elements, including structures like buildings and boats which are individually placed by hand, and vegetation that is randomly generated across portions of the terrain. It is quite a beautiful site.

How Did They Do It?

Researchers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Imaging Research Center studied early maps of downtown Baltimore, historical newspapers, first-hand accounts, insurance policies, legal code, and topographical images to recreate in painstaking detail an image of Baltimore as it looked shortly after the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

They created 3D models of Baltimore row houses and other buildings that made up the early Baltimore scene. Check out the level of detail that was applied to this project: In designing the General Wayne Hotel (pictured), located on the corner of Paca and Baltimore (also known as Market) Streets, researchers consulted the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, which listed the building’s construction materials. The hotel as it appeared in early photographs was also carefully reviewed. Using a library of authentic textures, its 3D brick exterior was created. A historically accurate paint scheme was used for the shutters. Notice how the shutters were louvered on the upper floors – their purpose was for ventilation from the hot, dusty street below. On the first floor, the shutters were paneled, for privacy from passersby. A hand-painted sign, a replica of what hung outside the hotel, was the final touch.

And that’s just one building!

Technical Considerations

BEARINGS of Baltimore, Circa 1815 is so large that it could not be displayed by a regular computer; in fact, if you wanted to view the whole image at once without shrinking it, you would need about 1,200 HDTVs.

The installation includes two screens: 46″ HD touch screen and a 75″ HD screen for projection. The super-fine quality resolution is HD (1920×1080). Its infrared technologies allow you to move to a point on the image without actually touching the screen.

By visiting the Maryland Historical Society, you can enjoy BEARINGS of Baltimore, Circa 1815 simply by placing your hand over the screen. Hover over a particular spot, and you can zoom in on historically accurate city streets. Or, you can select one of the interactive “Hotspots,” that, for the very first time, allow you to see significant buildings as they would have appeared in 1815. These arresting visual images are supplemented with primary source material from the Maryland Historical Society’s collection.

On Thursday, June 19 the installation will be open to the general public. It will serve as the gateway to the Maryland Historical Society’s exhibit In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812 and will be on view indefinitely.

The Maryland Historical Society wishes to thank Project Director Dan Bailey, Researcher and Artist Tamara Peters, Technical Director Ryan Zuber, CUERE Environmental Data manager Joshua Cole and the students at the Imaging Research Center for their outstanding work. The Maryland Historical Society also thanks the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation for their funding support.

For a complete list of June events at The Maryland Historical Society, visit  www.mdhs.org.

 

The Maryland Humanities Council
108 West Centre Street | Phone: 410-685-0095 | Website

 

Rosalie Calvert and the War of 1812
June 5, 2014 at 11:00am
Symphony Manor Assisted Living
4301 Roland Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21218

Actress Mary Ann Jung portrays the life of Rosalie Calvert of Riversdale Plantation in this costumed living history presentation. Audience members relive the drama of life during the War of 1812 as Rosalie describes the Battle of Bladensburg, the burning of Washington, and the creation of The Star-Spangled Banner. The presentation also explores the fascinating day-to-day details of running a plantation in Maryland.

Contact Lynsey Ricci at 410-235-4301 for more information.

Walking Tour

Literary Walking Tour
of Mt. Vernon
June 21, 2014 at 11:00am
Tour starts at 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Take this guided 90 minute walking tour with the Maryland Humanities Council, past Mount Vernon’s elegant mansions and majestic cultural institutions. Follow in the footsteps of the many famous authors, poets, and editors who sojourned in Baltimore’s cultural hub.

Registration is required for this free tour. Register here or call (410) 685-4186.

Maryland Humanities Council Spring Grant Awards Support Three Baltimore City Projects

Recently the Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) awarded support for three Baltimore City porjects in their most recent Major Grants Cycle. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation was awarded funds to bring their Writers in Schools program to Baltimore City Schools. In the 2014-15 school year, PEN/Faulkner Foundation will host 45 author visits, working with 14 teachers and 550 students in Baltimore City Public Schools. PEN/Faulkner will donate books to participating students/schools, conduct training with teachers in how to use their toolkit of lesson plans and other resources, and bring authors to the schools for author visits. MHC also provided support to the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University for a traveling exhibition on the history of Peabody Dance within the context of dance in Baltimore and around the state, major historical dance figures, and national dance movements. The exhibition is entitled “Moving History: Stepping Down the Path of Peabody Dance through 100 Years of Maryland History” and is part of a larger centennial celebration of Peabody Dance. The nonprofit organization Wide Angle Youth Media received support for their “International Engagement Radio and Video” project, which consists of an international radio workshop for Baltimore city teens where they will Skype with peers working with the Children’s Radio Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa. For more information about MHC Grant programs, click here.

 

Spotlighters Theatre
817 St. Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website

 

Edward II

Edward II
By Christopher Marlowe
Adapted by Jonas David Grey
Directed by Brad Norris
May 30 – June 22, 2014

In a time of civil strife and growing political unrest, the fate of an English king is threatened not by war, but by the prejudice of his own court against the man he loves. Marlowe’s play illustrates the romance between Edward and his beloved Gaveston with surprising candor, and reveals that not even the Crown is safe against the crushing intolerance of Church and State.

Tickets: Adults $20, Seniors $18, Students $16. Visit www.spotlighters.org or call 410-752-1225.

 

The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles Street | Phone: 410-547-9000 | Website

 

Edward II

The Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize 2014 Finalists
June 21, 2014 – August 17, 2014
10 AM – 5 PM

Presented by the Walters and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, this exhibition will show the work of the finalists for the 2014 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. Artists will compete for top honors and a $25,000 fellowship in the Greater Baltimore area’s most prestigious arts competition. The prize assists in furthering the career of a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in this region. Held in conjunction with Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, the semifinalist and finalist exhibitions will be presented in partnership with the Walters and the Maryland Institute College of Art. The competition winner will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Walters on July 12. Artscape will be July 18-20, 2014.

2014 Sondheim Artscape Prize Awards Ceremony
July 12, 2014 | 6 PM – 10 PM

The Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts present the Sondheim Artscape Prize: 2014 Finalists. Artists compete for top honors and a $25,000 fellowship in the greater Baltimore area’s most prestigious arts competition. The prize assists in furthering the career of a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in this region.

Super Thursday
August 14, 2014 | 5 PM – 9 PM

Save the date for our next Super Thursday party which will celebrate the closing of The Janet & Walters Sondheim Artscape Prize 2014 Finalists Exhibition. Enjoy music and drinks on the sculpture court, explore the museum, and see the work of the greatest contemporary artists in the area. This event is free and open to the public. Please enter through Centre Street.


Trivia Time!

Congratulations abound to everyone who correctly answered last month’s question!

Back when The Owl Bar was a Prohibition-era speakeasy, one had a recite a short poem to be allowed inside. Just what was that four-line poem?

Answer: “A wise old owl sat on an oak/ The more he saw the less he spoke/ The less he spoke the more he heard . . ./ Now wasn’t that a wise old bird? ”

Ready for this month’s question? The answer may surprise even the biggest of Baltimore’s history buffs.

Portrait of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, George D'Almaine after Gilbert Stuart, 1856, Maryland Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Charles Joseph Bonaparte, xx.5.78
Portrait of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, George D’Almaine after Gilbert Stuart, 1856, Maryland Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Charles Joseph Bonaparte, xx.5.78

Question: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte was known as the ‘most beautiful woman in 1812 America.’ The daughter of wealthy Baltimore merchant William Patterson, she grew up in town and caught the eye of Napoleon’s brother, Jerome, launching an international drama.

Elizabeth lived well into her nineties and could be seen walking around Mount Vernon, collecting rents on the many properties she owned in the area. She died in a boarding house that today is one of the neighborhood’s most favorite coffee houses: Name that building, and which coffee house inhabits it, today.

Email me your answer, and you could win a prize!

laura-sig

Laura Rodini
Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is
A Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore

Breathing Life Into History

May, 2014, Volume 2, Issue 5

Dear Reader,

Imagine learning about history — not just by reading about dates and generals in your high school textbook, but rather, by investigating the little-known, personal stories behind historical events.

Baltimore Students
Sophomore actors gather for news of the Battle of Baltimore in “the Common Defense”

Then imagine having the chance to act out these stories wearing historically accurate clothing.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Every spring, students at The Baltimore School for the Arts do just that. The school’s Sophomore Stage Production Ensemble has the opportunity to conduct research on historical Baltimore events at the Maryland Historical Society.

“After the students are instructed to handle materials very carefully,” project coordinator and faculty member Nora Worthington tells The Baltimore Sun, “they are given unprecedented access to primary sources — the real artifacts and documents. It’s really powerful.”

The students and faculty playwrights then use this material to create performances about life in Baltimore during critical moments in time.

This year’s project is called Citizen Stand.

Now in its sixth year, this project is a partnership that includes The Baltimore School for the Arts, Maryland Historical Society, and the National Park Service. Past topics have included “Famous Faces” in The Historical Society’s portrait collection, and topics from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. The free production includes three short plays written by faculty and student playwrights. The plays are inspired both by the stories found in primary sources — and the students themselves.

The program is as unique as the school itself.

An Arts Resource for the Baltimore Community

Founded in 1979, the Baltimore School for the Arts is a nationally recognized public high school. It provides talented students with pre-professional training in a specific arts discipline (dance, music, theatre or visual arts) combined with a college preparatory academic education.

The school has a unique admissions process designed to identify students with the potential for a career in the arts solely through an arts audition — no academic criteria are used. Once students are admitted, they must all pursue a rigorous academic curriculum: half the day is spent in academics and half in the arts. The faculty is composed of professional artists who mentor students throughout the school day.

More than 1,000 young people audition each year for about 100 spots. The student body is diverse racially, socio-economically and experientially. The vision of their founders has been achieved, and with fantastic results.

A Campus the Size of Mount Vernon

Jaelyn
Student Jaelyn Bell stitches patches on a dress

Students at the Baltimore School for the Arts can further deepen and broader their professional arts training through innovative partnerships with Baltimore’s premiere cultural institutions – right here in Mount Vernon.

For example, students have the opportunity to perform at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and on stage at Center Stage. Students attend programs at the Walters Art Museum, and they conduct research at the Maryland Historical Society.

“Our cultural resources are really intense,” Worthington says, “Our school is located in Mount Vernon — an area that has always been a thriving part of history. And it is in our students experience.”

The Small Details That Make History Come Alive

Postcard

The really interesting part about Citizen Stand is the fact that students in the Sophomore Production Ensemble don’t focus on well-known historical figures. Rather, they choose stories about the everyday people who lived through an important moment in our country’s history.

“[The performance is] more about the unity it brought to us — the soldiers losing their lives, the families having to sit in fear as they witnessed bombs hitting Baltimore,” student Julian Owens tells WBAL-TV.

This year’s production of Citizen Stand focuses on the War of 1812. Students present three dramatic scenes about the Battle of Baltimore:

    1. Woman of all Work, by Nora Worthington, explores the role of women behind the front lines. Working women and officer’s wives find themselves ordered to leave the Fort as preparations for the battle begin. What will everyday people do if the British burn their city?

 

    1. Loyalties Tested, by Natalie Pilcher, highlights the diverse experience of free and enslaved African Americans during the war. Brothers and sisters, black and white, free and enslaved, find themselves on Hampstead Hill in a frantic effort to defend the city from advancing forces. Who is obligated to defend the city, and who may actually join the British to gain their freedom?

 

  1. The Common Defense, by Paul Christensen, illustrates how Jewish and Quaker citizens reconciled their religious convictions to defend their homeland. As the British bombard Fort McHenry, citizens of Baltimore anxiously await the outcome in a nearby tavern. How have Jewish and Quaker citizens reconciled their religious convictions with their passionate desire to defend their homes?
“Our school is located in Mount Vernon – an area that has always been a thriving part of history. And it is in our students experience.”
-Nora Worthington

Stage Design and Production students bring the same rigor of research to the costume design for the production. Looking at images from 1814, and seeing actual clothing from the past in the Maryland Historical Society’s 1812 exhibit, they design looks for the characters they have researched. Student Jaelyn Bell (pictured) was inspired by a runaway slave ad from an 1814 newspaper. She then stitched a period dress for the character, distressed it, and sewed patches on it, just as the young girl of the past may have done.

The performances, which began in April, were hosted at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. The final performance will take place at the Maryland Historical Society tonight (Friday, May 2), at 6pm. This performance is free and open to the public.

What better way to experience history than right here in Mount Vernon?

The Baltimore School for the Arts is located at 712 Cathedral Street in Baltimore. For more information about their innovative curriculum and for a complete list of public events, visit http://www.bsfa.org.


 

Our Annual Meeting!

 

Postcard

We are gearing up for our Annual Meeting! But first, I’d like to take a moment to welcome Bay Bank as the newest member of our Mount Vernon Cultural District. You’ll be hearing more about Bay Bank in upcoming issues of The Mount Vernon Newsletter.

Now, back to our Annual Meeting. We’re planning on hosting it in early June. We’d like to thank The Walters Art Museum for generously providing space for our meeting, where we’ll discuss our plans for the coming year –including our first ad campaign! We’ll also have a delectable lunch from an area restaurant, and a presentation about the newest housing developments in our Mount Vernon area.

If you are already a member of our Mount Vernon Cultural District, look for your special invitation in your inbox next week!

And if you are interested in being part of our illustrious group, but have yet to join, what are you waiting for? Contact me today.


 

May Events In Mount Vernon
Presented in Chronological Order

 

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
1212 Cathedral Street | Phone: 410-783-8000 | Website

The worlds of orchestra and theater collide. Marin Alsop conducts the magical music of Mendelssohn as actors breathe life into Shakespeare’s timeless story of love and enchantment.

Midsummer Night

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
A Concert

The BSO and Folger Theatre present:
William Shakespeare’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Incidental music by Felix Mendelssohn
Concert Adaptation by Edward Berkeley

 

Marin Alsop, Conductor
Edward Berkeley, Stage Director
Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Women’s Chorus
Tom Hall, Music Director
Spencer Aste, Egeus, Philostrate, Puck, Starveling (Moonshine), Mustardseed
John Bolger, Theseus, Oberon, Snug (Lion)
Julie Boulianne, Mezzo-soprano (Fairy)
Katie deBuys, Hermia, Peter Quince (Prologue), Cobweb
Kate Eastwood Norris, Helena, Snout (Wall), Moth
Ying Fang, Soprano (Fairy)
Marcus Kyd, Lysander, Flute (Thisby), Peaseblossom
Cody Nickell, Demetrius, Bottom (Pyramus)
Linda Powell, Titania, Hyppolyta

 

CASTING CALL!

Casting Call

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is looking for a “dreamy dog” to perform in its upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Concert.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME
The “dreamiest dog” will be a major player and comedic highlight in this imaginative reinterpretation of this classic Shakespearean comedy. The dog will be the pal of one of the main clowns and appear as the best friend of the mythical Man in the Moon!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
Please submit a picture or video, along with a 100 word bio describing your fuzzy friend to dog@bsomusic.org by Monday, May 12. Five furry finalists will be announced on Monday, May 19 and will be asked to return for a final round of auditions on Friday, May 23 at 6pm at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Click here for complete submission guidelines, and may the best dog win!

 

Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street | Phone: 410-332-0033 | Website

 

Vanya

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Eric Rosen
Through May 25

“A brilliantly funny, compelling piece of theatre.” – DC Metro Theater Arts

In bucolic Bucks County, PA, Vanya and his sister Sonia have frittered their lives away living in the same farmhouse where they were raised. Their quiet existence of unease and regret, however, is rocked by the arrival of their glamorous movie star sister (and landlord) Masha, and her hunky boy toy, Spike. As their visit unfolds, a lifetime of sibling rivalry explodes into a weekend of comedic pyrotechnics.

Tickets start at $19
Call 410.332.0033 or visit www.centerstage.org

Wild and Happy

Up Next: Wild with Happy
By Colman Domingo
Directed by Jeremy B. Cohen
May 28 – June 29

“Absurdly amusing!” – Variety
“A freewheeling, witty, and heartfelt new play” – AM New York

Grief is a funny thing. Gil’s boyfriend has left him, his acting career isn’t exactly taking off, and his mother just passed away. He’s not taking it all very well. But luckily his boisterous Aunt Glo, a sensitive funeral director, and his outrageous best friend may be exactly what he needs. Colman Domingo’s new comedy, a recent smash hit at New York’s Public Theater, is a wild ride through love, loss, and, just maybe, The Most Magical Place on Earth.

Tickets start at $19
Call 410.332.0033 or visit www.centerstage.org

 

Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street | Phone: 410-396-5430 | Website

 

Washington College to Announce Sophie Kerr Prize
Tuesday, May 13 at 7:30pm | Main Hall

Sophie Kerr

The Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest undergraduate literary prize in the world, is awarded each spring to the Washington College senior who shows the most literary ability and promise. Join us as acclaimed poet Mary Jo Salter offers remarks and announces the winner of the 2014 prize, worth $62,900. The program also includes readings by the student finalists.

Innovation Expo: Create and Collaborate!
Saturday, May 31 at 10:00am to 4:30pm

Innovation Expo

Celebrate Maryland’s spirit of innovation at the second annual Innovation Expo. Makers, scientists, librarians, artists, and other creative thinkers from across the state will gather at the Central Library to share their skills with Marylanders of all ages.

Multiple hands-on exhibits will offer opportunities to explore emerging technology, 3-D printing, crafts, upcycling projects, tinkering, robots, a Minecraft tent, and more.

Keynote Speaker: Justin Hoenke, teen librarian at the Chattanooga Public Library, will share some of his successful creative strategies and invite conversation about the potential for new forms of innovation in Maryland public libraries. At 2 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium.

Join in for a chance to play, talk with artists, learn about DIY community groups in your area, and become part of the future of Innovation in Maryland.

Presented in partnership with the Division of Library Development and Services, Maryland Dept. of Education.

For a complete list of April programs at The Enoch Pratt Library, click here.

 

Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website

 

BMore Social

To order tickets, click here.

And for a complete list of May events at The Maryland Historical Society, visit  www.mdhs.org.

 

The Maryland Humanities Council
108 West Centre Street | Phone: 410-685-0095 | Website

 

Walking Tour
Curator Paul Espinosa at the George Peabody Library, courtesy Maryland Humanities Council

Take a Literary Walking Tour
of Mt. Vernon!
May 17, 2014 at 11:00am
Tour starts at 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Take this guided 90 minute walking tour with the Maryland Humanities Council past Mount Vernon’s elegant mansions and majestic cultural institutions. Follow in the footsteps of the many famous authors, poets, and editors who sojourned in Baltimore’s cultural hub. Experience a unique presentation of rare books at the George Peabody Library. Registration is required. To register, click here.

 

Spotlighters Theatre
817 St. Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website

 

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Incorruptible
By Michael Hollinger
Director: Sherrionne Brown
April 25 – May 18, 2014

Welcome to Priseaux, France, c. 1250 A.D… The river flooded again last week. The chandler’s shop just burned to the ground. And Ste. Foy, the patron of the local monastery, hasn’t worked a miracle in thirteen years. In other words, the Dark Ages still look pretty dark. All eyes turn to the promised visit of the Pope, to encourage other pilgrims to make the trek and restore the abbey to its former glory. That is, until a rival church claims to possess the relics of Ste. Foy – and “their” bones are working miracles.

Tickets: Adults $20, Seniors $18, Students $16. Visit www.spotlighters.org or call 410-752-1225.

Dramatists Guild
A reading of new work by a local Baltimore Playwright.
Thursday, May 8 – 7:30pm
FREE EVENT!

Edward II

Edward II
By Christopher Marlowe
Adapted by Jonas David Grey
Directed by Brad Norris
May 30 – June 22, 2014

In a time of civil strife and growing political unrest, the fate of an English king is threatened not by war, but by the prejudice of his own court against the man he loves. Marlowe’s play illustrates the romance between Edward and his beloved Gaveston with surprising candor, and reveals that not even the Crown is safe against the crushing intolerance of Church and State.

Tickets: Adults $20, Seniors $18, Students $16. Visit www.spotlighters.org or call 410-752-1225.

 

The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles Street | Phone: 410-547-9000 | Website

 

Highlighting 150 Years of Collecting American Art
in Spring Focus Show

Walking Tour
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844-1926). Margot [Lefebvre] in Blue, 1902. Pastel on brown, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper. Acquired by Henry Walters, 1925 (37.303)

The Walters Art Museum is featuring a spring focus exhibition, American Artists Abroad, now through June 22. This show highlights a lesser-known but important area of the museum’s collection and includes rarely seen works on paper by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and John La Farge, among others. It also celebrates the completion of a grant-funded project, sponsored by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to catalogue and digitize more than 600 American paintings, drawings and portrait miniatures for the museum’s Works of Art website.

“Rather than simply reacting to what they saw, American artists often successfully reinvented themselves through their time abroad without losing sight of their connection to home,” said Jo Briggs, assistant curator, 18th and 19th century art. “This exhibition showcases beautiful works collected over more than a century, and now, consistent with the Walters’ continuing mission of access and outreach, they are available online for everyone to enjoy.”

Both founder William T. Walters (1819-1894) and his son, Henry Walters (1848-1931), were collectors of contemporary art. They commissioned works from living American artists including Alfred Jacob Miller, Asher B. Durand, John Frederick Kensett, Frederic Church, Erastus, Dow Palmer and William Henry Rinehart. Their collection of American art has been enhanced over the past 80 years through numerous gifts and acquisitions.

Learn How to Build a Charitable Legacy from LGBT Icons

James Dean, Liberace and Others — what can we learn from the wills of LGBT Icons? From the debt-ridden estate of Oscar Wilde to the substantial fortune of Andy Warhol, on Tuesday, June 12, from 6-7pm, learn lessons from the administration of these and other famous estates as Michael E.S. McCarthy of U.S. Trust leads the discussion. Find out what provisions were made for their families and partners and how these individuals handled gifts of their tangible personal property. Reserve your free space at amancinelli@thewalters.org.

And on Thursday, June 19 from 6-7:30 pm, you can attend a free presentation on personal financial and estate planning for same sex couples. Professional advisors will lead a panel discussion on the legal and financial issues of the LGBT community and how they can address them to ensure that their families and choices are protected. A question and answer session will be held immediately following the presentation. Reserve your free space at amancinelli@thewalters.org.

The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 N. Charles Street in Baltimore. For a complete list of May events at The Walters, click here.


Trivia Time!

about_us_mvcd_photo

Congratulations abound to everyone who correctly answered last month’s question!

Exactly how many steps comprise the staircase inside of the Washington Monument?

Answer: There are 228 steps to the top of Baltimore’s Washington Monument. The Monument in Washington, DC, has 897 steps — which is a long way up. But I think the view here in Mount Vernon is just as nice!

Ready for this month’s question? It ranks among the things a true Baltimorean must know.

Question: Back when The Owl Bar was a Prohibition-era speakeasy, one had a recite a short poem to be allowed inside.

Tell me the poem — it’s only 4 lines long. Here’s a hint: you can find part of it etched on the Owl Bar’s beautiful stained glass windows.

Email me your answer, and you, too, could win a prize!

laura-sig

Laura Rodini
Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is
A Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore

Springtime in Mount Vernon

April, 2014
Volume 2, Issue 3 

Dear Reader,

After a long winter, spring is finally here, and there’s no better place to welcome it than in Mount Vernon!

The warmer weather and longer nights make it easy to stay out later, so why not check out one of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra‘s innovative new programs at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall?

BSYO
The Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra

“The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has classical performances and world-class musicians, but we are so much more than that,” says Laura Soldati, Director of Public Relations, “We are innovative in our programming, and make a strategic effort to have programming and outreach initiatives that could potentially reach every person in our community — in every age group and demographic.”

The BSO is encouraging a new generation of classical musicians through programs like the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra, a 200-student ensemble that performs throughout the year, and also performs with the BSO in Side-by-Side programs in which they join Orchestra members onstage. Another program, called OrchKids, introduces classical music to Baltimore’s elementary school students in East and West Baltimore.

It’s all part of Maestra Marin Alsop’s goal to build a symphony culture that reflects the diversity and multi-dimensionality of the city of Baltimore.

“Music is a language that bridges all others… what could be more basic and shared than that?” Maestra Alsop says.

Saturday Mornings at the Meyerhoff

music-box

One BSO program reaches an even younger audience. Called the BSO Music Box, this Saturday morning concert series is geared towards babies and toddlers ages 6 months-3 years old and their families.

Hosted by actress and storyteller Maria Broom, each half-hour concert features a small ensemble of BSO musicians. The Moo, Baa, Neigh performance on Saturday, April 26, celebrates the barnyard noises of sheep, pigs, horses and cows with some sprightly clarinet music by Mozart.

“These concerts aim to instruct infants and toddlers in music and appreciation through sound and touch. You’d think a 6-month old wouldn’t be able to understand the connections between sound and touch, but they do!” Laura says.

Arrive 30 minutes beforehand, and your child can meet the ensemble musicians. And since the performance takes place in the relaxed environment of the Meyerhoff’s Lobby, you won’t have to worry if your kids want to get up and start dancing!

“Our Family Series has always been a special part of Baltimore,” says Eileen Andrews, VP of Marketing and Communications. “Many Baltimoreans’ had their first introduction to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra by attending a Family Series or Mid-Week Education performance 20 or 30 years ago. Our Music Box Series is the latest in that tradition. And,” She added, “You never know – your children could really love classical music!”

perlman-itzhak
Itzhak Perlman, courtesy BSO

Other April BSO performances in Baltimore include world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman on Saturday, April 12 at 8 pm and Sunday, April 13 at 3 pm.

Perlman will actually conduct the orchestra while playing the violin — it is an awesome sight to behold! He will conduct Hector Berlioz’s visit, fiery “Symphonie fantastique” as well as perform Beethoven’s Romance Nos. 1 & 2 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 27.

For a complete list of BSO programming and to order tickets, check out their website: http://www.bsomusic.org. The Meyerhoff is located at 1212 Cathedral Street. Phone 410-783-8000.


Washington Monument Restoration Update

3
Atop the scaffolding, Tom discusses water damage

The Washington Monument has been closed to the public since 2010. But this week, we were invited by The Mount Vernon Place Conservancy to tour the restoration progress along with the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“I value Mount Vernon as an anchor of the city,” the Mayor said, “And I want to protect the Washington Monument as a historical treasure for generations to come.”

Tom McCracken, vice president at Lewis Contractors, explained how 200 years of water leaks have weakened the beautiful structure. “The original roof was composed of stepped layers of marble slabs with no waterproofing,” he said, which allowed water to penetrate the 4-foot thick walls and caused major damage.

Tom showed us evidence of lichen stains and took us down a narrow circular staircase into the basement, where ’round the clock heaters are helping to dry out the foundation.

Along the basement walls, the restoration crew made an amazing discovery – dozens of signatures dating back as early as the 1820s.

“There’s a mystery inside every building; there are always surprises and secrets,” Tyler Tate, Lewis Contractors president, told The Baltimore Sun.

2
Examining the handwriting on the walls

The $5.5 million restoration project entails masonry conservation and restoration of the monument’s original cast iron fence, mechanical systems, and interior finishes.

The four entrances to the monument will be dismantled, repaired and rebuilt.

Interestingly, the scaffolding erected around the cylindrical monument supports itself and doesn’t bear weight on the fragile monument. And the good news is, at the monument’s very top, George Washington’s only problems are minor and cosmetic. Workers can see evidence that the Washington statue had been hit by lightning. A lightning rod system was added during a previous restoration effort in 1982.

Scheduled completion for the restoration of the outside of the monument is expected to be November 1, 2014 — that’s plenty of time to have our annual Monument Lighting celebration!

The inside restoration will continue through next spring and should be finished in time for a grand reopening — and the monument’s bicentennial — on July 4, 2015.

The monument’s new interior will feature a small museum with state-of-the-art lighting and controls that will more easily facilitate outdoor programming in the Mount Vernon squares.

We’re proud to witness the restoration’s progress, and we’re looking forward to the monument’s reopening. We believe it will regain its place as one of Baltimore’s top tourist attractions, and further enhance our Mount Vernon neighborhood.

For complete project details, including a great video, be sure to check out The Mount Vernon Conservancy’s website: http://mvpconservancy.org/


 Welcome, New Mount Vernon Members!

I’d like to take a moment to welcome the newest members of our Mount Vernon Cultural District:

  • The Baltimore School for the Arts
  • Old Saint Paul’s Church
  • St. Mary’s Spiritual Center & Historic Shrine
  • Catholic Charities
  • The Orion Group!

You’ll be hearing more about these fantastic institutions in upcoming issues of The Mount Vernon Newsletter.


 Other Mount Vernon News

EnochPratt

The Washington Monument isn’t the only historic Mount Vernon site to receive a makeover — next year, the 275,000-square-foot Central branch of The Enoch Pratt Free Library will undergo renovations.

The Maryland Board of Public Works recently approved $4.8 million to complete the design plans. The entire renovation will total $96 million.

The renovations will include interior improvements, such as new bathrooms and air conditioning systems, a restoration of the Edgar Allan Poe Room as well as an updated information technology system. There will be laptop and smartphone docking stations and a “tech-takeout” center that would allow visitors to download information onto their tablets and e-readers.

The library will remain open throughout the 3-year project, which is expected to begin in 2015.


 

April Events In Mount Vernon

Presented in Chronological Order

 

Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street | Phone: 410-332-0033 | Website

 

12th_Press2

 

Twelfth Night

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Gavin Witt
Must Close April 13

Revelry, disguises, swashbuckling, and (of course) pining lovers abound in what some call Shakespeare’s most perfect comedy. Twins Viola and Sebastian, separated in a shipwreck and presuming each other dead, wash ashore in the beautiful but mysterious land of Illyria. A tale of mistaken identity and mismatched ardor unfurls as lords and ladies, servants and masters wind a topsy-turvy path to happiness.

Tickets are $19-$39. To purchase tickets, click here or call 410-332-0033.

Vanya photo
Zachary Andrews (Spike); Emily Peterson (Nina) and Tom Aulino (Vanya). Photo by Don Ipock/Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

By Christopher Durang
Directed by Eric Rosen

“A sublime state of hilarity.” –New York Magazine

“Deliriously funny!” – New York Times

In bucolic Bucks County, PA, Vanya and his sister Sonia have frittered their lives away living in the same farmhouse where they were raised. Their quiet existence of unease and regret, however, is rocked by the arrival of their glamorous movie star sister (and landlord) Masha, and her hunky boy toy, Spike. As their visit unfolds, a lifetime of sibling rivalry explodes into a weekend of comedic pyrotechnics. Presented as a co-production with Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Performances will run from Wednesday, April 16-Monday, May 26. To purchase tickets, click here or call 410-332-0033.

Discounts available for groups of 10 or more, call 410.986.4008.

 

Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street | Phone: 410-396-5430 | Website

 

CityLit

 

The schedule is set for the 11th annual CityLit Festival at The Pratt Library! Headlined by National Book Award winner James McBride and singer-songwriter/novelist Wesley Stace, the spring celebration of the literary arts in Baltimore takes place on Saturday, April 12, 2014, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Take in twenty programs featuring dozens of fiction authors, poets, and memoirists, at the Pratt Library’s Central Library, 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, 21201. Browse more than 50 exhibitors in the always bustling Literary Marketplace. Click here for the complete schedule.

For a complete list of April programs at The Enoch Pratt Library, click here.

 

Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website

A Special Invitation

 

Lord Baltimore Hotel
Courtesy Baltimore Style

The Maryland Historical Society cordially invites you to its 2014 annual gala celebrating the arrival of Lady Baltimore to the museum. This opulent evening will take place at the newly restored Lord Baltimore Hotel on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 6pm until midnight.

Enjoy dinner, cocktails, and dancing in the historic grand ballroom of the Lord Baltimore Hotel, which is now restored to its former glory.

Guests will also have exclusive access to the rooftop bar and spectacular views of Baltimore.

The Lord Baltimore Hotel recently completed a year-long, million dollar restoration. According to WBAL-TV, every facet of the 440-room hotel has been updated and now reflects its original, Art Deco grandeur.

“It’s an historic hotel and the fitting place to honor historic Lady Baltimore, who now graces the Maryland Historical Society entrance hall,” says Maryland Historical Society President Burt Kummerow.

In November 2013, the 8-foot Cararra marble goddess affectionately known as Lady Baltimore was moved from her 200-year old position atop the Battle Monument to an environmentally friendly location at the Maryland Historical Society.

Proceeds from the Lord & Lady Baltimore Gala will support the stewardship and interpretation of Lady Baltimore at the Maryland Historical Society.

Bonaparte Ball 2013

 

Guests at last year’s Bonaparte Ball,
courtesy Ken Stanek Photography

 

Opulent Evenings With
The Maryland Historical Society

It’s an annual tradition at The Maryland Historical Society to hold a gala benefiting the museum. Just like last year’s smash Bonaparte Ball (pictured), this year’s event is black tie attire.

Complimentary valet parking will be available at 20 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.
To order tickets securely online, click here. You may also order tickets by calling 410-685-3750 Ext. 399.

For a complete list of April events at The Maryland Historical Society, visit  www.mdhs.org.

 

The Garrett Jacobs Mansion
and Engineers’ Club
11 West Mt. Vernon Place | Phone: 410-539-6914 | Website

Silent Movie Series

On Tuesday, April 22 at 7pm, The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion Endowment Fund in partnership with The Engineer’s Club presents the latest installment in its 2013-2014 Silent Movie Series featuring Organist James Harp. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is April’s feature selection. The movie will begin at 7 pm at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. Tickets are $10. For more information, see this link.

The Garrett Jacobs Mansion is located at 11 W. Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore.

 

The Maryland Humanities Council
108 West Centre Street | Phone: 410-685-0095 | Website

Tune into MHC’s Humanities Connection
Thursdays at 5:45pm on WYPR-FM

 

MHC-2
George Peabody Library Curator Paul Espinosa

Each week MHC’s Humanities Connection explores the intersection of the humanities and our daily lives, reflects on the past, present, and future, celebrates the power of literature, and demonstrates the importance of the humanities to understand the human experience.

Segments feature the voices of scholars and public humanities professionals throughout the state, cover historical milestones, and hidden cultural narratives. You may have recently heard Center Stage’s Director of Community Projects and Education Rosiland Cauthen’s commentary on their MHC grant-supported program Trayvon Moments, or President of Poe Baltimore Kristen Harbeson on Baltimore’s Literary Luminaries. Perhaps you caught local folklorist Elaine Eff’s reflection on the 100th Anniversary of Painted Screens in Baltimore. Listen to these and other podcasts on the WYPR website.

Does your cultural institution have a humanities-related story to tell? Contact MHC Communications Officers Michele Alexander, who produces the segment, at malexander@mdhc.org to pitch your story idea.

MHC-3
A tour guide talks about Edgar Allan Poe at the former home of J.H. B. Latrobe. Courtesy of the Maryland Humanities Council

Maryland Humanities Council Literary Walking Tours of Mt. Vernon Return!

The Maryland Humanities Council’s popular walking tour of Baltimore’s cultural hub returns April 19th. The Literary Walking Tour of Mt. Vernon weaves history, architecture, and philanthropy into its literary narrative about the historic neighborhood. Tour-takers learn about the authors, poets and editors who sojourned there and share quotes by each featured literary luminary.

The walk, which takes about 90 minutes, spans from The Enoch Pratt Free Library where the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Karl Shapiro is highlighted, to the Gertrude Stein residence on Biddle Street. Participants will enjoy a special treat with a short presentation by curator Paul Espinosa at the George Peabody Library demonstrating some of the rare books in their collection.

The free tour is offered on the third Saturday of each month from April to September, during the Baltimore Book Festival, and Literary Arts Week in October. Fun and informative, the Mt. Vernon Literary Walking Tour is appropriate for high school ages and above. After the tour, walkers are encouraged to enjoy lunch at the Historic Owl Bar at the Belvedere Hotel with a 10% discount coupon for lunch.

Groups of 10 or more can schedule a tour outside of Saturday dates for a nominal fee. Space is limited for free tours and reservations are required. Call (410) 685-4186 or visit www.2014MtVernonLitWalkTour.eventbrite.com to make your reservation today.

 

Spotlighters Theatre
817 St. Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website

 

stream-1

Five Course Love

Book, music & lyrics by Gregg Coffin
Director: Fuzz Roark
Musical director: Michael Tan
Performances thru April 6

Four actors, five restaurants, fifteen zany characters! Mix ’em up and you have the ingredients for Five Course Love, a deliciously over-the-top musical comedy about five calamitous dates.

The evening begins at Dean’s Old-Fashioned All-American Down-Home Bar-B-Que Texas Eats, where a blind date goes char-broiled wrong. Next, at the Trattoria Pericolo, a mob wife has a secret rendezvous with her lover. At Der Schlupfwinkel Speiseplatz, a VERY interesting three-some is revealed, at Ernesto’s Cantina, Love and Lust battle for Rosalinda, and finally . . . at the Star-Lite Diner, a mystery date is set!

For tickets, visit www.spotlighters.org or call 410-752-1225.

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Incorruptible

By Michael Hollinger
Director: Sherrionne Brown
Performance dates: April 25 – May 18, 2014

Welcome to Priseaux, France, c. 1250 A.D… The river flooded again last week. The chandler’s shop just burned to the ground. And Ste. Foy, the patron of the local monastery, hasn’t worked a miracle in thirteen years. In other words, the Dark Ages still look pretty dark. All eyes turn to the promised visit of the Pope, to encourage other pilgrims to make the trek and restore the abbey to its former glory. That is, until a rival church claims to possess the relics of Ste. Foy — and “their” bones are working miracles.

For tickets, visit www.spotlighters.org or call 410-752-1225.

Spotlighters Theatre is located at 817 St. Paul Street, in Baltimore.

 

The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles Street | Phone: 410-547-9000 | Website

Designed for Flowers: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics

 

ikebana-banner

Subtle, bold, powerful.

Japan’s contemporary ceramic artists draw on traditions begun thousands of years ago as they create containers for the presentation of flowers. Inspired in part by Japan’s distinctive ikebana flower arranging styles, the extraordinary ceramics on display in Designed for Flowers: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics exist in unique harmony with these floral traditions. With dramatic designs both traditional and contemporary, this exhibition celebrates the works of many of Japan’s greatest living ceramic artists.

Comprised almost exclusively of vases drawn from the Betsy and Robert Feinberg Collection, The Walters explores the ways in which contemporary ceramic artists have challenged and come to understand the vessel as a support for flowers. Responding to Japan’s ikebana flower arranging traditions and to the distinctive design aspects of the Japanese interior, the ceramics in this exhibition reveal the beauty and power that has distinguished Japan’s contemporary ceramic artists.

Designed for Flowers: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics is now on view through May 11, 2014. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday 10am-5pm and Thursdays 10am-9pm. Designed for Flowers is a special ticketed exhibition: $10 adults, $8 seniors, $6 students. Children under 17 years and members of the Walters Art Museum receive FREE admission. The museum is free for everyone Thursdays 5pm-9pm.

For even more hands-on fun, The Walters will offer ikebana demonstrations 2pm on Sunday, April 6 and April 27. You can even make your own ceramic vessel on Sunday, April 27.

The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 N. Charles Street in Baltimore, MD. Phone 410-547-9000. http://thewalters.org/


Trivia Time!

Congratulations abound to everyone who correctly answered last month’s question!

What is known as the oldest blacksmithing business in North America that’s still in operation, today?

Krug
Courtesy The Baltimore Sun. All Rights Reserved.

Answer: G. Krug & Son, located on W. Saratoga St! Krug is responsible for many of the beautiful cast- and wrought-iron pieces that adorn our Mount Vernon buildings.

“[Mount Vernon] is a virtual catalog of local ornamental iron both cast and wrought,” writes Citypaper, “including fences, gates, window grates, railings, shoe-scrapers, roof crests, weather vanes, and two very French Quarter-ish cast-iron balconies on the south sides of 700 and 800 Cathedral Street.”

You’ll find more examples along Park Avenue, in Mount Vernon Park, and throughout the campus of the Peabody Institute.

Ready for this month’s question?

You may need to remember back to your childhood for this one…

Question: Exactly how many steps comprise the staircase inside of the Washington Monument?

Email me your answer, and you could win a prize!

laura-sig

Laura Rodini
Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is
A Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore