Volume XVII, Issue 38 # September 17 - September 23, 2009

from the Editor

Go out Looking This Weekend —

You may chance upon genius

Artists are like bridge builders: Both make sightly things that take you places. As do designers of trains, planes, automobiles, trucks, buses, RVs, boats, bikes, blimps, motorcycles and scooters.

That similarity gives me a good reason to explain why I was so tickled by Tools in Motion, the small exhibit you can see at St. John’s College, assembled from hardware magnate John Hechinger’s big collection.

True, engineers need to make things that work. You’ll be traveling over that bridge in body, so it had better not drop you into the Bay beneath. But form and function so fuse in the best designs that you get a beautiful thing that does a job well. As the Bay Bridge did, until traffic overwhelmed it. If you couldn’t see that for yourself, Marion Warren’s famous full moon-lit photo made the point perfectly clear.

Artists mainly spend more time on how their works look than what they do, because you travel their bridges in spirit rather than in body. Of course there’s the artistic exception: Mobiles have got to dangle and cathedrals soar; in both those cases, falling fails the artistic purpose.

Occasionally, a guy like Leonardo da Vinci masters both sorts of invention. He could imagine a flying machine (though not quite make it work) and make your heart soar. That’s what we call genius.

You don’t come on genius every day, though you can have a lot of fun looking. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of sights so transporting that you won’t mind if genius is still in your offing.

We’re coming up on a weekend that gives us extraordinary opportunity to go looking.

Starting on Thursday, 31 artists from all over the country paint the town at Paint Annapolis 2009 plein-air competition. Visit Annapolis from Thursday, September 17, through Saturday, September 19, and you’ll run into artists who’ve set up their easels all over the city to capture its looks in living light. The places these fresh, wet paintings will take you are into the beating heart of a time and place we forget to see because we’re speeding through it.

You can see all the stages of Paint Annapolis and still have time to travel to Solomons to see Artfest at Annmarie Garden. Saturday, September 19, and Sunday, September 20, over 12 dozen artists from across America converge in the buildings and along the woody paths of the 30-acre garden. You never know what’s behind the next tree, and anticipation keeps you seeking.

But don’t stop yet. There’s still much more to see — halfway between these city and country festivals.

In Deale, the newly formed Muddy Creek Artists Guild stages its second show of works from the hands of Southern Anne Arundel County artists. The Guild’s membership has doubled to 70 artists since its first show in Galesville in June. In the newly vacated Blockbuster video store at the Deale roundabout — the intersection of routes 258 and 256 — the Guild is able to keep its show up for 11 days, from Thursday, September 17, thru Sunday, September 27. It’s called a Harvest of Artists not only for the season but also because having a showcase has pushed the artists out of the intangible realm of possibility and into the tangible world of made things.

It’s made them more workerly, and from work genius emerges.

But there’s one difference between art and engineering you’ll enjoy this weekend. As artworks are often smaller than bridges, you’re more likely able to afford them and take them home.

Find full details on all these events and more in 8 Days a Week.

       Sandra Olivetti Martin

   editor and publisher