If you live in our area, or are a frequent visitor, you are probably aware of the full spectrum of arts offered to the community. We are fortunate to have access and exposure to all types of high-level performances and education from several institutions and organizations. One of the most well-rounded of those is Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

In 1979, the old Annapolis High School was converted to a cultural arts center, and Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts was formed.  Designed to actively engage the community in creative endeavors in arts education and the performing and visual arts, it has been delivering on that promise to the community ever since. It’s almost impossible to find an Annapolitan that hasn’t enrolled in a class, attended a performance or participated in an art experience of some kind at Maryland Hall.

Performance that delivers

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts Cirque Zuma Zuma

With their four exceptional resident companies - The Annapolis Opera, The Annapolis Symphony, The Ballet Theater of Maryland and the Annapolis Chorale/Live Arts Maryland - they consistently provide us with the traditional and classical, like the Nutcracker, or symphonic performances of Mozart and Schumann, alternating with new and exciting forms of live performance, such as Cirque Zuma Zuma, coming later this year.

Visual Arts

The three Maryland Hall art galleries exhibit quality work that often represents or depicts rich historical connections to the area, and there are nine juried Artists in Residence with studios on the third floor, and I am happy to be one of them. The old converted classrooms are wonderfully spacious with windows that can’t be beat!

Working artist demonstrations are always well attended. The next one coming up is sure to be packed:

  • Pottery Demonstration by Rick Malmgren on ways of making and fishing a variety of forms on the potter’s wheel will take place from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, February 11.

Education for All

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts Art Class at Maryland Hall

The range of courses for both children and adults is amazingly robust. To name just a few:  Acting, Celtic Drumming, Irish Dance, Fused Glass, Ceramics, Introduction to Impressionism, Drawing Cats & Dogs, Ballroom Dancing, Woodturning.  I love seeing all the small children coming to and from ballet class!

Some fun facts about Maryland Hall’s now 40+ years of educational curriculum:

  • offers over 700 classes per year. 285 in the Winter/Spring 2017 semester.
  • has over 4,000 students participate in classes per year.
  • has over 45 instructors.
  • offers classes for people of every age, from birth to 90+.
  • has created a new and improved room for print and letterpress.

It’s a great place for parents to go while the kids are in classes; you can view the exhibits in the galleries, take classes, sit in the new café, and walk the labyrinth. There’s even a frame shop in the basement, so you can have your art purchases framed while your child is learning something artistic.

There really is something for everyone, and if you haven’t been enticed up to now, read on because they are keeping up with the times.

Innovating and connecting with the community

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts Rick Malmgrem Lava Rimmed Vase, Platter - picture courtesy of Rick Malmgrem

Adding a class or an art experience to our already busy schedules means it has to have value. Perhaps we need it to include the whole family or at least maybe occur at the same time as other family members, but it also has to stand out as a “wow” among the many choices we are lucky enough to have in our area. Maryland Hall is coming up with innovative ways to help you engage in an experience that is new and different, as well as provide opportunities to do things as a family.  Here’s how:

The Art of Wellness

“Artful” Yoga: What’s more serene and calming than an art gallery, or the Labyrinth in front of Maryland Hall?  Imagine you are practicing yoga in one of these locations. Having held such classes in the past that were successful, they are pursuing collaborations with different local yoga studios for Quarterly Yoga sessions in the galleries and out on the Labyrinth, such as Capital Yoga Studio, and Annapolis Yoga.

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts Strawberry Taco from Food is Art

“Food as Art”:  If you love to cook – or appreciate fine food – then you know it is an art!   In collaboration with Turning Leaf Wellness, Maryland Hall will host a special “Food as Art” class at 6:30 p.m. February 14.  Create crème anglise sauce from scratch to use as edible paint, and use mold-able chocolate to create flowers and decor. Then enjoy the Valentine-inspired garnishes to enhance the wellness of your spirit!

Creativity for Older Adults

Encore Rocks: If you love to sing, love Rock and Roll, and want to have a great time with like-minded singers, you'll love the new Encore ROCKS Annapolis, a Rock ‘n’ Roll Chorus! The Winter/Spring selections will include music you loved growing up - and maybe a few things your kids loved, too!

Arts & Crafts for Kids & Teens

There are classes designed for both parents and children to participate together, such as  “Fused Glass” (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) or the many offerings in “Music Together”.

There is so much more that I just can’t include it all here, so check out their website, or better yet, stop by and decide which performances you want see and which classes you want to take.  You’re biggest challenge will be narrowing your decision!

A few upcoming events of note:

  • Art Fest, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 25 is Maryland Hall’s annual open house, featuring education programs through demonstrations, performances and activities that include children’s crafts. An all ages event with all things “Made in Maryland.”
  • BIG INK – a non profit that travels around the country– will be traveling to Annapolis to host a two-day workshop for invited artists to create large woodcut prints. The two-day workshop August 4 and 5 will be open to the public to watch the process and jump in for smaller hands-on projects. The work created during the two days will then be displayed in the Halls of Maryland Hall for the following weeks for everyone to enjoy: http://www.bigink.org/



Photos courtesy of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and Patrick Malmgren