April 13 Visions of Verses Exhibition Hailed As Wonderful Collaboration Between CSM and Art Council
Art inspires. A painting or a beautifully expressed idea or sculpture can cause even the most casual observer to pause and think. For artists and writers, that same work can fuel additional artistic expression.
A poem can inspire a painting.
A painting can inspire a poem.
The Visions of Verses Exhibition at the calvART Gallery in Prince Frederick celebrates this idea. The show, which features poetry inspired by local artists’ work, will run from April 11 to May 5, with a free reading and reception set for 5 to 8 p.m. on April 13.
The show is made possible through support by The Arts Council of Calvert County, Maryland State Arts Council, College of Southern Maryland (CSM), the CSM Foundation and calvART Gallery.
“The Arts Council felt strongly that the Visions of Verses event fits in with our mission of investing and encouraging the arts in Calvert County,” said Executive Director of Arts Council of Calvert County Carol Eberly, noting that the success of last year’s inaugural event was exciting. “The reception turned out to be a wonderful experience for our over 100 guests, as they were able to listen to poetry written for a particular piece of art. After the poems were read, the artist explained what their piece of art meant to them. It was so interesting how people view things differently. So many different visions of the same piece of art or poetry.”
Last year’s event featured art that was inspired by poetry. This year’s Visions of Verses Exhibition features poetry that was inspired by visual art — acrylics, oil and watercolor paintings as well as ceramic on wood, felting, mixed media, stained glass sculpture pieces.
Poet Michael Glaser is participating in this year’s exhibition. Glaser, who served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2004 to 2009 and is a Professor Emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, chose to write a poem inspired by photographer Lonnie Harkins’ “Pier to the Sky,” a digitally edited photo of a pier that appears to lead into the clouds in the sky.
The image “struck me as offering a solid, physical image of how so much of life feels like stepping off a pier into the unknown,” Glaser said.
It also caused Glaser to recall a conversation with one of his sons, who asked, “How do you know what true love is?”
Glaser responded by saying, “Say you had to jump off a high diving board and didn’t know what was underneath; if you know whose hand you’d most like to be holding for whatever might follow, that is probably a pretty good sign of true love.”
“Harkins’ photo reminded me of that conversation and my ongoing fascination with how to live positively with complexity, ambivalence and ambiguity in a world that increasingly seems to be heading toward a fool’s death,” Glaser said. “The words began to flow!” The result was Glaser’s poem in this year’s Visions of Verses Exhibition, “Dancing with the Improbable.”
CSM Languages and Literature Professor Neal Dwyer describes Visions of Verses as an example of “a wonderful collaboration between CSM and our regional arts councils.” He notes that the participating poets include current and former CSM professors, as well as former CSM students.
Dwyer composed two poems for the event — “upturned against the dark,” inspired by Carol Wade’s acrylic painting “Angel Trumpets,” and “before the divorce,” which was inspired by a photo by Barbara Boward.
“Artists can feed each other – lonely as we are, writing, painting, drawing on our own, quiet, lonely,” Dwyer said in the introduction to a Visions of Verses program book, which will be available for sale at the April 13 reception. It “turns out we feed each other, words feed images, images feed words, and there really is little difference between finding words for wordless experience and an image to capture that for which there is no signpost.”
Dwyer said the spirit of Visions of Verses is “to remind us to spend a little more time looking and listening, appreciating these images and words for which we have no images, nor words.”
In addition to Glaser and Dwyer, regional poets participating in this year’s Visions of Verses include Jesse Alexander, Karen Anderson, Crystal Brandt, Anne Caston, Jeffrey Coleman, Carol Harvat, Sherbie Kardinal, Hiram Larew, Elsivetta Ritchie, Rachel Anastasia Smith, Daniel Yu, Katherine Lassman and Joanne Van Wie.
CalvART Gallery member artists participating, in addition to Harkins, Wade and Boward, include Randy Estabrook, Wendy Schneider, Mimi Little, Mary Blumberg, Alison Barry, JoAnn Gilhooly, Keith Gordon, Ann Crain, Nancy Bateman, Pat Morrison, Steve Richardson, Suzanne Shelden, Nancy Bateman, Ann Trentman, Phyllis Noble and Marie Estabrook.
Noting how the writers and artists in the region have embraced the Visions of Verses event, Eberly expressed confidence that the program will continue and the new ideas will be considered. “You never know where poetry and art will take you,” Eberly said. “We are looking forward to this Visions of Verses event and seeing our guests and many new faces.”
The calvART Gallery is located at 110 Solomons Island Road S. and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more, visit www.calvartgallery.com. For information on arts events in Calvert County, visit www.calvertarts.org. For information about language and literature studies at CSM, visit www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/credit/academic-divisions/ecl/.