Like Noah freeing the animals and greeting the rainbow, the Frederick Arts Council rose up out of a watery tragedy, created in the wake of the destruction of Frederick's art community in the flood of 1976. This year, the organization is celebrating 40 years of community engagement and support of the arts with a special celebration at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, one of the venues restored through the aid of the council.
The council acts as the center for artistic life in the community, sponsoring the annual Festival of the Arts, funding public art and supporting Frederick's Arts and Entertainment District.
The organization also funds area artists through grants, scholarships and awards, including support for the Frederick Symphony Orchestra, the Fredericktowne Players, Maryland Ensemble Theatre and more.
The event will be anchored by a keynote speech by David Rubenstein, board chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and philanthropist. Rubenstein has donated to efforts to restore the Washington Monument, Monticello and the Lincoln Memorial, and will speak about the need for public art support.
Rubenstein will be joined by musician Sally Taylor for a concert performance. Taylor, the daughter of musicians James Taylor and Carly Simon, said she was thrilled to help the organization celebrate their 40 years. Taylor said art is a vital component to any community, as it helps people see themselves and their neighbors from a different perspective.
"I see art as being the mystery made manifest," Taylor said. "It's an opportunity to be taken out of the average and into the extraordinary on a regular basis."
Growing up surrounded by music affected Taylor's relationship with the art, she said. Though she never felt and pressure to conform, she said she was just instantly drawn to the musical world. Though music holds different meanings for all people, Taylor said it's the power to connect individuals that speaks most powerfully to her.
"Music was this invisible art that touches us deeply, and that's what called to me about that particular medium," Taylor said. "It's so unique in that it didn't have a visual component. It's just sound waves bouncing off different people that resonate and train into a frequency and that's exciting."
Taylor formed her own record label in 1998 and has released three albums, "Tomboy Bride," "Apt #6S" and "Shotgun." Taylor spent five years touring the country with her five-piece band before retiring from the road and starting her teaching career at The Berklee College of Music. Over the past several years, she has run Consenses, an organization that brings together artists of different disciplines to create a chain of production.
The project treats art like a game of telephone, where a message is passed from one person to another. Through the Consenses mold, an artist is given a piece of work from someone who works in a different medium and is given seven days to interpret it into a piece of their own, creating a chain that could start with a painting that becomes a song that becomes a photograph.
The resulting chains were then exhibited over three seasons at Midnight Farm in Martha's Vineyard, before finally concluding following the summer of 2016. Taylor said she the one through-line in all of her art is the desire to bring people together. She said she hopes people come away from the performance Saturday feeling like they're a part of a larger community.
"I hope people feel as though art is something that is incredibly important in our culture," Taylor said. "Especially now as we feel siloed and isolated by our differences, I'm hoping we can find through this event something that strikes a chord to their very center."
If You Go
What: Frederick Arts Council 40th Anniversary Celebration
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11
Where: Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick
For more information: Visit www.weinbergcenter.org