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Downtown galleries feature American spirit

The Baltimore Sun

Participating artists in the coming month-long celebration of our nation's birth might evoke a 21st-century reflection of Walt Whitman's poem, "I Hear America Singing," which concludes with "Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs."

Beginning Sunday, downtown Annapolis galleries will celebrate America's spirit through paintings, graphics, ceramics, art glass and sculpture in the third annual Red, White and Blue Exhibit sponsored by the Annapolis Gallery Association.

Visitors will discover artists' tributes to Independence Day that should prove as spectacular, exciting and appropriate to the occasion as any dazzling July 4th fireworks display - but far more enduring.

Always coinciding with Independence Day, exhibits this year will include summer themes of patriotic subjects, of history and of our national heritage.

Gallery 1683 at 151 Main St. will participate for the second year with its emphasis both years on George Washington. Gallery owner Sandra Pezzoli stresses the important role that Washington played in Annapolis, where he resigned his command of the Continental Army "just steps from us at the State House," she said. (Gallery 1683 occupies a building that dates from 1760).

Award-winning Annapolis artist Amy Maddox, one of the few female carvers in the Chesapeake Bay area, will pay her own tribute to our nation's first president at the July 6 reception by carving likenesses of George Washington.

Among the artists exhibiting at Gallery 1683 are Maureen Bannon, Nick Serratore and Andrew Katz. Bannon, an Impressionist, brings her light loose brushwork and signature serenity to her exhibited oil "Patriotic Garden" which captures what she describes as "the energy in the way flowers live."

Pastel artist Serratore captures a vibrant realism in his landscapes and here in his "American Icon" creates a sun-drenched bright red barn to evoke an Americana image.

Watercolorist Katz brings an intense immediacy to his works often depicting bay life. For the Red, White and Blue Exhibit he has created a proud American eagle.

Award-winning Rockville artist Bill Schmidt will have a number of oil paintings exhibited at McBride Gallery on Main Street, including his magnificent "Capitol Building" that uniquely captures the grandeur of this national treasure.

Known for his ability to capture color and light in a manner reminiscent of early French and American Impressionists, Schmidt has gained national and even international renown, having been acknowledged on three occasions as one of the top 100 painters in the National Art for the Parks competition. Schmidt was also represented in an international marine art exhibit in Mystic, Conn.

The American Craftworks Collection exhibition will focus on artists who work in media including art glass, paintings, photography, wood carvings, pottery, scrimshaw and scratch board drawings. This variety of art expressing a patriotic theme conjures up Whitman's "varied voices singing their strong melodies."

Watercolorist Carolyn Councell brings the essence of July 4 to her "Middleton Tavern" depicting the Annapolis landmark with flags flying and water brought up close for a pleasing enhanced harbor effect.

This is but a sampling of the wealth of offerings to be found at the 20 participating member galleries of the Annapolis Gallery Association where exhibits can be viewed daily throughout July. Art lovers and their families might want to attend the show's open house receptions on from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 6 when demonstrations will be featured at selected galleries and light refreshments will be offered.

For the July 6 receptions, parking is recommended at the Hillman Garage off Main Street or Gotts Court Garage on Calvert Street near the Visitors' Center, where parking is free provided proof of Red White and Blue Exhibit attendance can be verified by any gallery visited.

For additional information, call McBride Gallery at 410-267-7077.

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