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Cultural stroll by the water

The Baltimore Sun

Nestled along the Chesapeake Bay between Charm City and our nation's capital, Annapolis has become a hot spot for the arts in recent years as artists have flocked like sea gulls to the quant bayside city.

"In Annapolis the art has just been getting better and better every year," Annapolis Art Walk organizer Cynthia McBride said. "Artists are attracted to beautiful places to paint, and Annapolis is a beautiful town by the bay. Artists and good art lead to more galleries and more galleries lead to more collectors and visitors."

Annapolis' many artists and art galleries have an opportunity to showcase their work to art lovers tonight at the Annapolis Art Walk.

"It's an evening of fun and enjoyment," said Jim Jaffre, co-owner of the Wynn Bone Gallery at Casa Nova. "You get to walk around and enjoy all the [stimuli]. All the galleries are trying to make their gallery a special place to visit."

Wynn Bone Gallery is one of the 20 Annapolis art galleries that will be participating in the Annapolis Art Walk, now in its 17th year. The participating galleries are clustered within a few blocks of one another, making them accessible by foot, and are decorated with yellow balloons to identify them for visitors.

There will be a wide range of art from both emerging artists and top-tier experts along the walk. While aquatic and boating scenes are popular in Annapolis galleries, there is a variety of subjects in the galleries, from Santa and his reindeer to portraits, landscapes and historical landmarks.

The annual event, sponsored by the Annapolis Gallery Association, has a unique twist that separates itself from more traditional art walks. Instead of just displaying finished works, the galleries also have artists on hand creating art as passers-by look on. The range of media demonstrated includes watercolor painting, oil painting, pottery, jewelry, woodcarving, etching, scrimshaw and photography.

"At most art walks, you're just walking around looking at artwork, but at the Annapolis Art Walk, you actually get to watch the artists work," McBride said. "Children love to watch artists paint."

In addition, many galleries are featuring live musical performances and serving light refreshments. Downtown restaurants and shops will extend their hours to take advantage of the Annapolis visitors.

Katherine Burke, curator for the Marion Warren Gallery and the Annapolis Collection, had an interesting take on the energetic nature of the art walk.

"It's the Annapolis Gallery Association's version of Midnight Madness, but it's in August, and it's for people who are into looking at art," Burke said.

For art buffs or even the casual fan, the event is a chance to get out of the city and enjoy art, music and some fresh air on a Thursday night.

"People should come because they'd enjoy themselves and see some fine art," McBride said. "It's a nice, fun thing to do on a summer night."

The 17th annual Annapolis Art Walk is 5 p.m.-9 p.m. today in downtown Annapolis. The event will take place rain or shine. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-267-7077 or go to artinannapolis.com.

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