The Caroline County Council of Arts has commissioned a public art project in the Denton Artsway, funded in part by the Downtown Denton Main Street and the Maryland State Arts Council, which will bring the community together in unique new ways.
The Caroline County Council of Arts manages the Artsway in Denton, which had its beginnings in 2005. In 2015, the Caroline Council of Arts renewed and expanded its arts district to include the downtown Denton commercial district.
According to Marina Dowdall, Executive Director of the Caroline County Council of Arts, Inc., this expansion enabled the Arts Council to do more things, including creating a public arts trail. She states, “In 2017, we conducted a public survey, asking people what themes and artwork they were interested in seeing in the Denton Artsway. The survey revealed people wanted to see artwork related to the environment where we live.”
In 2018, the Caroline County Council of Arts put out a call for public art from Maryland artists. The theme for the public art project was “Sky and Water.” There were three proposals for public art accepted for Denton’s Public Art Trail. The first piece will be a mural installed in 2019 on a building on Third Street. The second piece, which will be completed in 2019, will be a sculpture created by local artist Dawn Malosh of Preston to be placed behind the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore (FACES) in Denton. Both projects are funded through Maryland State Arts Council grants. The third piece is privately funded and will be floral panels installed in the Denton Community Garden. Each of the nine public art projects has a dedicated web page. The other five pieces include Musician and the Muses sculpture, Byway Quilt Trail Blocks, Birdhouses of Denton, a Snapshot in Time photography exhibit, and from the Heron’s Eye Mosaic Mural. The final piece, a commissioned bronze statue commemorating Franklin D. Roosevelt’s visit to Denton, is pending funding.
Marina, adds, “I love public art! It’s been a long-term vision of mine to see this public art plan happen. After these projects are done, when people come into Denton’s historic district, they also will know it is an arts district. Our mission is community arts development, tying in the community with local artists and economic development to make Caroline County a better place to live.”
The community will come together for a public workshop on September 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Foundry at Artsway in Denton to help create part of the public sculpture being done by local artist Dawn Malosh. Dawn, who owns Aesthetic Alternatives Art Studio, at 172 Main Street in Preston, has interpreted the “Sky and Water” theme, envisioning an approximately 48″ high ceramic iridescent green sculpture of curving SAV (submerged aquatic vegetation) grasses growing out of blue, water-like hearts at the base.
According to Dawn, who has done public art projects at The Key School in Annapolis, where she works part-time, the blue “water hearts” rising at the base represent people in the local community and their appreciation for the natural resources provided by the nearby Choptank and Tuckahoe rivers.”
Dawn plans for each ceramic heart to be hand-sculpted and glazed in monochromatic blues, with an image or symbol of something participants love about our natural waterways. There will also be some hearts with reflective mirror surfaces on parts of the hearts. This would symbolize the reflectivity and clarity of our healthy waters, while also reflecting the viewer when looking at the sculpture.
She adds, “The creations of the hearts will serve as a type of visual promise and a reminder for us to appreciate, care for, and protect our beautiful water resources.”
The grass in Dawn’s sculpture serves as a symbolic representation of the SAV grasses of our local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. She explains that the grasses are not a scientific representation of any particular species, but an overall symbol of the beauty and value of this pertinent plant life living in our waters. This specific grass symbol is reminiscent of eel grass and sago pond weed that are precious food sources for waterfowl. They are also quite common in our Choptank and Tuckahoe rivers and nurseries, and are habitats and food providers for a variety of organisms like waterfowl, invertebrates, fish and other aquatic life. Dawn chose this symbol because these grasses touch both the water and sky while remaining grounded in the earth.
She comments, “I thought that these grasses deserved to be honored through a sculpture because they serve as a kind of symbolic role model for us as they clean our waters and care for the wildlife and ecosystems we all depend upon.”
Dawn also points out the potential to make and glaze smaller hearts to be assembled at the top seed pods, affixed by wire at the top of the grasses. These will be glazed in a more yellow-green tone. People may be invited to place an image or word upon their “heart-seed” that explains how we can “plant seeds” in the minds of others to bring growth, health, fertility, and abundance to our waters.
The sculpture location is designed to be placed where people can walk around it, but also see it from the wheel-chair accessibility ramp. It will be in the gardens behind FACES near ramps and walkways that are ADA accessible. Those unable to walk on the grounds will have a good view from the wheel-chair ramp.
Marina, states, “Partnering with other organizations to make projects happen in Denton has been the key to our success here. With the Visitor’s Center now open, the success of the Chesapeake Culinary Center, purchasing a permanent building for FACES, and now the Public Art Trail – it’s all coming together in Denton.”
The Caroline County Council of Arts Sculpture Workshop on September 8 is free, but registration is required. Future workshops will be held on Thursday, November 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Saturday, February 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Foundry at Artsway in Denton. A workshop will also be held on October 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Aesthetic Alternatives Art Studio, at 172 Main Street in Preston. To register for all workshops, visit carolinearts.org or call 410-479-1009.