Andover Media's "LOOKING INWARD: Black History & the Arts"
a documentary short film about the
Kent Cultural Alliance / Chesapeake Heartland Project's
Artist Fellowship program

Kent Cultural Alliance presents Artist Fellowship Exhibit with Chesapeake Heartland

After pandemic related delays, the Kent Cultural Alliance (KCA) is excited to present an exhibition of work by five Kent County Artists selected and commissioned to interpret one or more stories of African American history collected by the Chesapeake Heartland: An African American Humanities Project (CH). The KCA was invited to be an organizational partner of the CH Project at Washington College in 2019. A panel of six (three KCA Board Members and three CH Steering Committee members) selected the five artists: Bogey Brown, Allen Johnson, Jason Patterson, Mike Pugh, and Gordon Wallace.

John Schratwieser, Director of the Kent Cultural Alliance, shares that “The Chesapeake Heartland Project has been an extraordinary community-wide and county-wide project. It has been our privilege here at KCA to play a small part and to help bring these important stories of American History to light through art.

The Exhibition will open on Friday, March 18, 2022 with a reception from 5 – 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall at Emmanuel Church, Chester Parish at 101 N. Cross Street in Chestertown. The artists work, in various media such as digital photography, portraiture, ceramics, painting and digital art, will be on display for two weeks. Exhibit hours are Thursday – Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm from March 19 through Friday, April 1. There will be an “Artists’ Talk” on Saturday, March 19 at 12 noon, and a closing reception on Friday, April 1 from 5 – 7 p.m. The opening, artists talk, and closing reception are free and open to the public. Masks are required inside Emmanuel Church & Parish Hall.

Kacey Stewart, Assistant Director for Programs and Experiential Learning at Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience said, “We are thrilled to support the work of these talented local artists. The way the five fellows explore Kent County’s African American history in new and creative ways through art really speaks to the power of community members interpreting their own history. We could not be more excited by this partnership with the Kent Cultural Alliance, and we look forward to continue sharing resources that make our community stronger.

The Kent Cultural Alliance serves as the state of Maryland’s designated county arts council for Kent County, Maryland. It is a 501c3 organization focused on service too and support of artists and arts organizations for the purpose of engaging the people of Kent County through creativity.

Chesapeake Heartland: An African American Humanities Project is an innovative new collaboration between Washington College, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and a broad array of community partners in Kent County, a rural area on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The project’s name derives from the Chesapeake region’s identity as the heartland of African American history and culture since the arrival of the first Africans at Jamestown in 1619. Kent County, where Washington College is located, is in many ways a microcosm of that history, with its own rich and diverse African American heritage dating back nearly four centuries. Through the Chesapeake Heartland Project, Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and its local partners—including the public schools, religious communities, and other nonprofits—will preserve, share, curate, and interpret a broad array of material that documents the many facets of Kent County’s African American history and culture.

Top Left, Mike Pugh
Top Right, Bogey
Middle Left, Gordon Wallace
Middle Right, Jason Patterson
Bottom - Allen Johnson

Ranging in age from 25 – 83, the five artists are a mix of lifetime residents of Kent County and relatively new residents and they come from a wide range of backgrounds.

From a former DJ and designer of his own clothing line, to a former public school teacher turned potter; and, from Graphic Designer and a clothing maker and sculptor to regionally and nationally recognized artists. These artist fellowship awardees have brought their talents to this project and have help to the KCA to achieve its goal of using art to create access to stories the general public might otherwise not know about.

The Kent Cultural Alliance, in partnership with the Chesapeake Heartland Project, present an exhibition of works by five Fellowship Artists – using art to amplify the stories of African American History in Kent County.

Exhibition Dates / Hours:
Friday March 18 – Opening Reception 5-7 p.m.
Saturday March 19 – 11-4 with artist talk at 12 noon
Sunday March 20 – 1 – 4 p.m
Thursday March 24 to Saturday March 26 from 11-4
Sunday March 27 – 1 – 4 p.m.
Thursday March 31 11- 4 p.m.
Friday April 1 11 – 4 and CLOSING reception 5-7 p.m.

Bogey Brown, Allen Johnson, Jason Patterson, Mike Pugh, and Gordon Wallace. Special Thanks to Kacey Stewart of the STARR Center at Washington College, and to Andover Media.