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The Arts Scene

The Arts in Taneytown

Jack Williams
MSM Class of 2017

(7/2016) June marked one year for me writing for this newspaper, and it has been an incredible journey so far. The readers I have heard from, the staff, and all of you producing wonderfully complex works of art has made this job not only artistically fulfilling, but also incredibly enjoyable. I had no idea that we lived in such an artistically-centered community when I moved here. I said last year, from a position where I didnít know better, that you might read my little section of the paper because youíre artistically inclined or youíre just interested in events happening locally, figuring it was one or the other. I certainly didnít expect it to be a passionate interest for both. Before I talk even more about local art creators, which I have happily done for the past several months, Iíd like to remind you of the theatrical productions scheduled for the near future!

Last month I spoke with the Thurmont Thespians once again, after discovering that their upcoming show this month will be their last. They are putting all of their energy into making their last show their very best one, and it will be something I highly recommend attending. Thereís something special in viewing a theatrical performance put on by extremely passionate performers. Certain plays demand a particular kind of passion to be put on effectively, and the Thespians are showcasing the perfect play for such an event, Footloose. If youíre in the mood for a night chock full of entertaining dancing, singing and storytelling, stop by The American Legion building in Thurmont! It will be performed July 21st - 24th and July 28th - 31st. Thursday, Friday and Saturdayís shows are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show is at 2 p.m.

If youíre looking for another play to hold you over before the Thespians go out strong, The Totem Pole Playhouse is set to show One Slight Hitch, a theatrical comedy about unforeseen complications on a brideís wedding day. I have seen this play in the past, and I promise youíll love it! It makes for a very funny evening. It will be shown July 8th Ė July 24th, with times ranging from 8 p.m. to 2 p.m. depending on whether itís a weekday or on a weekend. Check their website for ticket details!

This month, Iíd like to talk about some recent happenings in Taneytown, especially from an arts perspective. Within the past year or two, Taneytown has had a resurging interest in producing art birthed from personal inspiration and through learned skill. A perfect example came just this past month, with the Taneytown Wine, Music & Art Festival, which took place on June 18.

This is the fifth year for the annual festival, and many talented groups have emerged with a variety of artistic creations. Also present at the festival, besides the copious amounts of interesting art, were live performances by individuals and bands.

I find a lot of joy in discovering budding art movements, and in a place like Taneytown, there is certainly a great amount of inspiration to draw from. Taneytown has not been known for as a hub for art until recently. Before this recent surge of interest by members of the community, Taneytown was mostly known for its historical significance. It could have once been the battleground for a major Civil War battle, which wound up occurring in Gettysburg. George Washington wrote about Taneytown in his correspondences, and it holds many listings in the National Register of Historic Places, especially the Bullfrog Road Bridge, which was built in 1908.

But there is so much more to Taneytown than just its history, as its commitment to art reveals. Vintage Colors, an art gallery, antique shop and interior design store all in one, is a great highlight of this local commitment. Founded in 2013 at 1 Frederick Street in Taneytown by Dave Hammond, you will discover an eclectic mix of fine art, beautiful knick-knacks and inviting home dťcor.

Dave Hammond and Lauren Wieprecht, both a part of Vintage Colors, have been major contributors to the growing arts movement in Taneytown. In January of this year they founded Taneytown for the Arts, a nonprofit group intended to foster love for and creation of the arts. They created this group for the exact reason that the Thurmont Thespians and The Totem Pole Playhouse founded their organizations: to build a closer community through the appreciation and participation in fine arts, whether that be the performing or visual arts.

And like the Thurmont Thespians, Taneytown for the Arts recognizes the importance of having all ages participate in the creation of art. Dave believes that introducing the young into the arts is key in establishing a strong, close artistic community. At the Taneytown Arts Festival, the group set up a booth for most of the day, to set up their presence for locally created art. And following a dayís length out in the community, they welcomed visitors to hear the winners of the Youth Artist Award.

The theme that the Taneytown for the Arts group had this year for the Youth Artist Award was "Building a Community of Hope." And like the art at the Arts Festival, there were a diverse number of mediums utilized to express this idea, including the commonly known pen and ink, and acrylic on canvas. The winner of the Peopleís Choice Award, where members of the community voted on their favorite piece, as well as the winner of the Visual Arts Award was Jasmin Snair. The winner of the Performing Arts Award was Maggie Hall, whose picture can be found on The Emmitsburg Arts Scene webpage. It was a beautiful night of community gathered around for a beautiful purpose.

There is an event coming up with the group which you can participate in as well. The group is having a Paint Night Fundraiser, which is a great way to come out and support your community! Anyone can come, experienced and non-experienced alike, and have fun painting a work of art called Jellyfish Dance. Admission price is $35, which is an excellent price considering that all the materials for the fundraiser are covered in your ticket. It will take place on Friday, July 22nd. Further details can be found on the Taneytown for the Artsí Facebook page.

There are big changes on the horizon for Taneytown, and Taneytown for the Arts. Vintage Colors, the birthplace of the group, will be closing its doors this month, its last day being July 10. If you read this in time, please check it out! The people there are so friendly and very talented, and the pieces you find there might have you take out your wallet! I also suggest visiting The Red Door Boutique, a locally owned home dťcor and gift shop with a beautiful amount of art worth your visit. They can be found at 16 West Baltimore Street in Taneytown.

There is a lot happening in our community with the arts, and it is something we often take for granted, myself included. Letís be grateful that we have so much to do, so much to see, and so many places to be in this lovely community of ours.

Read other articles by Jack Williams