Press and Media

RiverArts Press – For Distribution

Hello! Welcome to RiverArts Press Page. The items posted here are for download and printing in your publication. Use of media is strictly limited to promotion of the events in the related articles, and may not be used in any other way without express written consent. Questions about any of the items posted here or other press inquiries should be directed to Jodi Bortz, Executive Director at 410-778-6300 or

Contact Information: (Jodi Bortz; 410-778-6300)

For Release: Immediate


For Release: 1/5/16

Still Life: Fabulous and Inventive and Children’s Art Show Open Friday

RiverArts is pleased to announce the opening of two shows this Friday, January 8, 2016. Still Life: Fabulous and Inventive will be presented in the Main Gallery and showcases artists’ visions of this age-old theme in multiple ways and multiple mediums. Many types of work can be seen including watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings, photography, and sculpture. We are pleased to welcome two new members who have pieces in the show. Will Porter is a local watercolor artist, who is presenting “Garlic” and “ Grapefruit.” Brian Coffay is presenting “She Sells…” and “Orchid, Softly,” two archival photographs. Theresa Schram, who has been a working artist for 20 years and a teacher for 13 years, is curating the show. She is a graduate of Salisbury University with a degree in Fine Art.


In the Studio Gallery, RiverArts is pleased to present our annual Children’s Art Show. Curated by Radcliffe Creek School art teacher Mary Ann Herron, the exhibition shows representative works from each school and grade throughout the county. Teachers Aimee Boumiea, Teresa Jetton, and Patricia Parkland worked with RiverArts to present this show. Student works include drawings, paintings, mache, and sculpture. There will be a reception for the artists and their families on Sunday, January 10 from 1-3 pm.


The opening will begin at 5:00 on Friday and refreshments will be served. All are welcome. For more information, please visit or call RiverArts’ gallery 410-778-6300.

For Release 12/22/15


Make a New Year’s Resolution to Unleash Your Inner Artist

Chestertown RiverArts is pleased to announce our Winter and Spring 2016 classes. As you bid goodbye to 2015 and make resolutions to do and learn new things in 2016, consider joining one of RiverArts classes.

In January, award winning poet and former Rose O’Neill Writer-in-Residence Meredith Davies Hadaway will lead a poetry workshop “Writing on Water” Through a series of readings, writings, and explorations, participants will locate themselves as creative forces in the environment, learn to hone individual voices, and hear the voices of others, in order to craft a poetic response. No previous literary experience is required. This class runs on Mondays from January 11 – February 8 and is limited to 10 participants.

One of our most popular excursions has been our annual trip to the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore. This year, the day trip will take place on February 20th. Bus transportation and admission are provided. The American Craft Council Show is a juried show that admits only the finest artisans. RiverArts artists Faith Wilson, Marilee Schumann, and Patti and David Hegland have all been accepted and will be participating in the show along with many other fine artists from the region and beyond.

RiverArts Clay Studio will be offering workshops for those who might like to try their hand at creating pottery. On Saturday January 23, Rick Bisgyer will lead a “Try It” workshop from 2-5pm. He will also host a “Date Night” at the clay studio for couples who would like to try throwing on the wheel together. Finger foods will be provided, and participants are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice to enjoy during the demonstration. Doug Sassi will lead “Beginning Handbuilding,” a two-day workshop to learn the basics of creating pottery and sculpture using slab clay, coils, and hand molding.

For more in-depth study of clay, Marilee Schumann will once again be offering her popular “Beginning and Continuing Pottery on the Wheel” and “Advanced Pottery Wheel” classes. These eight-week courses will immerse participants in the art of throwing pottery. Beginning Pottery will be offered on Thursdays for eight weeks beginning January 21, and again beginning April 27th. Advanced classes will begin on Tuesdays starting January 19 and again beginning April 5th. Doug Sassi will lead a four-week Handbuilding class on Monday evenings starting February 24 through March 16. For those with some clay experience looking to branch out, Rick Bisgyer will be leading an eight-week class in porcelain. Clay Studio classes include one brick of clay and one bisque-clay firing.

The Clay Studio is also pleased to offer two workshops led by guest instructors. Ellen Jacobsen will lead “Exploring Cups and Pitchers,” a two-day workshop on February 6 and 7. In this workshop, participants will delve into the specific techniques needed to create the two forms. On April 9 and 10, Sue Stockman will lead a mosaic workshop. Mosaic is the art of placing and sculpting pieces of “tesserae” into pictures or visually pleasing forms. Participants will learn to use the tools of the trade, as well as how to use different types of materials to create a work of art.

For those interested in two-dimensional art forms, RiverArts has several options. On January 19, get out and enjoy an evening of “Charcoal and Charcuterie” with artist and educator Raven Bishop. Participants will be treated to a complimentary class of wine and finger foods before embarking on an easy lesson on drawing with charcoal. Running on Tuesdays in February, Bishop will teach “Beginning Drawing” where participants will learn the basics of pencil drawing, charcoal, pastels and colored pencils. Beginning on March 8 for weeks, Bishop will teach “Drawing from Observation” which will cover aspects of still life, human figure, and landscape drawing. In concert with these classes, each Monday from 2:00-5:00 p.m. RiverArts hosts an open session of “Life Drawing.” Artists are welcome to pay a fee at the door to practice the skill of drawing the human figure. Models are provided for these sessions.

Theresa Schram will offer painting classes through the winter months. For four Wednesdays beginning January 20, Theresa offers “Intro to Painting and Color.” The course will delve into the basics of brush strokes, color theory, and composition using acrylic paints. She will follow this with “Introduction to Oil Painting” beginning February 24th.

RiverArts is pleased to welcome well-known abstract artist David Kessler from April 3 to April 5 for his “Loosen Up Abstract Workshop.” Kessler hails from North Carolina, and travels extensively bringing his unique perspective and techniques to workshops throughout the east coast and beyond. Space in this workshop will be very limited, and early registration is encouraged. This workshop open to acrylic, oil, and multi-media, so artists are encouraged to bring their favorite tools and materials for a workshop that engages them in an exploration of their own style.

For more information about RiverArts’ classes and workshops or to enroll, visit or call 410-778-6300.


For Release 9/27/15

RiverArts 16th Annual Studio Tour and 2014 and 2015 Stewardship Winners Exhibitions Open October 2

The 16th Annual Studio Tour Exhibit will open on First Friday, October 2, 5-8pm in RiverArts’ Main Gallery at 315 High Street, Suite 106. Thus visitors may return throughout the month to plan their itineraries based on the work of each Studio Tour artist on display. Be prepared to take a fascinating, free, self-guided journey to discover amazing work by artists, many of whom are known and recognized for their achievements throughout the art world. Returning visitors will note that there are eight new artists on the tour this year. Artists will be ready to greet you during the Chestertown RiverArts 16th Annual Studio Tour on October 24th, 25th, 31st and November 1ST, 10am-5pm, rain or shine.

The art is as diverse as the artists who create it, with styles ranging from traditional to the avant-garde, expressed in a variety of media that includes painting, photography, sculpture, metal work, pottery, fiber, woodcraft, jewelry, furniture, glass and more. having the opportunity to buy original work at studio prices. Many visitors return year after year to see the new work of their favorite artists and the work of new artists on the tour.

Brochures may be found at the Gallery and at restaurants and shops throughout Kent County; they provide a brief description of each artist along with directions to the studio and a user-friendly map.

On Friday evening in RiverArts’ Studio Gallery, come enjoy a show presented by our 2014 and 2015 Art of Stewardship Show winners Arthur Benson and David Crane. The artists have collaborated to bring together a fabulous group of pieces.

Arthur Benson, was the winner of the 2014 Art of Stewardship show. He has been a teacher and sculptor for more than fifty years, and in recent years has forayed into digital photography, that he calls pixel modeling. Benson was on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for 30 years. He and his wife hail from Baltimore.

David Crane is a ceramic stoneware artist. Crane grew up on the Chesapeake Bay, and after years in the Merchant Marine and captaining yachts, he built a home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia where he was inspired by the beauty of the sea. Crane says that his art is “guided, in part by the notion that the planet is a living entity.”

Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm and Saturday, 10am-4pm. During the Studio Tour, Gallery hours are Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 10-5.

For more information on the tour call 410-778-6300, email or go to our website at where the 2015 brochure can be downloaded.


For Release: 9/24/15

RiverFest Lights Up the Night on September 26th

On Saturday, September 26, get ready for fun in the sun with RiverFest. Staff and volunteers from RiverArts, Washington College’s Center for Environment and Society and SANDBOX have been hard at work putting together what promises to be a spectacular event. Festivities begins at noon in Wilmer Park and finish with the sunset lighting of the RiverFest sculpture at the foot of High Street.

The RiverFest sculpture was conceived by Vicco von Voss. Emerging 25 feet out of the Chester River, and adorned with hundreds of LED solar powered lights, the sculpture will be a sight to behold. For the last two months, a team of volunteers and students from Washtington College have been working to bring the sculpture to life. The incredible dedication of von Voss and his team has resulted in an amazing feat of art and engineering. The RiverFest sculpture is sponsored by Washington College’s SANDBOX.

A reception and ceremony celebrating the sculpture will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the foot of High Street, and on the Custom House lawn. Washington College’s Center for Environment and Society has prepared a “Future of the Waterfront” exhibit that will display the site plans and other information relating to major projects happening on our waterfront. Among the displays will be the Public Arts Masterplan, the new A&E district, and more.

Phil Dutton and the Alligators will bring their musical stylings to the evening beginning at 6:00. You can also visit the RiverArts wine bar, or JR’s Lemon Leaf tent for food and drink. Limited seating is available on the Chester River Packet by reservation through RiverArts to watch the lighting from the water.

As the sun goes down, the ceremonial lighting of the RiverFest floating sculpture will begin. Listen for the call of the drums of the Washington College Afro Cuban Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Schweitzer, to start the ceremony. Also lending their talents to the lighting ceremony will be the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Keith Wharton and Meredith Davies Hadaway who will present a reading of one of her poems. The ceremony will culminate in the lighting of the sculpture, which is sure to be a sight to behold.

Washington College Center for Environment & Society and SANDBOX, and Chestertown RiverArts invite everyone to participate in the day full of exciting activities, exhibits and events. In addition to the ceremony in the evening, Wilmer Park will be full of exhibitors, artists, exhibitors and family activities starting with the Chester River Rowing Club’s exhibition at noon on the river. Be sure to catch the RiverArts paddle races and the 9th Annual Cardboard Boat Race sponsored by CES.

Registration is still open for the Paddle Races and Plein Air painting and photography competition, and the Cardboard Boat Race. Easy loading and unloading of crafts will take place at the Washington College Boat House for those participating.

RiverFest promises to be a fun filled day for everyone. For information on the cardboard boat race, contact Jamie Frees at 410-810-7162. For all other registrations or for more information, visit or call 410-778-6300.

2015-09-20 13.38.32

Chestertown Spy Video:

Zane Carter Talks about RiverFest

For Release: 9/14/15

RiverFest offers day of entertainment for the entire family

Eastern Shore families can plan an all-day outing September 26 for RiverFest, an exciting day along the Chester River presented by Chestertown RiverArts, Washington College Center for Environment & Society and SANDBOX.

Beginning at noon, Wilmer Park on the Chestertown waterfront will be filled with music, activities and exhibits including a Sun, Sail and Paddle Expo displaying kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, sailboards and day sailors as well as accessories by manufacturers and local distributors; art and environmental displays; and plenty of food and drink from local vendors.

There will be Children’s activities throughout the event. RiverArts’ KidSPOT will be offering several activities. In addition to KidSPOT craft projects, there will be face painting, a bounce house, and a ball jump. Phillips Wharf Fish Mobile will be on hand with their bus full of aquariums displaying bay fish and wildlife. Children can also participate in the “Build a Buoy” and “Seaworthy Small Ships” model boat building activities. From 12 – 2 the Washington College Equestrian Club will be on hand with pony rides.

Throughout the day, the entire family can enjoy taking part in the region’s sailing heritage. The schooner Sultana has two public sails scheduled during the day and the Center for the Environment & Society will also be taking excursions on their research vessel, the Callinectes.

The food and entertainment continues right up to the grand finale, the 7:15 p.m. lighting ceremony of the stunning floating sculpture. The High Street venue will open to the public at 5:30 with live music by Phil Dutton and the Alligators and festivities starting at 6:00 p.m. At the Custom’s House, visitors can view a “Future of the Waterfront” exhibit detailing plans for improvement of the local waterfront. The lighting ceremony will feature performances by the Washington College Afro Cuban Ensemble, the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble, and a poem read by Meredith Davies Hadaway. The lighting of the sculpture will cap the festivities as a full moon sets over the Chester River.

For more information, visit or call 410-778-6300.

“Build a Buoy” at the 2014 Waterfront Festival, now RiverFest
Children and volunteers at 2014 Waterfront Festival

PR RiverFest Promises Family Fun

For Release: 9/1/15

Made in America Fine Craft Show Opens Friday at RiverArts

RiverArts will celebrate artful living with our first juried fine arts and crafts show “Made in America” opening First Friday September 4, 2015. Come see the best of American craft in quality and design. Artists from the area and from across the country have submitted pieces for judging in ceramics, jewelry, fiber arts, glass, wood, and other genres. William Brockschmidt and Shelley Minch curated the show.

Among the artists featured is local Tom Lentell, a stick furniture maker, who will be exhibiting at RiverArts for the first time. Lentell used natural wood and reclaimed fabric to create three chairs that will be part of the show. Rob Glebe, known for his metal work, will be showing new work that uses a new technique and is fabricated with clay and metal. Another artist showing in the exhibit is Sue Wright, known for her fine knitting. She will be showing two outfits that she hand crafted. In all, eighteen talented fine craft artists will be featured in this month’s exhibition.

The opening will begin at 5:00 on First Friday, with prizes for best in show awarded at 6:00. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. For more information, please visit or call RiverArts’ gallery 410-778-6300.

2015-08-31 15.00.02
In the Garden by Ronnie Edelman
2015-08-31 14.58.19
Red Chair by Tom Lentell

PR – September First Friday 2015

For Release: 8/24/15

RiverArts Fall Classes Offer Something for Everyone

RiverArts invites artists and enthusiasts of all skill levels to add art to your fall schedule by enrolling in one of our classes. This Fall, RiverArts will be offing classes in clay, woodworking, painting, and knitting.

RiverArts Clay Studio is offering several opportunities for clay artists of all skill levels. Master potter Doug Sassi will be offering a four-week hand building class beginning on Wednesday, September 9. Sassi will teach hand building techniques starting with pinch pots and moving on to making forms using the coil technique. For those interested in wheel pottery, there will be three class options, including beginner classes on Monday and Tuesday nights with Rick Bisgyer and Marilee Schumann respectively, and advanced pottery on Thursdays with Schumann. Additional clay classes will be forming throughout the Fall.

The Clay Studio will also be offering a Raku workshop on October 10. Raku is a unique firing process that results in a dramatic coloring of the pieces that have been fired. A free information session to learn more about the process will be held at RiverArts Clay Studio on Saturday, August 29 at 10:00 a.m.

By popular demand, master woodworker Robert Ortiz will be holding two workshops at his studio at 203 Cross Street, # 103 in Chestertown. The first workshop on October 10th from 9:00 am. to 1:00 p.m. will cover “A Little of This and That” including work methods, tool sharpening, router techniques, and creating jigs. The second workshop on November 14, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. will expose the participants to various techniques to achieve a beautiful finish on wood projects.

Beginning in October, Theresa Schram will be bringing her expertise to RiverArts in color, mache’ and painting. For four weeks beginning October 6, Schram will lead “Color Theory,” a study of how colors work together. Participants will have the opportunity to manipulate colors in different media to experiment with the effect of different color palettes. In addition, she will be teaching Mache’ and beginning oil painting, which will focus on still life.

For those interested in fiber arts, Sue Wright will be offering a three-week knitting course. Participants will learn to knit basic socks. Techniques covered will include knitting in the round on double pointed needles, turning a heel, and finishing the toe using a kitchener stitch.

To learn more and sign up for any of these classes or to learn about additional classes, visit our “Classes” page at, call 410-778-6300 or stop by the RiverArts gallery at 315 High Street, Suite 106. Regular hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11:00-4:00, First Friday, 11:00-8:00 and Saturday 10:00-4:00. We look forward to seeing you this Fall!

PR Fall Classes 2015

For Release: 8/21/15

RiverArts and Center for Environment and Society Announce “RiverFest” September 26, 2015

Chestertown RiverArts , Washington College Center for Environment & Society and SANDBOX are launching RiverFest, a new, annual event on Saturday, September 26 that will include an afternoon festival at Wilmer Park, water activities and the lighting of a large, floating, solar-powered sculpture at sunset. 

Beginning at noon, Wilmer Park on the Chestertown waterfront will be filled with music, activities for families including RiverArts’ KidSPOT and Phillips Wharf Fish Mobile Sun, Sail and Paddle Expo displaying kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, sailboards and day sailors, as well as accessories by manufacturers and local distributors; art and environmental displays; and good food and drink.

Washington College’s 9thAnnual Cardboard Boat Regatta will take to the water at 3PM. The popular and always exciting competition is open to students and all members of the community. Participants create homemade cardboard crafts ranging from nautical to whimsical and from seaworthy to water logged to compete.  The regatta takes place along the waterfront by Wilmer Park. 

Kayak and canoe races are planned for the afternoon and will start and finish in front of Wilmer Park. The mile-long race course extends south to a broad turn at the mouth of Radcliffe Creek before returning to the park. The race will begin with a heat for kayaks 12 ft. long and over. The second heat will feature kayaks less than 12 ft. long, and a third heat for twosomes in tandem kayaks and canoes. 

RiverArts Parade of Lights will begin just prior to the illumination of the solar sculpture. Led by RiverArts’ KidSPOT children, the festival will process to the area where the illumination of the floating sculpture is staged. 

Painters competing in the RiverFest Plein Air competition will be visible throughout RiverFest capturing images of the event. For out-of-town visitors, there will be walking tours of downtown Chestertown to learn about our rich history. The Sultana has two public sails scheduled during the day and the Center for the Environment and Society will also be taking guests on their research vessel, the Callinectes. Echo Hill Outdoor School will be hosting students and staff from Pennsylvania State University on its classic skipjack, the Elsworth and its historic ship, the Annie D. 

SANDBOX will take a leadership role in the event’s centerpiece, a floating solar-powered sculpture designed by Vicco von Voss that will light up the Chester River at sunset. The sculpture’s dramatic illumination at sundown will be the grand finale of the exciting RiverFest celebration. The festivities begin at noon at Wilmer Park with kayak and canoe races along the waterfront and a Sun, Sail and Paddle Expo at the park. The Expo will feature displays of various non-motorized watercraft, from kayaks, canoes and popular stand-up paddleboards to windsurfers and small sailboats.

RiverArts is currently looking for sponsors for the event as well as paddle and solar exhibitors for the Sun, Sail & Paddle Expo. Interested parties should contact Jodi Bortz at 410-778-6300 or to learn more.

RiverFest promises to be a fun filled day for everyone. For more information, visit

PR RiverFest Updated 082115

For Release: 8/6/15

RiverArts First Friday Features New Media and Caroline Huff (8/6/15)

RiverArts welcomes the public to the opening of two new shows from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on First Friday. The evening will feature “Art and New Media” in the main gallery, and a solo exhibitions titled “Lightscapes” by Caroline Huff in RiverArts’ Studio Gallery. Refreshments will be served.

Shelley Minch has curated the show “Art and New Media.” The show will feature the artists’ use of new media or new takes on older media formats in the expression of the artists’ ideas. The show will feature illustrations, comics, printing, and use of disruptive technologies.

Among the works featured will be a short film by Tad Sare. Sare’s movie “Phone Booths is an animated piece that uses interesting graphics and sound to draw in the viewer. The piece will be projected onto one of the gallery walls. Sare is a  multi media artist and teacher of  animation at Delaware College of Art and Design. Davide Prete, Italian sculptor and architect, will also be presenting works in the exhibit. His work connects traditional and digital elements, and spans small and large-scale sculpture, ironwork, furniture design, metalwork and jewelry. He speaks and exhibits internationally in 3D printing and laser scanning and digital production.

In the Studio Gallery, Caroline Huff presents “Lightscapes.” When Huff was a child, her painter father encouraged her to make art. She never had another ambition. Reflecting on her long career, Huff speaks with the same assurance she felt as a child, “Painting is what I do. It is my life.” She paints some figures, but landscapes are her forte. Her images may be of a lone figure sitting by the sea, sun-struck houses or a Southwestern chapel. Light is the common denominator in her work. Critics have praised Huff’s ability to use light to transmit the impact of a scene, emphasizing the bright whites of the buildings, stones of pastel blues and pinks.

A former art educator prior to her retirement, Huff attended school in Richmond, at what is now Virginia Commonwealth University, and eventually earned her master of arts degree at American University. She has lived in Maryland ,West Va. and in Santa Fe, N.M.She has had more than 50 shows throughout her career in New York City, Houston, Scottsdale, Beverly Hills, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and throughout the Chesapeake Bay area. Huff now lives full time in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Her work can be viewed on her Facebook page (carolinehuffart), on Instagram and on her website (

All are welcome to the opening of these two shows. For more information, please visit or call RiverArts’ gallery 410-778-6300.

Tad Sare - Phone Booths
Still from animated short “Phone Booths” by Tad Sare

PR – August First Friday 2015









RiverFest Invites All to Paddle for Prizes (8/6/15)

Grab your paddle, bring your family and friends to the lively and entertaining festivities of RiverFest on September 26, 2015. It will be an exciting, action-packed day. Join the fun on the waterfront of the scenic Chester River in the Arts and Entertainment district of historic Chestertown, MD. The races for kayaks, canoes, and cardboard boats are open to the public and paddlers are encouraged to register now to be a part of this fun-filled day.

A kayak and canoe sprint will lead off the water events, with separate heats for different length kayaks, tandem kayaks, and canoes. Outrageous trophies will be awarded for the winners of each heat. Registrants receive RiverFest t-shirts, race numbers and admission to the Paddlers’ Poker Run. The races are sponsored by Chesapeake Bank and Trust.

Washington College’s Center for Environment and Society invites everyone to show their creativity and ingenuity in the ninth annual Cardboard Boat Regatta. The short, spirited and often soggy race features a variety of clever and whimsical boats that occasionally make it to the finish line. This rambunctious crowd-pleaser is as much fun for spectators as for the racers. This public is welcome to participate for numerous awards and cash prizes.

The Paddler’s Poker Run is open to all racers, or there is a separate registration for “card sharks” who prefer to stick with a more leisurely pace. Paddlers follow a course to five different kiosks along the river, from which each paddler takes a sealed envelope containing a playing card. At 4:30 all paddlers gather and open their envelopes to see who drew the winning “stud” poker hand, and the winner will take a cash prize. Non-winners get one more chance in the “draw” poker hand by buying up to four new cards. The winning “draw” poker hand takes the second cash prize.

When not on the river paddling, Wilmer Park will be filled with activities at the “Sun, Sail and Paddle Expo.” Paddlers can see what’s new in environmentally friendly watercrafts. Exhibitors from around the region will have watercrafts on display. The expo also features artists’ displays and sales, as well as family activities, music and food.

RiverFest is a daylong celebration of Chestertown’s scenic waterfront, our history, heritage and our vibrant community of art and artists. Races and Expo festivities will take place in Wilmer Park and along the waterfront in Chestertown’s Arts & Entertainment district from Noon to 5:30 p.m. Capping the day will be the Lighting Ceremony of RiverFest’s 25 foot tall, floating solar-powered sculpture at the end of High Street at sunset. RiverFest is sponsored in partnership by Washington College’s Center for the Environment and Society, and SANDBOX, and Chestertown RiverArts.

For more information about RiverFest, to register for the races or the exciting Paddler’s Poker Run, or to participate in the Expo, visit or call 410-778-6300.

PR – Call for Paddlers 080615 IMG_4169