CHESTERTOWN—As part of Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown, Washington College will celebrate the maritime traditions of the Chesapeake Bay with a Saturday lecture on the waterman’s culture and a Sunday forum with the captains of several visiting ships.
Saturday, October 30, a talk and reception will mark the closing of the exhibition “Marc Castelli: The Art of the Waterman, The
Simison Collection,” which has been on display in the Kohl Gallery of Art since October 2.
Beginning at 4 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Pete Lesher, chief curator at the Maritime Museum, will talk about the heritage of the Chesapeake Bay watermen. He will include words from the watermen themselves, mined from the oral history archives at the Museum. Afterward, the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College will host a reception in the Kohl Gallery. Students from the CES’s groundbreaking Chesapeake Semester will be on hand to share their experiences with guests.
The exhibition features more than 20 paintings of working watermen and their boats by beloved Chesapeake Bay artist Marc Castelli. Seventeen of the paintings are on loan from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s. Tilghman Island collector Diane Simison donated them to the museum at her death. The exhibition has been co-sponsored by the Maritime Museum and the CES. Prior to Saturday’s closing event, it will be on display during Kohl Gallery hours (Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m.; Friday noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday noon to 5 p.m.).
Both the Kohl Gallery and Decker Theatre are located in the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts, on the Washington College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. The events are free and open to the public.
Captains Forum, Sunday 2:30 p.m., Custom House
Sunday afternoon Michael Buckley, program manager with the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, will moderate an informal forum with the captains of several visiting ships. The public is invited to attend this free Captains Forum to ask questions and learn what it’s like to command a tall ship in the 21st century.
The forum will take place between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. in the Washington College Custom House, 101 S. Water Street, downtown Chestertown. Buckley will record the discussion for “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay,” the popular radio series he hosts each Sunday morning on WRNR-FM radio, 103.1. The taping will be broadcast on the November 6 show, between 7 and 10 a.m.
Established in 2001, Downrigging Weekend marks the close of the Chestertown-based schooner Sultana’s sailing season and the beginning of “downrigging” for many of the region’s tall ships and traditional sailing vessels. The weekend offers the public opportunities to view, board and sail on the assembled fleet and to join in celebrating the maritime heritage of the region. The fleet of “tall ships” and historic vessels scheduled to participate in Downrigging Weekend 2010, include the 1812 privateer Lynx; the tall ship of Delaware, the Kalmar Nyckel; Maryland’s goodwill ship, the Pride of Baltimore; and a fleet of historic Chesapeake Bay buyboats.
Photo: Captain Jan Miles at the helm of Maryland's goodwill schooner, The Pride of Baltimore.