NEWS IN BRIEF
Tubman landscape on Shore gains federal designation
Two weeks after a celebratory weekend on the Eastern Shore that marked the 100-year anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s passing with a groundbreaking for a visitor center at the future Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, President Obama, on March 25, signed an executive order that creates the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. The state park, scheduled to open in 2015, is adjacent to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge.
“Today, President Obama made a long-held dream come true for countless Marylanders,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley, “with his decision to forever commemorate the life and legacy of one of the Underground Railroad's most famed conductors, Harriet Tubman.”
President Obama’s designation of the Tubman National Monument ensures that the monument site – up to an approximately 25,000-acre mosaic of federal, state and private lands in Dorchester county that complement the state park – will be protected from commercial development in accordance with the federal Antiquities Act of 1906. The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will manage the monument.
"Commemoration of Tubman's life and the conservation of the Eastern Shore landscapes will encourage tourism and education, ensuring an appreciation of our history and environment," said Joel Dunn, executive director of the Chesapeake Conservancy, an advocacy group dedicated to protecting the natural and cultural resources of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
View a related story in The Baltimore Sun.
Read the presidential proclamation that accompanied President Obama’s designation of the Tubman National Monument.
Grants offered for Chesapeake Campaign
A three-day commemoration, May 3-5, of the British attack on Havre de Grace during the War of 1812’s Chesapeake Campaign (1813-1814) kicks off a traveling festival through Maryland that features re-enactors, performances, food, drink and interactive fun.
The festival – Maryland’s Chesapeake Campaign – runs through the summer of 2014. It includes a series of events at locations around the Chesapeake Bay (along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail), where British forces invaded.
The Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission offers grants that can be used for Chesapeake Campaign programs and events. The window for submitting proposals for the next round of Star-Spangled 200 Grants closes May 1. Grants help nonprofit organizations and government entities develop projects that promote resource stewardship, education, and tourism and economic development – all of which promote participation by Marylanders and visitors in the state’s War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration.
Program guidelines, applications and a list of previous grant recipients are available online. For more information, call or e-mail Bill Pencek, executive director, Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, 410-767-6289. The program’s next grant application round is in the fall, Sept. 1 to Nov. 1.
Arts Council names Individual Artist grantees
The Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, has announced that 87 Maryland artists have been selected to receive a total of $218,000 in Individual Artist Awards (IAA). A celebration of the artists will be held in May.
Artists competed for $1,000, $3,000 and $6,000 awards in five categories: fiction; painting; media/digital/electronic arts; solo theatrical performance; and works on paper.
“Artists and art-making in Maryland help fuel our creative economy and expand opportunities for cultural engagement across the state,” said Theresa Colvin, executive director of the Arts Council. “The diverse works of exceptional individual artists is essential to the arts industry, which generates a billion dollars a year in Maryland.”
Out-of-state juries representing each artistic discipline reviewed nearly 600 applications anonymously before awarding the individual grants, which were determined solely on the basis of artistic merit. The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation administers the selection process.
The IAA program grants awards in 18 artistic disciplines, which are split into three groups. Grants are awarded for each discipline every third year. The next cycle of competition will consider artists for 2014 awards in these eight disciplines: choreography; classical music composition, classical music solo performance; poetry; sculpture; solo dance performance; world music composition; and world music solo performance. A review period for artist applications opens around June 1 and closes July 26 this year.
Montgomery student wins poetry-recitation contest
A tenth-grader at Richard Montgomery High School (Montgomery County) won the Maryland State Arts Council’s Poetry Out Loud state final competition, March 9 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The student, Blessed Sheriff, receives $200 in prize money and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent Maryland in the national POL competition, April 29-30 at George Washington University. Her school received $500 toward the purchase of poetry books.
Johana Gourdin of Dulaney High School (Baltimore County) and Brianne Wade of Boonsboro High School (Washington County) were the second- and third-place finishers among nine state finalists. WYPR (Baltimore) radio host Aaron Henkin emceed the competition. Nora Sadler, a junior at the University of Chicago who represented Maryland and placed third in the 2010 national competition, was one of the judges.
More than 16,000 Maryland students in 16 counties and 61 schools participated in the state’s POL program this school year.
Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest that was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. It is administered in partnership with state arts agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Maryland 1812 book takes national award
In Full Glory Reflected, Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake – an illustrated 252-page softcover book that guides visitors along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail – has won an award from the Association of Partners for Public Lands (APPL), a national advocacy group that promotes stewardship of public lands and historic sites through effective partnerships.
The APPL Media and Partnership award recognizes In Full Glory as the top book with revenue exceeding $1 million. These awards honor outstanding contributions made by nonprofits that engage the public with parks, refuges, monuments, forests, lakes, open spaces and historic places.
Historians Ralph E. Eshelman and Burton K. Kummerow, authors of In Full Glory, accepted the award at APPL’s annual convention and trade show, March 13 in Portland, Ore. Published last June by the Maryland Historical Society, In Full Glory received a 2013 Maryland Historical Trust Preservation Award for Excellence in Media and Publications in February.
“In full glory reflected” is a phrase from the second stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner. The authors' note: “Just as people are unfamiliar with anything but the first of four stanzas, few people know much about the War of 1812, the dramatic event that provided the background for those words.”
Tourism board to add hospitality professionals
Two new members of the Maryland Tourism Development Board – Alice Lloyd and Vira Safal – recently took their oath of office following confirmation hearings during the current General Assembly session. They will take their positions on the board as representatives of the lodging sector in July.
Lloyd and her husband, chef Jordan Lloyd, operate the Bartlett Pear Inn – an upscale, restaurant and bed & breakfast in Easton (Talbot County). Since opening in September 2009, the inn has received one of Zagat’s highest ratings for food on the East Coast – 29 out of 30 points. Open Table also rated Bartlett Pear as one of the nation’s top 100 American fare restaurants. The Lloyds were part of eight restaurant and resort openings, including ones in New York, Atlanta, Hilton Head, S.C., and Florida.
Safal is managing partner of Comfort Inn Shady Grove (Montgomery County), a position he has held for 20 of his 27 years in the hospitality industry. The property is part of the Choice Hotels International franchise system. He is also a past president of Montgomery County Conference & Visitors Bureau, and an adjunct professor of hospitality management at Montgomery College.
Md. lodging revenue up more than 3 percent in 2012
The latest issue of the Maryland Lodging Monitor – the Office of Tourism's bi-annual report on Maryland lodging data supplied by Smith Travel Research, Inc., is available online.
Among its findings: Total room revenue is rebounding, up 3.4 percent compared to 2011 due to the increase in demand and supply. Occupancy rates, which reflect changes in supply and demand for rooms, averaged 61.1 percent, 0.5 percent more than last year, compared to 61.4 percent occupancy rate and 2.5 percent growth for the U.S., and 61.8 percent occupancy rate and 1.2 percent growth for the region.
Baltimore City and the counties of Baltimore, Cecil, Dorchester, Prince George's, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester saw positive growth in room demand, room revenue, room rate and occupancy.
Argo writer at Hagerstown film festival’s opening night
A screening of the Oscar-winning film Argo – based on the true story of former CIA officer Tony Mendez’s rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis – opens the second Maryland International Film Festival at the Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown, April 11 at 6:45 p.m. Mendez, who resides in Washington County, will attend and participate in a Q & A session. The three-day festival runs April 11-13, featuring 50 films from 11 countries. Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a festival sponsor. See related story about Mendez in Frederick News-Post.
Arts Council’s strategic-planning sessions wrap up
The Maryland State Arts Council has two more public forums in April (listed below), where open discussion will consider how the Arts Council can best serve art communities across the state and update its current five-year plan. Registration is available by clicking on the name of the region. The meetings are the last in a series of six forums.
Learn how to entice international tourism
Capital Region USA (CRUSA) – in conjunction with the Maryland Office of Tourism and Visit Baltimore – presents a seminar, Monday, May 20, which shows hoteliers how to tap into the international market. The seminar runs 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Visit Baltimore’s office, 100 Light St. (12th floor) near the city’s Inner Harbor. Registration is free, but space is limited.
Speakers and topics include: Julie Katz, managing director, Tour Mappers – Working with an FIT (Frequent Independent Program); Kolja Kassner Sr., vice-president, CANUSA Touristik (Germany) – How overseas tour operators drive business to a destination; and Andrea Evans, account director, Miles Partnership (formerly Miles Media) – Reaching consumers through online channels.
SHA offers funding for alternative-transportation projects
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration (SHA) seeks proposals for transportation-related projects to be partially funded through the newly established Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). With $20 million in federal money available for fiscal 2013 and 2014, TAP can fund such alternative transportation projects as the planning, design and construction of on- and off-road facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized transportation. Program guidelines and applications are available online. Applications may be submitted to SHA now through May 15. For eligibility information, call or e-mail Jessica Silwick, SHA’s Transportation Alternatives liaison, 410-545-5675.
Registration open for 1812 conference in June
The Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command will jointly host a War of 1812 bicentennial conference at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, June 12 to June 15, which is titled From Enemies to Allies: An International Conference on the War of 1812 and its Aftermath. Scholarly papers will be presented on topics linked to the historic significance of the war and the changes that resulted in domestic and international affairs for the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. Pre-conference tours of sites linked to Maryland’s role in the War of 1812 are available on Wednesday, June 12. Register for the conference online. For more information, call or e-mail Kathi Ash, 410-767-6341.