Cylburn in Art

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This past weekend the second Celebration of Art at Cylburn Arboretum began. The weather cooperated too. Paintings depicting various aspects of the arboretum were surrounded during daytime events by sunny, autumnal views around the Vollmer Center.

A breakfast preview on Saturday gave patrons a sneak peak of the exhibit and an opportunity to select a favorite painting or two and mingle with other fans of one of Baltimore’s emerald gems.

A mid-day Family Art Day, sponsored by the Walters Art Museum and Peabody Library,  brought families and Cylburn’s flora and fauna together to create botanical prints and crowns.

About 200 people filled the Vollmer Center at an evening reception to celebrate the artists and their work. As I looked around, I saw many families attending the event together.

First among them was the Hamilton family. Honorary co-chairs of the weekend, Douglas and Tsognie Hamilton, have one of the areas most breathtaking walking gardens at “Tashiding” in the Western Run Valley. They are, however, thoroughly connected to Baltimore City and its art. Douglas’s ancestors once owned the farm that adjoined Cylburn. He currently serves as president of the Walters Art Museum board of trustees. Their sons, Douglas and Palden, each own city homes once occupied by well-known artists Grace Turnbull and Gladys Goldstein. Palden is a talented artist whose work has been exhibited in both the 2011 and 2012 Cylburn celebrations.

While the first celebration took place in June, this year’s November event reminded me of the ever-festive, November art exhibits that once benefitted the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. There’s something about coming inside on a chilly evening to look at paintings that is heartening. Ditto a wide range of art, some depicting the architecture and sculpture and some featuring trees and plants.

A bonus this year was a stimulating Sunday afternoon talk by art historian Leopoldine Prosperetti. She spoke and showed slides of trees in Western art, from Titian to Mondrian. Even though I’m a certifiable tree-hugger, I’d never before focused on their place in the history of art.

Celebration of Art continues this week. The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thursday in the Vollmer Center. A final bash for young professionals rounds things up Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Even if a nor’easter strikes, the colorful art and welcoming atmosphere offer a cheerful haven.



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