Tag: the national aquarium

Art Outside Spotlight on Baltimore City Teacher, Turned Artist – Charles Cooper

Charles Cooper
Charles Cooper, a local Baltimore artist who creates urban art inspired by Baltimore City, its local architecture and music

Art Outside 3 returns to Druid Hill Park this Sunday, May 17 from 11 am to 5 pm. This year’s art festival will feature more than 100 artists from around the Maryland region. They will be a diverse group who reflect a wide array of influences and inspirations from around the region. Among them will be Charles Cooper, a local Baltimore artist who lives on Eutaw Street in Bolton Hill and creates urban art inspired by Baltimore City, its local architecture and music.

Charles Cooper (2)
Work by Baltimore Artist Charles Cooper

Formerly a Baltimore City schools teacher, Charles decided several years ago to resign from teaching and focus on art full time. The result has been the creation of a large portfolio of colorful, fun and unique prints representative of Charles’ outgoing personality and perspective on Baltimore life.

Art Outside 3 will be Charles’ second year participating in this annual arts event. According to Charles, Art Outside is his most favorite arts event of the year thanks to its intimacy and the opportunity to really engage with visitors to the festival as well as other participating artists. “There is a great energy that pervades Art Outside,” said Charles. “Last year I had the opportunity to interact with people from all over the country who seemed genuinely interested in art, collecting art and learning what inspired me to create my works. This grassroots event provides a wonderful opportunity to bring people together from all over the City for a beautiful day around the lake in Druid Hill Park.”

Charles Cooper (3)
Work by Baltimore Artist Charles Cooper

Food Academy? Local Events Combine Food Movement Learning with Eating. Yum!


The visit of Alice Waters to the New Era Academy got our foodies juices going, so when we got word of these cool cuisine-inspired events scheduled next Monday at the AVAM and next Tuesday at the Aquarium, we had to share…

Farm to Chef Maryland – Farm to Chef Maryland is a local culinary competition to benefit the The American Institute of Wine & Food’s Days of Taste program. Days of Taste encourages elementary school students to appreciate the taste and benefits of fresh food by teaching them about food’s journey from farm to table and the basic elements of taste. The program brings together chefs, farmers and volunteers with kids for hands-on activities both in the classroom and at local farms. Baltimore chefs come together to participate in Farm to Chef Maryland on Monday, Sept. 24 at the American Visionary Art Museum. Chef Therese Harding of  The Classic Catering People is one of the chef’s participating and she will be partnered with Baltimore County-based farmer, Albright Farms. Her menu: seared rockfish with smoked Maryland crab, sweet corn mostarda and roasted caramelized beet jam and Swiss chard gratin. Getting hungry? There’s still time to sign up.

Shark Week Wizard: The Nat’l Aquarium’s Andy Dehart


Discovery Channel Shark Advisor Andy Dehart met his first shark up close at age five, while snorkeling in the Florida Keys with his father.

“Having it swim by without being aggressive changed my life,” Dehart says.

He knew from that moment he wanted to learn everything he could about sharks, and set his sights early on a job at the National Aquarium, where he began selling tickets at age 15. Today, Dehart, 38, serves as consultant for the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week–he has worked full-time for the National Aquarium for 18 years, currently as director of fishes and aquatic invertebrates.

As we continue to dive into the 24th annual Shark Week on Discovery–by the way, Discovery Communications is headquartered in Silver Spring–we talked to Dehart about his various fishy jobs and asked him which fact we ought first and foremost to let sink in about sharks.

So, what’s the biggest misconception people have about sharks?

Well, many are destined for extinction–73 million a year are killed. Compared to five or six humans who die every year from shark attacks, they have more to fear from us. A fatal shark attack is extremely rare–there are about 100 attacks annually worldwide, roughly only five are fatal. And that’s generally because a single bite has caused excessive bleeding. Sharks attack due to mistaken identity factoring. For example, turbulent waves might stir things up and they might get confused. They sense cues that suggest food, and bite to explore what it is. Might be a hand waving. [Once they determine they’ve made an error], they scoot out and swim off.

How smart are sharks?

Sharks are more intelligent than people give them credit for. Like a dog or cat. [At the National Aquarium right now,] we have 10 sand tiger sharks, each with a very unique personality and temperament. We get to know these animals much like you would your pet at home–it is possible to have that bond with a shark.

Which types of sharks live at the National Aquarium?

Three species: sand tiger, sandbar, and nurse sharks; they are part of the Open Ocean exhibit.

Do you think they’re happy living in captivity?

They eat better than I do. The freshest fish available every week. They live a very jaded life compared to their counterparts [in the wild]–they’ve got everything they’d ever need. These sharks go to the doctor every year. We take blood. For females, we do an ultra-sound…

What type of support do you provide for Discovery’s Shark Week?

I look at content and quality control for the programming that’s been green-lit by Discovery and commissioned from external production companies. And I assist with the media tour and news channels. It’s a great side job!

Which Shark Week programming should we take special note of?

“Great White Invasion” uses aerial surveillance and satellite tagging, and features recent findings of how often great whites swim close to shore. “Jaws Comes Home” was made by Baltimore-born filmmaker Nick Caloyianis. “Shark City” showcases comedian Andy Samberg’s in-water encounter with sharks. There’s something for everybody: “Rogue sharks,” “Summer of the Sharks,” “How Sharks Hunt.” Some people are interested in shark attacks, others natural history pieces…

Are people becoming less alarmist about sharks, thanks to mega-popular Shark Week?

Yes, I think there’s been a real change in perception about sharks since Shark Week started.