From May 18, 2014
On the morning of the race, I felt well prepared. I had purchased my hat for the Preakness weeks before the race at the Downton Abbey exhibit at Winterthur in Delaware. I waited until the day of the race to purchase the flowers to decorate it, hoping for them to be as fresh as possible. The Black-Eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland, as well as the official flower of the Preakness, so I was certain that local florists and farmer's markets would be abundant with fresh blossoms to adorn my hat for the day's race,. There wasn't a Black-Eyed Susan to be found. Well, at least not of the floral variety.
There weren't even any silks available. I purchased a garland of daisies and hurried home to paint the centers with acrylics, thankful that it was a quick drying paint. Next year I'll be prepared, and may even try to force some blossoms for the event.
Even California Chrome, the winning horse, was deprived of the thrill of wearing an authentic garland of the official flower. Instead his 10 foot long, 4,200 bloom blanket was made of golden yellow chrysanthemums with black in the center.
Numerous people, including a local florist, told me as recently as the day of this year's race, May 17, 2014, "the flowers used for the race and the blanket that covers the winning horse are daisies with the centers painted with black lacquer or shoe polish." However, more reliable sources state they haven't used that technique for over fifteen years.
Susan Reimer, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, noted that the archives of the Sun first mentioned the Black Eyed Susan taking the place of the rose blanket for the Maryland Preakness race in the late 1930s. "In 1939 the Sun described what it said was a blanket of black-eyed Susans gracing the neck of Preakness winner Challedon. Racing writer Jesse Linthicum said the change gave the race 'a real Maryland flavor'."
As far as the origin of the daisies with the centers painted black, Reimer reveals the beginning and the end of the mystery. The Black-Eyed Susan, a wild flower too delicate to hold up to the technique of being woven into a blanket and remaining fresh and hardy for a couple of days, doesn't even bloom until late June. "It was Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Price Day, writing in The Sun in 1946, who revealed that florist and devoted horse lover George Cook had been painting the center of yellow daisies with shoe black for years. He'd made every blanket from 1928 to 1953, and he died just days before the 1954 race."
The choice of the Black-Eyed Susan is in honor of it's position as the official flower. The state legislature of Maryland officially endorsed the Black Eyed Susan as the Maryland state flower in 1918. There are thirteen petals, as there were thirteen original colonies which included Maryland, and the black and yellow beautifully represent the colors in the Maryland flag. Admittedly, other than its untimely debut and fragile nature, it is a worthy choice for the official Preakness flower!
This is the fourth year I've attended the UniverSoul Circus as a guest of Reverend James Lyles and
Youth 10Xs Better from Harrisburg. The circus is in Baltimore and I meet the bus load of young people and chaperones outside the circus tent.
This year, I was especially delighted to run into two dear friends, Lillian Bates and Phyllis Sweeting. We volunteered on various projects in Harrisburg for over two decades. They are still very involved with numerous community initiatives to benefit young people, families and the community.
This very special circus always pulsates with color, energy, vibrancy and talent. And they always weave a bit of their open and inclusive philosophy into the show. Groups from all over the world are represented and for the grand finale, they brought every group together with each county's flag and reminded us of the importance of being inclusive.
Below are a few of the photos I've taken over the years. You really need to attend personally to hear the music, feel the explosive and exuberant excitement from the crowd, get a sense of the amazing variety of talent and skills, but this will give you a fractional idea.
,Years ago, a few months before I lost my home in a flood, my daughter gave me this business card holder. She knew my volunteering had spun out of control. In addition to my full time job, I had key positions with America's Promise, United Way of the Capital Region, Project Youth, the Gandhi King Peace Coalition, and more. Asset based, youth driven initiatives were my favorite and supporting Judge Jeannine Turgeon with Do the Write Thing was one I considered most worthwhile.
Losing my home and my move to Baltimore forced me to make changes, and much to Mycala's delight, most of the volunteering ended. I did some courses with the Renaissance Institute locally and have continued to support Youth 10xs Better in Harrisburg because their mission incorporates all of Colin Powell's Five Promises (American's Promise), but my direct interaction with youth programs ended.
Moving to Baltimore has been a blessing. I love this town for more reasons than I have time to write or you have time to read. But the youth violence is staggering. I've been quietly watching since I moved to Baltimore County in 2012. I purchased a home in the city in 2015 and have continued to consider the best way to help.
Almost over night it occurred to me that Do the Write Thing might be the answer. I have always believed that young people, not adults, know the answers. When I first started out in social services, I am embarrassed to admit that I was part of deficit based programs centered around "what's wrong with young people and how can we (adults) fix them."
Fortunately, I was introduced to healthy communities. I became our local director in Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry and norther York counties through SHIP (State Health Improvement Plan) under the PA Department of Health. The healthy community philosophy embraced Dr. Peter Benson's 40 Assets for Youth from the Search institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One of the most startling realizations was that only 20% of young people feel that adults value their opinions.
Do the Write Thing encourages young people from middle school to process questions and come up with answers. And adults listen. It reaches people who are young enough to be guided to make better decisions.. It gives them the opportunity to consider actions and their consequences, gives them a voice and makes them feel part of making positive changes.
A Postive Experience in the Courtroom
Judge Turgeon felt strongly that academic participation and achievement should be given the same value as those for athletic competitions, so she always provided trophies for the students.
How often do young people and their families have an opportunity to have a positive experience in the court room? This was one of the most gratifying aspects of the program.
So now I am exploring the options of bringing this program to Baltimore. I would be willing to organize the project, but it require approval from the national organization to add another community to those already participating and also to find someone with the credentials and status who would be enthusiastic and dedicated to support the initiative.
In Harrisburg I was well connected and familiar with the community. I had spent decades working with people from board rooms to prisons, and had worked in state agencies, school systems from K through university level, health care systems, police departments, social service organizations and people on both sides of the political spectrum. In Baltimore I'm not nearly so well connected but recently I have connected with some people who might be able to help me with coordinating the community efforts. There seem to be so many people interested in making a difference but not sure how to help.
I still have contacts with people participating in Do the Write Thing and i am exploring the options of adding a Baltimore.
Do the Write Thing combines so many things I value - youth opinion, writing, processing, asset based programming, and community collaboration
Years ago I heard a metaphor for chaos and clarity. A fraction of an inch under the surface of a mirror, it is absolute chaos. But a tiny move can bring everything into perfect focus. Hopefully, there will be a clear of vision of what this might look like in the near future.
The last few weeks have been overflowing with color and kitsch, both here in Baltimore and on recent travels. Seeing so many vibrant creations - kinetic and still sculptures, statues. screens, jewelry and even menus was a whimsical delight. From now on, in addition to museums, natural and historic sites, and more typical tourist attractions, I plan to seek out whimsy when I'm touring! I returned with my sketch book over flowing and numerous ideas for gifts, home and garden!
Kinetic Sculpture Race
On Saturday, May 5, we headed to the harbor early to see the start of the kinetic sculpture race, followed by lunch at Marie Louise Bistro and a stroll through historic Mt. Vernon for their annual Flower Mart.
Baltimore's Visionary Art Museum's annual kinetic sculpture race - "a race through Baltimore of wacky, imaginative, TOTALLY HUMAN-POWERED WORKS OF ART, DESIGNED TO TRAVEL ON LAND, THROUGH MUD, AND OVER DEEP BALTIMORE INNER HARBOR WATERS, constructed out of used bicycles, gears, and parts, created by a lunatic genius who tinkers around in the garage or backyard.
Jim Thorpe, PA
This is just a small sampling of the delights in Jim Thorpe. I've narrowed the number of photos down by focusing on all things Alice in Wonderful!
And back to Baltimore, MD
The Paper Moon Diner
Even the menus were fun!
Some of the interior decorations were a little bizarre, but it's all in fun!
It seemed only fair that I join you in looking for red, so I attended the Catch a Rainbow exhibit at Rawlings Conservatory. Beautiful shades of red were in the Rainbow exhibit as well as the Mediterranean House, Tropical House, Desert House, Orchid House and Palm House.
After the exhibit, the search for all things red continued with a cheese and salami platter with red wine at Birroteca.
St. Patrick's day is almost here and the timing is perfect since i'm working on my Rainbows course!
This is prompting me to begin an alphabet list for St. Patrick's Day! This will be my first holiday list and my mind if over flowing with ideas! I'll be ready to celebrate early this year!
Since moving to Baltimore and becoming acquainted with Irish Railroad Worker's Museum I've gained a new perspective on the holiday. The challenges of the Irish immigrant's frustrations in Ireland, journey to this country and injustices suffered working on the B & O Railroad were heartbreaking. Their tenacity, faith, work ethic, and commitment to community enabled them to over come and prosper.
This year they are having an event for Grandparent's and their grandchildren, ages 5 - 10 years old), from 11;00 to 1:00 on St. Patrick's Day featuring arts and crafts, face painting, story telling, Irish music and dance. There will be an introduction to Irish instruments and light refreshments, with donations welcome. Visit their website for more information.
Our Renaissance chorus is singing Look to the Rainbow from Finian's Rainbow in our spring concert. The words are just as meaningful now as they were when the song was first released.
At first glance, you'll probably think this post is about fashion. it is. It is also about the power our young people have to make change.
building the silhouette
This post is a continuation of blog posts from March 2, 2018 and the original post from February 10, 2018, highlighting the exhibit "from the Inside Out building the silhouette".
My earlier posts featured garments created for women who wanted to look older and more mature. Fashion reflected a full figured woman with wasp-like waists, cinched with corsets and contrasted with bulging bustles made of wire and muslin. This later softened somewhat to a more relaxed hour glass silhouette. Necklines were still high, sleeves and skirts were long, and layers and layers of fabric continued to restrict movement and encourage modesty.
Two weeks ago I attended a lecture and exhibit at Towson University called
building the silhouette
I promised to add more information and post photos from the Inside Out exhibit, but chorus, creating curriculum, painting, trips, and birthday celebrations got in the way. Better late than never. This is the description from the program overview. I'm still trying to identify the "morally uplifting " garments!
"Clothing, and the silhouettes they created, changed at a dizzying pace during nineteenth century, emphasizing and drawing attention to different body parts by cinching here, pooling there, raising and lowering hens and necklines, and adding or removing bustles and decorative flairs. Although today we rely heavily on exercise and diet to create a pleasing armature, in the past it was the outfits themselves, and particularly the undergarments, that did the work, pushing, prodding, hiding and emphasizing the lines and curves of the body, providing clues to what was considered attractive, risqué, scandalous, pleasing, appropriate of even morally uplifting."
Co-curated by the
Erin Lehman, Director of the Department of Art and Design Gallery
Julie Potter, Associate Professor of Theater
The exhibit will be on display until March 17, 2018
Gallery Hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Center for the Arts
1 Fine Arts Drive, Towson, MD 21252
Yesterday was delightful! We had planned to go to the parade in Philly but as it turned out, we watched in television and the internet, and undoubtedly had a much better view of the event in it's entirety. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles for their first ever Super Bowl win and the incomparable follow up celebration. Watching the season was a gift!
Last evening we attended two events at Towson University. One was a lecture by an artist who is currently displaying her innovative creations at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The other was a reception for Inside Out, to open a new exhibit that will be on display until mid March. It is a perfect compliment to the Marc Jacob's course I'm taking where he gives an in-depth perspective on how undergarments impact fashion.
Annet Couwenburg - Intimate Architecture
Annet Couwenberg presented a lecture entitles Intimate Architecture at Towson University
Couwenberg's work reveals the intersection of science, art, technology, and history that makes textiles such a fascinating art form. A Fibers professor at MICA, the artist's most recent show is at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
From the Inside Out - Building the Silhouette
FROM THE INSIDE OUT: BUILDING THE SILHOUETTE
Tuesday, January 30-Saturday, March 17
Gallery Hours Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.-8 p.m.
OPENING RECEPTION FEBRUARY 8, 2018
This exhibition celebrates Towson’s extensive historical clothing collection, with a focus on the century betwen 1820-1920. Visitors get a behind the scenes look at the clothing we so often see in old photos and ads. From the most private of undergarments and hidden tricks of the trade to the outfits and accompanying outerwear, we answer the question, "How DID they wear that?"
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!