series of calls for artists; Laurel Arts District

;The Des Plaines Arts Council (DPAC) announced the first in a series of calls for artists to submit applications for temporary display of public art in Des Plaines.c05120d2-ee9b-4316-9b3f-229fc4fa86f7_570

Artworks will be displayed in a storefront located in downtown Des Plaines’ Metropolitan Square.

A reception is planned for October, after the artwork has been installed, in coordination with the Des Plaines Arts Council’s annual Des Arts event.

Artists are responsible for the transportation and installation of their work. Artwork will be accompanied by labels identifying the artist, artwork, and directing interested patrons to the Des Plaines Arts Council website ( A page will be posted on the arts council’s website with more information about the artist, purchase price for works on display, and a link to the artist’s website (if available). Proposals will be reviewed and juried by a committee of arts council members and community representatives.

If an exhibited work is sold during the Art Moves Des Plaines pop-up show, a 25% commission of the sales price will be paid to the Des Plaines Arts Council. These funds will be used to sustain future public art programs in Des Plaines. Preference may be given to work that has already been completed. Conceptual proposals will be considered if the artwork can be completed within the presented timeline, and applications are submitted with clear and detailed specifications and renderings.

A signed contract and license agreement approved by the Des Plaines Arts Council will be required before artwork can be displayed.

General liability insurance is not required from the artist. However, the arts council does recommend that all artists obtain property insurance to cover their work.

Artists interested in submitting proposals for consideration must submit a completed application with required attachments at: Applications are due Aug. 15. Jurying and selection of works will be announced by Aug. 31.

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n the shade of the downtown Laurel Arts District, nestled alongside the Patuxent River, a silk road for artists is winding its way through new businesses on Main Street.

Laurel Artist District Committee president Ada Ghuman, a driving force behind the concept, credits local artists and the Laurel proprietors who are displaying their work around town with creating a “chain reaction.”

Fine art is selling in Old Town. And the eateries providing exhibit space are fostering a dynamic ambience for their businesses — the works on display refresh monthly to attract new and returning patrons.

According to its website, the Laurel Arts District Committee is an organization that aims to “promote wide-ranging community growth via the arts” while preserving the “unique historical town” of Laurel.

Fields, who recently left her job with the city, connected Ghuman with Nadol Hishmeh, owner of Olive on Main, a Mediterranean restaurant that opened in 2014 in the 500 block of Main Street, a space previously occupied by Salute Ristorante Italiano.

The Arts District Committee holds monthly Meet the Artist happy hours at Olive on Main. The events have attracted an increasing number of art enthusiasts to discuss the works on display with the artists who created them.

This month, the committee and Olive on Main celebrated a full year of partnership at their happy hour, drawing more than 70 attendees, double the number of the first reception. The work of Laurel resident L. Anjanine Kvale was featured, and the artist who sold eight of her paintings.

A member of the Laurel Arts Guild and a 13-year Old Town resident, Ghuman said she’s known neighbors to meet and socialize at Main Street establishments in the past, but that discovering modern art on the walls to discuss, and perhaps purchase, is new.
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As an artist, Ghuman said she believes such collaborations between the Laurel arts community and business owners are reenergizing the city’s culture and shifting the focus from traditional to contemporary art.

Olive on Main’s Meet the Artist happy hours and rotating monthly exhibits have been so well received that the committee has artists lined up to show work there through the third quarter of 2016.

“I think there is a natural progression for something like this,” Ghuman said. “And I am finally at the point where I found four other people [to help].”

Those four — Laurel residents Kvale, Zinoosh Farbod, Clayton Cooper and Amy Knox— round out the Laurel Arts District Committee.

The committee’s annual Laurel Arts Festival has expanded from visual arts to include performances by musicians, theater troupes and poets.

Last October’s festival at the Laurel Armory was co-sponsored by the city; Klingbeil Capital Management, developers of C Street Flats across from Venus Theatre; and Main Street’s Cork and Bottle Liquors and featured a performance by Farbod’s band, Channel Volatile.

Coffee and art

Works by local artists are also displayed at More than Java Cafe, a new Main Street coffee shop that opened this summer a few blocks away from Olive on Main.

Business has been brisk since the cafe opened and two of Elkridge resident Linda Wicksell’s abstracts, “Down the Rabbit Hole” and “Forever Garden,” have already sold.

Wicksell, a former Howard County Arts Guild member and current Laurel Arts Guild member, said she feels inspired by the quick sale of her paintings. She foresees historic Laurel becoming “another Ellicott City as a venue for artists to promote their work.”

On Friday, July 31, More Than Java Cafe will host an evening reception entitled “13 Artists Exhibit.” In contrast to the displays at Olive on Main, which showcase the multiple works of a single artist each month, cafe owners Ronnie and Tabitha Clark prefer a more eclectic art vibe for their Internet cafe.

Tabitha Clark said she plans to make the event “special for everyone” with wine and cheese tastings and samples from More Than Java Cafe recipes.

Currently working on pairing a new wine ice cream with homemade desserts for the reception, Clark said she appreciates the art work coming to her cafe and feels tempted to buy some of the art herself.

She particularly favors a digital composition by Joanna Yoder, “Mr. Rogers Three Hats, Claxton GA,” hanging near the storefront window. Clark said it seems to belong there.

“It just fits so well,” she said. “I would be sad if it left.”

The More Than Java Cafe exhibit is catching attention from regular patrons. Whiskey Bottom resident Alex Watts, who plans to frequent the cafe every Saturday, said he appreciates the art he’s discovered hanging on the walls as much as the “great coffee.”

“I think I’ve been waiting for more art to come to the city,” he said. “Laurel is finally blossoming.”

Other artists showcasing their work at More Than Java include Ghuman, Kvale, Diane Shipley, Errol McKinson, Barbara Talbott, Steve Williams, John Cholod, Jon Shields, Paul Gush, Diego Sifuente and Patricia Steck.

Ghuman, Kvale and Sifuente also have their work on display through Aug. 15 at “Power of Words,” an exhibit at the Empower 2 Move U Studio near City Hall on Sandy Spring Road.
More than Java set to open on Main Street in June

More than Java set to open on Main Street in June

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On Aug. 20, the Olive on Main Meet the Artist happy hour will feature works by West Laurel resident Agnes Conaty. “Memories of Home” is a nostalgic collection of watercolor and acrylic paintings inspired by her life in the Philippines and Maryland.

Ghuman said the Laurel Arts District Committee looks forward to organizing more regular exhibits and lots of special events — hopefully every other month — in the coming year.

As the network continues to spread, Ghuman said the committee plans to grow its organization as a nonprofit. The members are currently working on developing an advisory board to focus on legal and financial issues and applying for grants.
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“I feel this sleepy town is waking up with all sorts of creative endeavors and I support our kindred spirits,” Ghuman said.