ArtFarm Relocation Unearths Common Ground

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In April 2019, ArtFarm Studios relocated its West Street storefront in downtown Annapolis to a considerably larger location on Chinquapin Round Road. With access to more than 3,000 square feet of space and free parking, co-owners Alison Harbaugh and Darin Gilliam will continue to cultivate an ecosystem of growth for individual artists, workshop participants, neighboring businesses and organizations, and the greater community.

Since 2012, ArtFarm has hosted a robust assortment of workshops and classes, including wood burning, sewing, cartooning, drawing, painting and block printing. Over the years, their repertoire has grown exponentially to include gallery openings, live music, book releases, retail residencies and multiple partnerships. The motivation driving this vision is a commitment to endorse the creative expression of individual artists from different ages, backgrounds and mediums within a collaborative context. Harbaugh, a resident of Cape St. Claire, has noticed the impact of this approach.

“We’re starting to see how everything that we’ve all been doing on our own can come together and create a stronger system,” Harbaugh shared.

By welcoming a diversity of creative professionals and offering them a location for expression, ArtFarm gives local residents access to opportunities popular in larger cities, such as improv, hip-hop open mics, spoken word art, and physical theater. The day-to-day interactions of different groups organically create conversations that often nurture the collaboration dynamic. For example, a night where audiences are given paint and a sketch pad to creatively respond to a live chamber music performance, as well as team-building activities for working professionals outside of the art industry, are currently being planned.

Both Harbaugh and Gilliam believe in the importance the arts has in human lives, from unplugging from technology and reducing everyday stress to increasing problem-solving skills and building relationships. Overall, Gilliam said there’s been a shift in the arts culture in Anne Arundel County, a deeper respect for the industry and the value art brings to the community as a whole. Gilliam sees this not only invigorating the quality of lives but also the commerce of local art businesses, new and old.

“[Long-established art businesses] are either still standing or getting new life,” Gilliam said, “and a lot of career artists are making their voice heard that artists should be taken seriously.”

ArtFarm’s activity schedule is back-to-back this summer, beginning with various camps for kindergarten grads through high school students (street art, art in nature, animation, sculpture, circus skills, and photojournalism for fearless girls). Adult learning includes “Make It” workshops, alternative sketch nights, and more. Past and future events include family comedy nights, tiny concerts, and burlesque shows.

ArtFarm has open studio hours most weekdays, and stopping by to visit the individual studio work of their in-house partners is encouraged. Guests can also swing by the studio for the grand reopening ceremony on May 31 at 5:30pm. Visit www.artfarmannapolis.com to keep a pulse on the momentum!

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