Posts Tagged 'awards'

A Story Quilt and a Spirited Ceremony

Apparently it was a well-kept surprise to Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither that she, along with her extraordinary documentary story quilt, were the honorees at a spirited dedication ceremony this past Wednesday. The artist received various accolades, too many to enumerate, celebrating her Black Watermen of the Chesapeake quilt. Imagine being asked to show up for a “small” dedication ceremony to find a hundred friends, family, local students, community members, and other supporters there to tell you how much of an impact you have had on their lives. Music and poetry framed the ceremony, including a rendition of Ave Maria by Banneker-Douglass Museum’s own Gen Kaplan, winter and water-themed selections by Bates Middle School choir, and a capella spirituals. Oh yes, there were tears.

 Let me back up a little; when I say her quilt, what I mean is her vision, her expertise, and her talent. But Dr. Gaither did something remarkable: She shared all this with the community and allowed anyone who wished to add their story, their photos, and their stitches to the quilt. She is the first to say that this was a community project. This particular documentary story quilt, as there are quite a few more, tells the stories of African American men and women who spent their lives working the water of the Chesapeake: Their struggles, their triumphs, their families, their LOVE of the Bay. As Jeff Holland, Director of the Annapolis Maritime Museum said, “this is our history,” no matter who you are. If you live by the Bay, you will be touched by these stories.

If you haven’t seen the quilt yet, well, you have to wait until March when it returns to its home state – this piece is traveling! Its first stop is in Hartford, Connecticut then back to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

Reflecting on this past Wednesday, though, I can say what a great way to start the day! If you weren’t able to attend the dedication ceremony, check out some of my photos below. Then get in the car, and go to Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center in Annapolis to check out some of her other pieces while they’re still on exhibit!

— Aleithea W.

The Bates Middle School choir sings for the audience

Karen Rowe and Olivia Gray from the organization Quilt: Art to Mend the World (from my hometown, Riverale, MD!) lead the audience in a spiritual

Dr. Gaither stands in front of (only a small section!) of the Quilt

Mr. Ted Mack prepares to present Dr. Gaither with an accolade with the entire quilt in the background


Heritage Awards Recognize Our Heroes

It’s that time again!
Four Rivers has again announced that we are accepting nominations for our Sixth Annual Heritage Awards, which will be held in early November. The award categories this year include Heritage Tourism Product, New Initiatives, Heritage Partnership, Heritage Professional, Public/Private Initiatives, Legacy, and the most prestigious award, the Heritage Award. Nominations are due to the Heritage Area office by September 28, 2009. Nomination forms are available on our website.

In the four years that I have been a part of these award ceremonies, I can recall quite a few highlights and very special moments, and I’ll share some photos of past ceremonies here:

Marion Warren2

The late Marion Warren addressing the audience after receiving the Heritage Award in 2005.

Below left, John VanAlstine with Anna Milbradt and Cecilia Capuano, two junior docents from Captain Salem Avery Museum, after receiving the Legacy Award in 2005, and right, Pam Offer, the recipient of the Legacy Award in 2007.




Pam Offer

The full list of past awardees is on the Four Rivers website.

The reason these awards are important is that they recognize our heritage heroes, those people (and sometimes institutions too) who have done so much to understand, preserve and share the legacies of our region’s past.

If you would like to nominate another of our area’s heroes for this year’s awards, please take the time to fill out the nomination form, send it in and/or call the office — 410-222-1805– so they can be considered by our committee for this significant community recognition. Thank you! — Carol Benson

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