Ruth Starr Rose comes home to the Eastern Shore

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Ruth Starr Rose, Moaney Boy on the Stairs, 1930, copyright 2015 the Estate of Ruth Starr Rose

EASTON — Banners will go up around town this week, promoting the Ruth Starr Rose Easton project opening to the general public on Saturday through June 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. every day for seven weeks. Dock Street Foundation is spearheading this effort with extraordinary support and collaboration from the Academy Art Museum, the Avalon Foundation, Frederick Douglas Honor Society, Talbot County Public Schools, Talbot Historical Society and the Talbot Spy.

A cadre of 60 volunteers have participated in orientation classes to prepare them to serve as greeters, docents and hosts. They play a key role in helping to accommodate the 38 student tours, lecture series and special events scheduled during the seven weeks the program is open to the public.

This show offers a rare glimpse into African-American life at the turn of the century on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Waterfowl Building in Easton has been converted into museum-like space to accommodate over 40 Ruth Starr Rose images and artifacts. These have been augmented with works on loan from local private collectors. Improvements have been made to the building, including a temporary air conditioning system and refurbishing the second floor viewing area.

In an effort to help orient visitors to both the time and place when Rose was producing her Eastern Shore work, the exhibition is enhanced with photographs provided from the Talbot Historical Society, original murals and a 3-dimensional model of the garden at Hope.

Also included are a series of mini documentaries by Dave Whelan, Talbot Spy, with more information about the artist and her work.

Ruth Starr Rose-inspired activities are happening throughout the community. The Academy Art Museum will be showing Rose’s work from their collection. The Talbot Historical Society will open the Galleries at Neall House, Friday and Saturday April 30 through June 18, featuring Starr family memorabilia and Hope House artifacts, some dating back to earliest owners of the property. The Avalon will host a Talbot County student choral concert on May 12 and a student instrumental concert on May 19, both at 6 p.m.

A lecture series featuring nationally-recognized historians speaking on topics important to the artist will be held throughout the program. These include Barbara Paca, May 2, noon at the St. Michaels Library, Ruth Starr Rose (1887-1965): Revelations of African-American Life in Maryland and the World, Clara Small, June 8, 2 p.m. Eastern Shore Conservation Center, Compass Points: Notable African-Americans from the Delmarva Peninsula, Barbara Paca and Pete Lesher, The Starr Family and Hope House, June 11, 2 p.m. Galleries at Neall House, Talbot Historical Society, and Laura Weldon, Free Black Women on the Antebellum Eastern Shore, 4 p.m. Eastern Shore Conservation Center.

This year, the theme of the Juneteenth program, Celebrating Our Heritage in Art and Stories, will recognize Ruth Starr Rose, the artist and the people and stories of the village of Copperville. In support of this program, the exhibition will be open June 18 and 19, 11-4, with docent tours will be available.

Thanks to the generosity of the supporting organizations and sponsors, the exhibition, lecture series and special events are free to the public. Visit ruthstarrroseeaston.com for more details.

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