Arts Alliance Seeks Artists, Performing and Environmental Groups for River Artsfest

The Charles County Arts Alliance (CCAA) is presenting River Artsfest, CCAA's largest cultural event of the year, on Saturday, June 11, 2005, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, on the Village Green in Indian Head. In keeping with the CCAA's stated mission, the annual countywide arts festival celebrates ALL the arts in Charles County: music, visual art, drama, dance, and literature. In addition to presenting local and regional visual, performing and literary artists, the CCAA is combining forces this year with a number of environmental organizations to highlight the important role of the Potomac River and other local rivers to the Charles County way of life. The CCAA is partnering with the Town of Indian Head in presenting River Artsfest.

With less than two months to go, the CCAA is offering a final opportunity for artists, performing groups and other community organizations to directly participate in River Artsfest. The beautiful and spacious Village Green in Indian Head can accommodate large numbers of presenters: visual artists, performing groups, writers, environmental and marine groups. In addition, local cultural and historical museums and parks are also welcome to present exhibits at River Artsfest. It's not too late to get involved - the final deadline for registration is May 1, 2005. River Artsfest registration forms for all types of presenting individuals and groups are available on the CCAA's new website ( or by calling the CCAA office (301-392-5900).

According to Diane Rausch, CCAA president, "This year's River Artsfest is really two festivals in one: it's an "arts festival" focused on celebrating all the arts, but it's also a "river festival" focused on celebrating the wonderful river-based natural environment that surrounds us and serves as the source of inspiration for so many of our local artists and our Southern Maryland lifestyle in general."

"After months of planning and preparations for this year's event, we're ready to dive in and really make a splash!" says Therese Thiedeman, CCAA's clerical assistant. "And that's exactly what River Artsfest promises to do by appealing to a broader constituency: the arts-lovers as well as the nature lovers, made possible by the presence of rivers and streams all around us as tributaries of the priceless Chesapeake Bay."

In June 2004, "The Year of the River" was announced in Southern Maryland at the "Calvert County Wade-In," an annual statewide event to assess the water quality of the Patuxent River. Federal, State, and Calvert County elected officials participated, including U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer, Governor Robert Erhlich, and the Wade-In founder, former Maryland State Senator Bernie Fowler. The well-known Maryland folksinger, songwriter, artist, poet, and environmentalist, Tom Wisner, also participated and performed Chesapeake Bay songs. He shared his memories of experiences on the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers, bringing to the forefront of peoples' minds their own priceless memories of enjoying the local rivers in Southern Maryland.

River Artsfest is the Charles County contribution to "The Year of the River" and is part of its "grand finale" celebration in June 2005. Now, in the true spirit of this celebration, Chesapeake singer/songwriter Tom Wisner has joined in creative partnership with the CCAA in the planning and in performing throughout the day at River Artsfest on June 11. In addition, several other professional singer/songwriters and musical groups from our region have agreed to perform his exciting event, including Joseph Norris, Magpie, and the Nanjemoy Creek Boys.

Visual and literary artists from across Southern Maryland will have their works on display and for sale as well. Some will even be demonstrating their skills as they continue their work throughout the day. There will also be visual art experiences for children led by local art teacher Susan Belmore, a member of the CCAA Board of Directors. A variety of musical performances throughout the day will be presented by local groups such as the Encore Kids and Encore Teens of Port Tobacco Players, the Chesapeake Choral Arts Society, Solid Brass jazz ensemble, and others, for all to enjoy. Dancers from Judy's Studio of Dance will also perform.

Charles County is blessed to have 4 rivers in its midst: the Potomac, Patuxent, Wicomico, and Port Tobacco Rivers, as well as numerous creeks, streams and wetlands that support precious flora and fauna. The Potomac River shoreline in Charles County is over 150 miles in length, and is host to a large bald eagle and great blue heron population. To celebrate the "river" at River Artsfest, a number of local environmental organizations will have educational exhibits, including the Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center, The Accokeek Foundation/National Colonial Farm, Chestory: the Center for the Chesapeake Story, and the Patuxent Riverkeepers. In addition, a live bald eagle show featuring Mike Callahan of Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center will be presented.

The CCAA also will have a silent auction of donated artwork from participating visual artists. Food vendors will be cooking, selling, and serving a variety of tasty cuisines, including those which come from local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 11, 2005 for River Artsfest on the Village Green in Indian Head! It's an event you won't want to miss!

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