News Archive


Kent County Arts Council Increases Grants for Nonprofit Arts Organizations by 36%

The Kent County Arts Council is awarding $41,900 in General Operating grants for Fiscal Year 2019, a 36 percent increase over last year.

“This is great news for the arts in Kent County,” said Clarke Bjorke, President of the Board of KCAC. “We are awarding more funding support and asking our grantee organizations to use these funds to serve more of the residents of Kent County – everybody wins!”

The applications were reviewed, and awards approved, by a committee of five sitting KCAC Board Members. This year’s recipients are:

Chestertown RiverArts – $10,000
Garfield Center for the Arts – $9,500
The Mainstay – $9,000
National Music Festival – $6,250
Chester River Chorale – $2,900
Kent County Community Marching Band – $1,500
Chester River Youth Chorale – $1,000
Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble – Pending

Each year the KCAC invests public funds, as well as time and other resources to help strengthen the county’s nonprofit arts organizations, as part of its mission to “Invest, Infuse, and Inspire.” In making these grant awards, the Arts Council is moving forward with both a new formula for funding, and new requirements for community service, diversity, and outreach.

“The money we award through grants is public money that comes directly from the Maryland State Arts Council, which is funded by an Appropriation from the Governor and Maryland General Assembly,” said John Schratwieser, Director of the Kent County Arts Council. KCAC also receives public funding from the Kent County Commissioners.

“As taxpayer dollars, these funds are designed be used to serve and benefit the residents of Kent County. Through funding, professional development and capacity-building opportunities, the KCAC seeks to help our grantees grow in their service to our residents,” he added.

For FY19, the Board approved a new policy which caps any single General Operating grant to the lesser of 50 percent of a grantee’s comparable grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, or $10,000 (MSAC grants are based on organizational budgets – and the Kent County Arts Council follows this policy.). This will enable the KCAC’s dollars to fund more organizations and reach more residents across Kent County.

The Kent County Arts Council also offers Project Grants. For FY19, the Project Grant category funds will increase by 25 percent over FY18. These grants are for community groups and other nonprofits who are not direct arts providers but offer arts-related projects or programs. This category has an open-ended deadline as funds are available. To date, nearly $4,000 has been awarded in this category.

Information about the KCAC’s grants and grant applications is online or by calling 410.778.3700.


The Kent County Arts Council presents:
THE UNLADING by Robert Earl Price

The Kent County Arts Council presents:

A Dramatized Poem, written and directed by Robert Earl Price,
Commissioned and Produced by the Kent County Arts Council for
Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend 2018.

The first stolen African people arrived in North America in August 1619 at Point Comfort, Virginia (Marker at Fort Monroe, Hampton, VA). They were used to buy food for the captain and crew of a Dutch Man of War, they were brought to Jamestown and sold. Their arrival was marked by four words, “20 and odd Negars”, by John Rolfe, in a letter to Sir Edwin Sandys, Treasurer of the Virginia Company of London. Two years later, in the Virginia census, they would be listed simply as “un-free”.

THE UNLADING is a dramatized poem in one act, written by Kent County’s award-winning playwright and poet, Robert Earl Price. Price imagines the thoughts, words and past lives of each of these enslaved Africans as they are unladed from a Dutch Man of War. (Downrigging attendees will know the Kalmar Nykle, from Wilmington, Delaware – this is a Dutch Man of War.). The poem was originally presented at Downrigging Weekend 2017 as part of a concert given by The Pam Ortiz Band, and has since been commissioned by the Kent County Arts Council into this dramatized piece. It will be performed four times throughout the 2019 Downrigging Weekend Festival at Janes Church in Chestertown with a cast of six local actors.

Performances are FREE and will be held at Janes United Methodist Church, 120 S. Cross Street, Chestertown as follows:

Friday, October 26, 2018 – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 27, 2018 – 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 28, 2018 – 1:30 p.m.

The play runs approximately 30 minutes with no intermission.

The Kent County Arts Council is pleased to present this program in partnership with Sultana Education Foundation and their Downrigging Weekend. This production is funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, The Hedgelawn Foundation and The Indian Point Foundation

Please call 410-778-3700 for more information.



The Kent County Arts Council presents:
MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob Lawrence

The Kent County Arts Council presents:
MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob Lawrence

In 2016 The Phillips Collection in Washington DC commissioned Playwright and Producing Artistic Director Jacqueline E. Lawton, Assistant Professor of Theater, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to create an evening of short plays based on the Great Migration series painted by famed African American painter, Jacob Lawrence. These plays will be presented together as Act one of a Two-Act evening that also includes Kent County’s own RED DEVIL MOON, Thursday – Sunday, November 1 – 4, 2018 at the Garfield Center for the Arts. Tickets are just $10 each, and free for all 18 years old or younger.

In 1941, the 26 year old Jacob Lawrence completed the 60 panels that make up The Migration Series. This fall, the Kent County Arts Council offers a unique glimpse into these works and the Great Migration with a multifaceted, multimedia presentation with arts, words and music.


We will host 40 Kent County High School Art students on a trip to The Philips Collection in Washington DC for a tour of the museum, an intensive on Lawrence’s work, and to inspire the students’ own work on the subject, which will hang in the Chestertown RiverArts Gallery from October 31 through November 11 as part of the project. All five KCPS visual arts teachers will participate in this trip.

RiverArts will be open regular hours, plus one hour before curtain at the Garfield an all four performance days.


On November 1-4, 2018 we will present a two-act evening of theater at the Garfield Center for the Arts. For Act 1, five excellent playwrights have created five powerful short plays which originally premiered at The Phillips Collection in the fall of 2016. It is our pleasure to showcase these works, and to welcome all five playwrights for a Sunday, November 4, 2018 talk-back and reception following the 3 p.m. performance. Thursday – Saturday, Nov 1-3, at 7 pm and Sunday, Nov 4, at 3 pm. The five plays are:

IN CONSTANT PURSUIT by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm




#51 by Laura Shamas





A LEGACY OF CHAINS by Annalisa Dias





A LONG ARDUOUS JOURNEY by Jacqueline E. Lawton






BAGHDAD CARPET by Norman Allen



The plays will be produced by Guest Artistic Director Jacqueline E. Lawton, and will be directed by Michele Volansky, Chair, Department of Theater and Dance, Washington College.


Act Two will be a revival of Kent County’s own RED DEVIL MOON written by Robert Earl Price and Pam Ortiz and featuring Sombarkin and The Pam Ortiz Band. RED DEVIL MOON is a Migration story, based on Harlem Renaissance writer, Jean Toomer’s novel CANE.

Finally, as part of this project, we will present just RED DEVIL MOON on Thursday, October 25 at 11 a.m. with The Garfield Center for the Arts as part of their ongoing educational outreach series. The theater will be reserved for students from schools across our region that day.

Watch a preview of this great new musical and visit for more information about the show.


For more info or tickets call 410-778-3700.

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