Art

Annapolis Towne Centre has added a gorgeous new accessory to their visual image: A beautiful mural by the international mural artist, Kelsey Montague. This was just another great move in a string of exceptional decisions that have gone into building a thriving community around the Annapolis Towne Centre.  Anchored by Whole Foods and Target, 24-Hour Fitness, as well as five restaurants with outdoor seating that provide a range of international cuisine. This hub of activity provides a variety of fun and services the entire Annapolis community and beyond.  The thoughtful selection of unique boutiques, several choice retail home and clothing store chains, a coffee shop, dry cleaners, wine shops and more. Maximized space in this moderately sized center make it a complete package for easily navigating a variety of items on anyone’s shopping and to-do lists.  Free outdoor concerts, pet-friendly events, and complimentary parking round out this village that is still growing to an important hub in the Annapolis area. 

Kelsey Montague
Image courtesy of Kelsey Montague Art

Kelsey Montague’s stunning mural further connects this thriving hub to the greater community, as art in all its forms is a prominent player in the heart of Annapolis, which has exploded with murals, pop-up art shops and art fairs that occur weekly, complementing the well-established art galleries and performing art venues known for some of the best art in the region. 

Kelsey Montague
Image courtesy of Kelsey Montague Art

Located on Harker Place between Whole Foods and Cooper’s Hawk’s Wine Shop, the mural is 15 feet tall and includes images of Maryland’s iconic attributes such as Thomas Point Lighthouse and the black-eyed Susan, embedded in wings that represent the waters of the Chesapeake.  As you can see Kelsey Montague standing in front of the finished artwork, the mural invites people to stand in front of it to become what might be the body of a butterfly to become part of the art… pretty cool… and very Annapolis.

I am delighted that I had the opportunity to ask Kelsey about the inception and creation of the beautiful piece:

PD:  How did the commission to create the mural at Annapolis Towne Center come about? 

KM:  The owner of Annapolis Towne Center, Greenberg Gibbons, reached out to me and asked if I would consider doing a mural for them.  I was thrilled.  It’s a cool space and I love doing murals on the East Coast. They wanted it to be Maryland and Annapolis specific, so we discussed ways to make sure this piece resonated with the community, which I do with all of my clients.

PD:  How did this commission fit within your overall mission of creating murals?

KM:  I love working with mixed-use developers who are focused on building community in their area.  I was impressed with those I spoke with at the Annapolis Towne Center – specifically, Alicyn Ames at Greenberg Gibbons  Commercial–  about their desire to create a piece that their community would be proud of.  That really fits perfectly into my mission to make every piece something the community knows is their own and something that makes them proud. That is why each of my murals is unique and most of my murals have hidden ‘Easter eggs’ or small drawings that represent the surrounding community. You’ll notice the wings are waves, which are an ode to Maryland seafarers, and I’ve included items like a crab, a boat, an anchor, a lacrosse stick, the Thomas State Lighthouse, and your state flower.

Kelsey Montague
Image courtesy of Kelsey Montague Art

PD:  What was your experience the first time you visited Annapolis? 

KM:  Annapolis was/is beautiful. I loved the historic sections of that city and getting to see the Naval Academy. Harry Browne’s restaurant had the best hand pies we’ve ever had. They have made it on to our most favorite food list in the USA!

I grew up in Colorado, so I am always amazed by communities that live by the water.  Having the Chesapeake Bay in your backyard must be so thrilling and creatively inspiring.  I know that the water inspired a great deal of my mural in Annapolis!

PD:  What inspired the final design?  How did you prepare? 

KM:  Working with Annapolis Towne Centre beforehand, I had an idea of what I was going to do for this mural, and taking that into account I just started drawing the outline, filling it with color and then adding detail on top.  I think the ‘easter eggs’ [see: Maryland Blue Crab, Black-Eyed Susan, etc.] that I put in the mural are all metaphors for how focused on the community I believe The Annapolis Towne Center is. 

PD:  You’re clearly a talented artist with a thriving business. What do you credit with your success?

KM:  One of the things most people don’t know is that I work with my sister and she has a great business mind (she’s not an artist). She takes after our business-minded Dad, but I take after our Mom who is a watercolorist and her dad, my grandpa, who was also a watercolorist.  On that side of the family, my uncle is also an artist (a sign-maker) and my great-grandfather liked to paint. Therefore art runs through our blood!

PD:  Thank you, Kelsey, for your beautiful mural, and for creating something that resonates for all of us!

KM:  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to create in Annapolis, and to share this with you – I hope to be back in Annapolis in 2020

Come out this Friday night to the free Friday Night Concert Series 10th Anniversary Celebration, come early, bring a chair and have your friends take your picture in front of Kelsey Montague’s mural as you enjoy all the Annapolis Towne Centre has to offer.  

Patrice Drago

Patrice Drago is a full-time artist and freelance writer with a lifetime of experience in the travel and hospitality industry. Growing up in hotels up and down the East Coast from Maine to Florida she used her artistic and journalism skills to create a unique and adventurous career with Marriott International. Moving to Annapolis in 2002, she began a slow transition to focus solely focus on producing, writing about and supporting art and the art community. Patrice is an Artist In Residence at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, and she exhibits and sells her work in Maryland, New York and Maine. She writes the monthly Gallery Column for the Annapolis Capital newspaper, is an officer on the Boards of Directors of MFA (Maryland Federation of Art), and the newly revitalized Annapolis Arts District. Contact Patrice at: www.patricedragofineart.com or www.patricedrago.com.