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An Interview with Joann Vaughan, Arts Community Leader

Jun 27 2017

An Interview with Joann Vaughan, Arts Community Leader

This year marked the debut of “Annapolis Arts Week,” a collaborative effort among businesses and local arts groups including Paint Annapolis, the Annapolis Food and Wine Festival, and other accompanying exhibits and block parties. To get a perspective on the week’s popular appeal, Hope from Four Rivers talked to Joann Vaughan, Executive Director of the Maryland Federation of Art, about the “Paint Annapolis” event — its place in the community, and her vision for its future.

Tell us about the arts scene in Annapolis.
The current arts scene here is not new. It’s been around since at least the early 1960s with the founding of the Annapolis Symphony and the Maryland Federation of Art. Annapolis is a community that desires and appreciates the arts, from teleworkers who can live anywhere and choose a home like Annapolis with its physical and natural beauty, to retirees who now have the opportunity to be creative and engage in artistic pursuits. This dynamic is important, because if Annapolis is to be an arts destination it must start with being an arts community. The arts scene itself, however, is really getting ready to explode and we’re excited to see what it will look like when it fully emerges.

And what about the artists participating in Paint Annapolis?
We had great deal of interest from plein air painters around the country. This year 30 artists were selected from 130 applicants, which included 27 from across the US and 3 from Ireland. The plein air painters are a community unto themselves, traveling from city event to city event, so they are drawn to a place like Annapolis that embraces them. Our residents should be proud of how Arts Week came together, but we would like to see even more community buy-in which could make Paint Annapolis an even greater draw to artists. A more competitive event would heighten the excitement of the week.

What are some challenges currently facing Paint Annapolis and how would you like to address them?
One of the continuing challenges is limited means, a common problem for nonprofits. That’s why cooperation and collaboration are so important. The more talent, ideas, and resources we can pool together, the greater our impact.
We would love to get the business community more involved in Arts Week. We hope they understand the value it can bring to their businesses due to the influx of artists and visitors. For example, I would love to see Nocturne (where the artists come out and paint after sundown),  grow into an event similar to Midnight Madness. Businesses could remain open later in the evening and attract a new audience. While Midnight Madness celebrates Christmas, this would be like Christmas in June.

What is your vision for Paint Annapolis?
Paint Annapolis is all about exposing people to art, making it more affordable and accessible. I want people to meet and get to know the artists; they’re out there in the street and more than happy to talk to you. I challenge residents to become collectors. Find an artist whose work really appeals to you. Buy one piece of art you love, and then buy another piece next year. The work that comes of Paint Annapolis is endowed with a greater meaning to us because it immortalizes the town where we live.