Quality of Life Day – The Backstage Pass to Frederick


Behind the Art, Culture, and Entertainment

Leadership Frederick once again hit it out of the park with an amazing and inspiring day about the Quality of Life here in Frederick County and the leaders who make it happen. Frederick is the place to be if you’re looking for art, culture, or entertainment, and our class had the unique opportunity to experience a tiny fraction of the creativity that lives and breathes here. And yes, it is alive and well!

The Story Behind the Community Bridge

Community BridgeWhat inspired me the most was listening to Artist William Cochran tell his story about how he became a large scale public artist, and why he does it. He said the job of an artist is to “blow your mind”. Well he certainly did!

We heard the story behind the Community Bridge, with its 100 shades of gray and endless symbols that are so connected to people in the community. It is an amazing piece of art and it has changed the esthetics of the area with its charming visual appeal.

Just around the corner is his painting of the Archangel, an anamorphic projection is another beauty and a engaging conversation piece. Cochran’s, the Dreaming of Frederick, seen as you walk west on W. Patrick street across from the Weinberg Center is a unique multi-faceted glass art structure attached to a five story building.  William Cochran has his touch all around the City of Frederick, and you don’t have to look very hard to find it, it’s known as “Angels in the Architecture”.

All the World’s a Stage…

Next we toured the Maryland Ensemble Theatre. Known as the MET, this is an engaging and incredibly creative place to be if you enjoy theater. We had the chance to get animated and learn some of the creative ways actors communicate.

And if theater doesn’t grab you, just across the street from the MET, is the Weinberg Center for the Arts, (and yes we got to tour this historic landmark, also known as the Jewel of Frederick). The Weinberg offers live performances, movies and speakers.

Businesses making Frederick a Great Place to Live

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We then headed out to SoldierFIT for some hands on (literally) self-defense techniques—thanks to Zack. During lunch we had a panel discussion led by class member Carly Lederer. She shared how she got involved with this awesome company.

Alderman, Kelly Russell gave us the latest and greatest on the bike path initiative. We also heard from Bob Hicks, Frederick County Parks and Recreation, with updates on what his division is doing! Clyde Hicks of the Trail House educated us on the great outdoors and encouraged us to take advantage-its free!

We then headed out to Fountain Rock Nature Center—a hidden spot in the County, rich in history and outdoor appeal. We learned the old ways of making lime from a kiln, common to Frederick many years ago, because of the lime stone here, hence the local road names, Lime Kiln Road and Kiln Road. Follow the rail road and you’ll probably find the other kilns in the County.

Galleries, The Blair Witch Project, and more


The day could not be complete without a visit to one of the many art galleries Frederick offers. Noma Gallery is new in town and is a co-op, offering a variety of mediums on display, from paintings to sculpture to pottery. We had a chance to visit with local artists and hear some of their stories. Noma Gallery gave us space in the back for a panel discussion from talented locals who make a living from working in the arts. These people have to use their business brains to keep their product afloat. The panel included Eduardo Sanchez a local filmmaker, known for the Blair Witch Project; the lovely Whitney Dahlberg, owner of the Muse—her shop helps other local talent as well–inspiring; Scott Ambush, a local musician and Justin Kiska who artfully combines dinner and a show at Way off Broadway. Some great stuff and inspiring to say the least.

Lastly, we heard from an outstanding community leader, Kara Norman of Downtown Frederick Partnership, who quizzed us on our knowledge of Downtown Frederick Partnership—I think we all would agree, she has played an important role in revitalizing downtown Frederick.

Arts, culture and entertainment really does bring us all together—it’s what we all have in common. And when we do that, it makes a huge impact on our community and on the quality of life we enjoy–it’s what makes Frederick so special!


Photos courtesy of Laila Shouhayib & Timothy Brady, class of 2016

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