The vitality of life in Frederick, as expressed through its arts and culture, was on full display during Quality of Life Day. What a perfect start, gathering at The MET (Maryland Ensemble Theater) for breakfast and a few words of wisdom from Rick, our resident thespian.  While sharing his own experiences on-stage, he reminded us that sometimes, “You gotta fake it ‘til you make it”.

With his usual wit and a wealth of knowledge, Shaun Butcher introduced us to the broad range of arts and culture in Frederick and explained how it impacts the economic vibrancy of our community.  Next up Laurie shared the history, mission, and programming of The MET.  Then, we divided into 2 groups, with Laurie giving us a behind-the-scenes look at how creativity impacts all aspects of the company’s performance, while Julie took us through some traditional “warm-ups”…Zip, zap, zoom, anyone?  

LFC was then treated to a presentation by a local treasure, renowned trompe l’oeil local artist, William Cochran.  We all knew about his remarkable “Shared Vision” Community Bridge project, but hearing the story of how it brought the town together and helped make Frederick a “destination city” was eye-opening.  It was inspiring to see the variety of his work and to hear his passion for creating art that brings people together and speaks to the essence of community spirit. Much of what Bill shared centered around his idea that we don’t “actually see clearly” and that sometimes a “different perspective” or “change in value” can make all the difference.  

Time to leave The Met and cross the street for a behind-the-scenes tour of the beautiful and historic Weinberg Theater.  Did you know that it started out as The Tivoli, a movie palace, and now draws folks from near and far for concerts, lectures, and dance and theatrical performances for all ages? Do you know how the “green room” got its name?  That’s where performers hang out to de-stress before going on stage.  

The weather was unseasonably cold (or perhaps the past few days had been unseasonably warm) as we headed towards the Community Bridge to meet Bill Cochran.  With the Bridge as the backdrop, he shared many stories about the 5-year artistic process and how objects symbolizing “community” were incorporated into the “shared vision”.

Next, it was off to the C Burr Artz Library to hear from Alderwoman Kelly Russell, Clyde Hicks (Trail House), Eric Appel (Frederick County Parks & Rec), and our very own Kendall Tiffany (TransIt) about outdoor activities in the County.  So much to do, so little time.  Lunch prepared by Carterque Barbeque was enjoyed by all. And, then a surprise, “On the Town Limos,” the super fun “party busses” chauffeured us to Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium. What a fun way to travel to one of Frederick’s landmark venues.   Thanks to Dave Ziedelis for sharing the stadium’s history and commitment to the community. Yes, they do play baseball, but the stadium is so much more…a wonderful place for kids of all ages to “shake their Keys” and enjoy quality time.  

Our last stop was to the Griffin Art Center where we heard first-hand about the trials and rewards of living an artist’s life.  What a treat to hear from world-renowned artists: sculptor, Toby Mendez, Spyro Gyra bassist, Scott Ambush, and Way Off Broadway Dinner Theater Managing Director, Justin Kiska.  We also had an opportunity to tour the facility and open studios.  What a treat!  Thanks to the LFC team (Barbara, Shaun & Rick) for putting together such an inspiring day.

-Hermine Bernstein


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