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Take a stroll down the charming brick street of Maryland Avenue in downtown Annapolis, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a combination of local history and local commerce. Branching off from State Circle, with the Maryland State House looming in view, the picturesque avenue feels preserved from a time in the past, with many shops and structures maintaining their original architecture and aesthetic.
In fact, Maryland Avenue is the oldest commercial street in Maryland—and one of the oldest in the entire country. It’s home to an eclectic assortment of businesses, meaning shoppers can get a full experience all within one stretch of street, whether they want coffee, a unique gift, a bottle of wine, antiques, home décor, or even some beauty treatment. You can stop and enjoy a meal at Galway Bay Irish Restaurant, which was featured on the 13th season of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2012, or you can view some of the work by established and emerging regional artists at the boutique gallery, Jo Fleming Contemporary Art.
Maryland Avenue is also the site of the historic Hammond-Harwood House, an 18th-century colonial structure that served as home to many famous Marylanders throughout the years and today serves as a museum preserving Annapolitan history.
The businesses of Maryland Avenue collaborate together as part of the Maryland Avenue and State Circle Association, an organization that puts on regular events, including the annual fall festival.
There’s a reason Edgewater-based artist Dan Kuhne prefers landscapes to abstract paintings, even though he has done both throughout his art career. As he sees it, realistic subject matter gives him a lot more freedom of creativity. Abstraction has to be pinned down to something, he explains, but realistic subject matter is different. “It gives me the opportunity to weave in poetry and religion and man’s struggling and so on,” he says. “It’s not just about what you’re looking at. It’s so much more.”
Kuhne often visits Historic London Town & Gardens for the chance to draw and find inspiration. As he puts it, a photograph of a landscape would show nature as it simply is. But in his paintings, he likes to tell stories, give humanlike qualities to the trees and other plants, and create a sort of visual poetry. “If I’m doing a tree, I’m not just painting what it looks like; I try to show it dancing and how it moves,” he says. “I sometimes make it anthropomorphic.”
His upcoming exhibit at Jo Fleming Contemporary Art, which opens March 5 and runs through April 30, will showcase an assortment of his many landscape pieces, so art enthusiasts can see firsthand what he means with this philosophy.
The recipient of a prestigious Annie Award for Visual Arts Achievement in 2022 by the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, Kuhne sees painting as a type of synesthesia—an intermingling of the arts. Even though paintings are visual and two-dimensional, he believes they should give a sense of movement, dancing, poetry, and storytelling.
Find more information on Kuhne’s upcoming exhibit at joflemingcontemporaryart.com.
© Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 14, No. 2 2023