As much as I LOVE to travel to gardens anywhere, anytime and just about any place, appreciating beauty locally is always a great thing. A treasured place of beauty can be found on any weekend morning…especially if you head out to Dowell, Maryland, just before you reach Solomons Island. In years past I have seen the sign and promised myself that I would make time to pause and visit, but never found the time. One Saturday in mid August I made the time, I took quite a few moments to pause and I enjoyed every moment of it. I took my time and got lost at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center.
When I saw this gate, I was intrigued about what I would find upon entry. Who was Annmarie and how did this garden come into fruition?? Ann Marie Koenig was the wife of Francis Koenig, a man known in the Washington, DC area as a developer, architect and builder. The Koenigs came to Calvert County to set up house away from the busyness of the City. Falling in love with the landscape of the area, Mr. Koenig invested in a parcel of land and held onto it, despite developer interest to purchase it.When you are blessed with something so beautiful, that touches your soul and makes you want to share it with others, great things usually happen. After the death of Mr. and Mrs. Koenig, the family donated the land to Calvert County, Maryland and made sure that the plan for a sculpture garden be a part of the vision. That is what Annemarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center is today…..a beautiful sculpture garden that is welcoming and has meaning on so many levels.
Known in Calvert County as a place where nature and art meet, Annmarie Sculpture Garden is a place for the curious. A place where your artistic nature can run wild. The visitors center and gift shop (yes a great gift shop) is in the Murray Arts Center on site. The artLAB has wonderful one of a kind locally made pieces from headbands to creatively re-dressed wing chairs. Here one can create a memory of their visit to take home. Using mostly collected recyclable materials, your inner child would beam and smile from ear to ear when unleashed into this space. The large welcoming windows draw you into the garden, where more adventure can be found.
Outside is where the REAL adventure begins. I participated in a public art project where I had to pick a stone from a bin, sketch something creative on it, paint it in with readily available paints that are left on a table with paint brushes. Leaving it to dry with other creations from previous participants, these rocks will be gathered and incorporated into a public art piece, calling them picto pebbles. I wonder if I can spot my masterpiece when the project is done???
From that point on, my inner child was unleashed and what I thought would be a mere hour or two, turned into most of the day. From the Fairy Lolly to the random works of art, all the way to the Women’s Walk, I found this wonderfully curated sculpture garden, once the wish of Mr. Koenig for his beloved Annmarie, was a beautiful thing. Annmarie would have been proud to see what her place of peace has turned into. Talk about honoring her wishes and remain a part of the Calvert County culture….this place is amazing!!!
Annemarie Sculpture Garden offers numerous reasons to visit and become a regular patron or even a member. A Baywise Certified garden, there are so many bees and butterfly’s that have found their way to visit and continue on their journey.
Annmarie Sculpture Garden features some works of art on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, as well as The National Gallery of Art. Thirty acres in an awesome naturalistic setting where you can walk, ride a bike and bring your dog…..just a great place to plan on getting lost in for the afternoon. The gift shop also offers some rather unique artistic pieces from felted birdhouses, clocks, books and even jewelry. There are many types of exhibits offered throughout the year. There is one coming up that is of interest to me at least called “Finding Our Place – the Geography of Art. It will run from October 16 until January 3, 2016. I must try my best to see this one, perhaps while I am attending the Annmarie Garden In Lights event. This event will run from December 4, 2015 until January 2, 2016. Nightly entertainment will be on hand as you weave through the garden that has been transformed into a magical wonderland. I can’t wait to see this!
December 4th and 5th also happen to be the dates for the last Maker’s Market Craft & Farmers Market for this season. The Studio School offers classes in mostly all types of media from ceramics,painting, fiber arts, glass, jewelry and more. There are summer camps, several Annemarie After Hours events, Art Blooms Gala and Reception, Fairy and Gnome Festival (just to name a few) as well as event space rentals. Talk about a space that is alive with the spirit of the Koenigs – the spirit of giving back to friends and neighbors, by being Stewards of the land.
The Women’s Walk is what drew me to Annmarie Sculpture Garden. I love art. I love art in the garden and I love art with meaning. I do not remember who told me that I needed to check this out, but THANK YOU!!!! To see such works in nature is simply amazing. One sculpture called Woman Resting really centers my soul. It truly depicts every woman st some point in this journey of ours, leaning against a wall, pausing, wondering …..yet in silent reflection. A cluster of sculptures that every woman can identify with…..a must see, a must walk.
Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center is open most days from 10 – 5, for a nominal fee. It is pet friendly, handicapped accessible and has the ability to provide tours, call them first to make arrangements.
The next time I disappear on the weekend, one could easily assume that I just might be at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center or visiting Solomons Island right down the road. How awesome it is to find such a place of peace and beauty, right here at home!!!
For more information go to Annmarie Sculpture Garden …perhaps I will see you there??? For more information go to www.annmariegarden.org