Chestertown MD Is Growing into an Arts Destination

Chestertown, MD, is becoming an arts destination, and we could not be more excited!

We are one of the most cherished colonial-American towns on Maryland’s Upper Eastern Shore. Founded in 1706, the town was Maryland’s primary port due to its location on the beautiful Chester River. The waterfront is lined with large historic homes once owned by wealthy merchants and, in the last few decades, has been expanding into a burgeoning arts district as well. Keep reading to learn all about both the existing art exhibits and the ever-growing new art installations popping up all around town!

Existing Art Destinations

Boutique shops and artist studios by local creatives line the streets and host everything from plays, concerts, and stage performances to workshops that are all being produced by varied organizations. Local favorites include the Garfield Center for the Arts and the National Music Festival. Plus, this spring, the Kent Cultural Alliance opened the Vincent and Leslie Prince Raimond Cultural Center in a renovated 18th-century building on Spring Avenue. This stunning cultural center was designed to accommodate its “Visiting Resident Artist Program” and host multidisciplinary artistic and cultural events.


New Art Destinations

What’s most evident, however, are the brand-new sculptures that have added pops of color, storytelling, and creativity to their landscape. The Chestertown’s Public Arts Master Plan, commissioned in 2014 by the Town of Chestertown, is heavily supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Our Town Grant, and the Town of Chestertown, Maryland. As the first public art master plan in the region, our blooming art destination serves as a model for small towns on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The butterfly art installation in Chestertown, MD

In 2020, the Public Arts Committee accepted a gift of 24 sculptures by American and international artists from Hanna and Peter Woicke’s private collection. Since 2022, eight pieces of public art have been erected in Chestertown. Make sure to stop by these eight new pieces placed all around:

  • Broad Reach —  Created by American artist David Hess in 2017, the piece is designed to evoke nautical imagery of a wave and sail and was installed amidst earthworks meant to simulate a rolling sea with framing views of the Chester River.
  • Reading Dog — Find this sculpture outside the Chestertown branch of the Kent Public Library. Designed by the Martha’s Vineyard sculptor Jay Lagemann in 2012, Reading Dog depicts a thin dog with floppy ears and a curled tail standing on its hind legs reading an open book. This whimsical bronze sculpture is a beautiful addition to a community that loves its dogs, books, and art.
  • The Big Courtship — This stunning piece is next to the Kent Cultural Alliance’s Raimond Center and The Great Yes along the Gilchrest Rail Trail. Designed by Serbian sculptor Magdalena Mioĉinović Andrić, this was the first permanent installation of the artist’s work in the United States. A versatile artist who works in bronze, wood, and stone, Andrić explores the borderlands between figurative and abstract art.
  • Vessel — Created by British sculptor Peter Burke and installed in Louisa Carpenter Park, this is another work that explores meaningful ways to represent the body. Constructed out of small steel bars welded together, the sculpture represents a human body on its head, waiting, as the name implies, to be filled up.
  • Face Fragment III — By American artist Susan Stamm Evans, this installation creates an air of mystery. With its lips slightly parted, the viewer is left to wonder what secret knowledge, exactly, the sculpture might be trying to impart. Installed in Remembrance Park, this is a must-see!
  • Sentinel — This lively representation of an owl by American artist Don Rambadt graces the new rain garden at the Cerino Center in the Chestertown Marina. This art pays tribute to the vibrant confluence of art and nature that animates so much of Chestertown and Kent County.
  • Butterfly — An amazing steel sculpture by Ghanaian sculptor and entrepreneur Constance Elizabeth Swanike. Made from found bicycle parts and painted with brilliant colors, Butterfly embodies creativity and a love of the natural world. Now students at Garnett Elementary School can reflect on the giant, steel-geared butterfly greeting them every school day.

Future Art Destinations

With sixteen sculptures yet to be installed from the Woicke Collection by the end of 2024, Chestertown is quickly growing into an art destination. Our special little town will be home to one of the most significant public art installations on the Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland. Find beauty in art, culture, history, and everything in between.

After touring the town to view these fabulous art sculptures, a stay in one of our comfortable rooms with luxurious amenities is a perfect way to end your day. Check availability now.  It is just a dream vacation away!


The public art can be mapped via the Chestertown Public Arts website.
Photo credit: Pamela Cower-Rickman | ©Chestertown Public Arts Committee


Published June 2023

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