Visual Journaling with COIPP

The Delaplaine’s Community Outreach programs partner the arts center with a number of area nonprofits and agencies to bring meaningful visual arts opportunities and experiences to those who otherwise might not have access to them. Small nonprofits, like the Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP), which serves families by providing children a voice as well as resources for them and their caregivers, do some of the most important work in our community.

Visual Journaling with COIPP was created to help realize the missions of both of our organizations and enrich the lives of its participants. The Delaplaine provides art materials, classroom space, and an art instructor; COIPP provides sketchbooks and access for its clients. Artist and Delaplaine instructor David Modler leads the workshops, which typically include 10–15 people. The workshops operate in three phases with the following themes: the five universal shapes, needs and wants, and what I believe…what I do not believe. Once participants have completed all three, a new group begins. Those who complete the series are invited back for self-guided visual journaling classes.

Shari Ostrow Scher, COIPP founder and executive director, is an enthusiastic supporter. “I have watched our participants, those who have recently been released from jail and those in rehab, react to the visual journaling classes. It is incredible,” Shari explains. “I know that people overuse the words ‘It is life changing,’ but I honestly think this experience may be just that. In fact, participants keep asking for the classes, have asked for scholarships so that they can take more classes, and ask questions so that they may help their children get started with this project. What a fabulous experience.”

The monthly workshops with COIPP are just one way the Delaplaine is sharing its vision that “everyone deserves art.” “We’re using art to profoundly impact our community,” states Caitlin Gill, Community Outreach Programs Manager. “Art is changing lives.”

“Both my daughter and I are active writers and artists. …Art allows you the ability to communicate in ways that might be difficult for a person that has depression or anxiety or troubles to put into words. …Thanks so much.” —Rachel & Anisah

“I’m very calm and at peace when I’m doing the workshop. I love to draw or do anything with art. It helps with stress, and since I’m a recovering addict, it helps with the triggers and thoughts of using. It gets me out of my head and I really enjoy it.” —Stephanie

“I am really thankful for this program and what it was able to do for me and others like me. It has shown me the many different ways to express the people, places, and things that I love through writing, drawing, coloring, and image clippings…. It has shown me little things and projects that I can do with my son so that we can do things together without spending a lot of money. It also was good for me—bringing me back to my childhood days and showing me things I used to love.” —Rico

The success of the Delaplaine’s programs is because of the support of people like you! For more information about our Community Outreach, contact Caitlin Gill at 301-698-0656 x105 or Information about the programs and how you can support them also is available at

Art His&HerStory: A Conversation with Deborah & Harry Richardson

Photo by David Roderick

Photo by David Roderick

There are a number of people who have been instrumental in contributing to the local arts community and helping to establish the Delaplaine as one of the most important arts organizations in the region. Few have been as involved as Deborah and Harry Richardson. We chatted recently with the artists and Delaplaine members.

Delaplaine Arts: Please tell us a little about yourselves!

Deborah Richardson: I have always been a self-employed artist. I graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where I majored in painting. My last semester was spent at the Artists for Environment Foundation at the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey, where I did independent study focusing on painting landscapes on location. After graduation, I lived in Annapolis and did subcontracting work painting decorative and antique reproduction duck decoys, and stained-glass restoration work. Around the mid-1980s, I developed a line of kiln-fired glass jewelry, which I continue to make today. I continued painting landscapes in the studio but realized that what I really missed was painting outside on location. A group of us from the Frederick County Art Association (FCAA) began meeting up for paint-outs and I have been painting regularly in plein air for the last 10 years.

Harry Richardson: I’m a Frederick native. I attended Frederick High. I graduated from Frostburg University with a teaching degree, then won a full fellowship to Arizona State University. There, I earned a Masters in Art Education. I taught art in public schools for 16 years. I retired from teaching in 1985 and have been a full-time artist ever since. I was a member of Spectrum Gallery in Georgetown, D.C., for 19 years. I’ve exhibited in many gallery and museum shows and outdoor festivals over the years. I was fortunate to first meet Debbie at an outdoor show in Lucketts, Virginia. Debbie and I have a large gallery at our studio near New Market that is open by appointment.

DA: How did you become involved with the Delaplaine?

HR: In the late 1970s, I was involved in the founding of the FCAA. During that time, artist Meredith Springer and others tirelessly promoted the idea of forming a visual arts center in Frederick. Finally, with a grant from the Arts Council in 1988, exhibit space was acquired in a room over the Emporium on Patrick Street. The first exhibit of the new temporary arts center included members of the FCAA. I’ve been involved ever since.

DR: I became involved with the Delaplaine when Harry and I got married in 1990. At that time, the Delaplaine’s present location was just a dream that the Frederick artists had. That’s also when I became a member of the FCAA. It was a driving force in the creation of the Delaplaine, so it was kind of like the two were connected. FCAA encouraged all of its membership to become members of the Delaplaine as well.

DA: How do you see the Delaplaine’s evolution over the years?

DR: The Delaplaine has grown over the years from its humble grassroots beginnings to the amazing arts center that it is today! I believe when the Delaplaine opened there was nothing like it in the whole State of Maryland.  Since then, other counties in the state have created art centers using the Delaplaine as their inspiration. What I think is important for people to know, is that the The Delaplaine Arts Center was not created by the government. It was an artist-driven idea that was started by people getting together and saying, “Yes, this is what we want,” and going out to make it happen. The Delaplaine is truly OUR arts center and it needs our continued support.

HR: Debbie said it well. From its humble beginnings to the full-fledged visual arts center it is today is an amazing journey! I remember when there was no dedicated exhibit space in Frederick. Downtown was pretty dead. We had FCAA shows at the mall and in the Weinberg Center’s lobby. There were only two frame shops in town. The Delaplaine has helped change all that with its many exhibition spaces, plus satellite shows at the local libraries. I think that, over the years, the Delaplaine has been a kick-starter and source of inspiration for the current vibrant arts scene in Frederick.

DA: Why do you believe it’s important to continue to support the Delaplaine?

DR: The Delaplaine has contributed immensely to the education of young and old alike, giving those interested in visual arts a place to connect with others and get the support needed to be creative. The life of an artist is a solitary one and the Delaplaine is a place where people with all levels of skills can come and learn, share, and enjoy the camaraderie of other people who have an interest in the visual arts.

HR: Debbie and I are painters, and we feel it is very important to support a local organization that promotes and lobbies for the visual arts. We are both Life Members and make a donation each year. We feel that everyone in the community benefits in one way or another from the Delaplaine and should do what they can to support and fund this valuable resource.

A Wider Lens: Film and the African-American Experience

Photo courtesy of Heritage Frederick

Photo courtesy of Heritage Frederick

The African American Resources, Cultural & Heritage Society of Frederick County (AARCH) was formed in 2001 with a vision to preserve and share the history and culture of African Americans living in the county. The Society has been actively doing that ever since. The Delaplaine is partnering with AARCH to present A Wider Lens: Film & the African-American Experience. The program takes place at the Delaplaine on the first Wednesday evening of each month, and includes a film screening followed by discussion.

“The program is one more avenue for engaging with the wider community, to share the richness of the many contributions African Americans have made to Frederick County and beyond,” explains Ingrid Palmquist, an AARCH board member and local filmmaker, adding, “despite the challenges of slavery, segregation, and persisting racial prejudice.”

The monthly program kicked off in November during the Focus: A Celebration of Photography event with an encore screening of Ingrid’s The Tale of the Lion. The film offered the memories, wit, and wisdom of some of Frederick’s oldest African-American citizens. More than 170 people attended the showing.

In December, and for the next several months, the program will present portions of Up From the Meadows: A History of Black Americans in Frederick County, Maryland, by local historian and filmmaker Chris Haugh. First shown on cable TV in 1998, the five-hour film was the first—and to date the most comprehensive—presentation of local African-American history. It earned Chris the cable industry’s Beacon Award of Excellence, the highest honor for a communications and public affairs program, that year.

While history is often told through national events, the film series brings it back to the local level. “Sharing local documentary films provides an opportunity for us to get to know ourselves better as a community,” says Ingrid. “We want to look more deeply into the daily lives of African Americans over centuries right here in our own county.”

With its mission to share the visual arts, the Delaplaine was a natural fit. “We are excited to be co-presenting the series,” states Duane Doxzen, Director of Development & Communications. “Recent major improvements to our projection system in Gardiner Hall have greatly increased our capacity to present film effectively.” By focusing on history through film, the program furthers the missions of both organizations. “We believe strongly that partnering in creative ways with other nonprofits like AARCH makes all the organizations involved more effective, and, most importantly, better serves the community.”

The program is free and open to all. “Our film series is an invitation for community discussion, where we hope everyone will feel welcome and comfortable to openly discuss the challenges and triumphs in our history, so that we might better understand where we are today,” says Ingrid.