Seven years ago, artist Brian Slagle and I created The Swinging Bridge: We Got Permission, a collaborative project that integrates our respective mediums – a fusion of installation sculptures, mixed-media paintings and short narratives. Since the show’s debut in 2004 at the Blue Elephant Art Center in downtown Frederick, The Swinging Bridge has traveled to Baltimore and Savannah, Georgia, each production taking on its own distinct character.
Our traveling art and literary exhibition is now en route to Frederick Community College (FCC). Threads of Maryland’s history and culture run through the writings and artwork. “Notes on Tobacco Leaves” may be of special interest to readers of Maryland Life. Nearly two dozen mixed-media paintings feature hand-written fragments paired with pressed tobacco leaves. Included among the “notes” are excerpts from “Turning from Tobacco,” a story I wrote which focuses on southern Maryland tobacco growers who have transitioned from the once profitable cash crop to alternative farming practices. The piece appeared in the October 2010 issue of Maryland Life (see related link).
Brian and I have been friends for more than 30 years. We were born and raised in Frederick and continue to live and work in the area. The exhibition’s title refers to a historic 19th century suspension bridge we crossed daily to and from Parkway Elementary School. Absent from Carroll Creek’s waterscape for some time now, it’s reported that the recently restored bridge will return to Baker Park around the time our show goes to FCC—a good omen we hope.
The Swinging Bridge: We Got Permission runs November 5th to December 1st at the Mary Condon Hodgson Art Gallery. An opening reception will be held November 5th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a reading at 5:45 p.m. The gallery is located at FCC at 7932 Opossumtown Pike in Frederick and is open Mon. - Thurs., 9:30 a.m. – 9 pm; Fri., 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat., 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. For more information, call Wendell Poindexter at 301-846-2513.
Jason Tinney is contributing writer at Maryland Life.