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Linnell Bowen

Mar 05, 2011 03:00AM, Published by Anonymous, Categories: In Print, Community



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Though Bowen is modest enough to say that the brunt of work managing many creative groups, performances, workshops/classes, galleries and even a café falls upon the 40 dedicated board members and almost 200 hard-working staff, faculty and volunteers, it is Bowen’s guidance that set the vision. Her goal is for Maryland Hall to be the creative and performing arts center in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

“Linnell has been a star supporter of the arts in Anne Arundel County and particularly at Maryland Hall—our community center for the arts,” says current artist-in-residence, composer, and musician Rob Levit. “It can be really tough to navigate all the competing currents and interests in Annapolis, like funding, new construction, and changing demographics. But Linnell has managed to keep Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts at the front and center of community vitality with its diverse course offerings, performances, resident artists, and companies.”

Her love of the arts (she’s a self-proclaimed Phantom of the Opera buff) and position as executive director grew from her previous endeavors as a high school teacher and as a volunteer and staff member with the Historic Annapolis Foundation (HAF)—the organization founded by Anne St. Clair Wright, whom Bowen credits as an inspiration. In addition to her Maryland Hall work, she is an active voice with such groups as the Annapolis Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell Gallery Board at St. John’s College and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. From past to present, she is a woman who made a difference in our community.

It was the year after World War II ended when Bowen’s father moved the family from Orlando, Florida (where she was born), to Maryland, settling in Glen Burnie. Bowen attended 4th Avenue Elementary School. During those formative years she took piano lessons, which planted a seed in her—an appreciation for cultural arts. In the fourth grade she started piano lessons with an instructor she cites as an early inspiration. “He was very much like the composer-turned-high school band teacher in the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus.” Bowen then discovered the tenor saxophone, which she played all through high school. She laughs, recalling, “I played piano and sax until I discovered boys.”

When her family moved to Severna Park, Bowen attended Annapolis Junior and Senior High schools, located in the building that would be transformed into Maryland Hall just over 20 years later. Indeed, she did discover one boy in particular—Paul “Duke” Bowen—who attended Severn School. They met when they were 16-years-old and he accompanied her to the senior prom at Annapolis. After graduation in 1958 both attended the University of Maryland and graduated. Shortly thereafter they married and settled into a life together—she a high school history teacher at her alma mater, Annapolis High School, and he as an Air Force Lieutenant. “I’ve always loved the ability of teachers,” Bowen says. “And I love to see people learn, so I taught history.” It would prove to be the profession that led her to the next phase of work in her life—volunteering for the HAF—but not without a little help from home. In 1966, the couple had their first-born, daughter Julia, and three years later son Paul was born. “I really loved teaching but then I had two kids. And in those days you couldn’t stay home with the kids [on work leave], you had to give it [work] up. So that’s when I became a professional volunteer.”

For the next 18 years Bowen gave her time and energy to the HAF as a docent, leading groups through the historic streets and sites of the city. “It was a fun thing to do and that’s where I learned about the history of Annapolis and preservation.” Working side-by-side with Wright, preservationist and HAF founder, afforded Bowen the opportunity to learn about the dedication and ambition needed to head a nonprofit organization. Bowen recalls, “She was an artist, she had vision, and [laughing] I learned all my good and bad habits from St. Clair Wright. She was a woman who made a difference—who was a force.” Bowen pauses. “And some people can pull others together for a vision. And I saw what Annapolis could be.”

The vision of exposing all that Annapolis and its community had to offer was beginning to materialize in the form of HAF activities, some of which Bowen spearheaded. She organized and led, 16 years ago, the very first Annapolis by Candlelight tour, in which several Historic District homeowners open their doors to the public. And when she learned that her son had been accepted to the United States Naval Academy in 1987, Bowen not only volunteered her family as a sponsor family for midshipmen for four years, she also successfully organized city walking tours for the new plebes arriving each summer.

In 1994–95 she helped organize the first Annapolis 300th anniversary celebration (commemorating Annapolis being named Maryland’s capital in 1694), which lasted two years, and served as president of the Cultural Arts Foundation. Meanwhile she found time to take classes on the art of fund-raising at Goucher College in Towson. Those pursuits would converge, propelling her to an even greater role in the Annapolis community. “I learned all about the arts groups and how poor they were and how they needed fund-raising to get organized and they needed public relations. And I just felt that art in our community was really important. The job [executive director of Maryland Hall] became open and I said, ‘Wow, I think I can do that.’ So I took this job 12 years ago. And I think that Maryland Hall makes a difference in our community.”

For Bowen, directing the course of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts is not a full-time job—it’s a full-time passion. Over the years she has guided the cultural center’s finances, staff, classes, performances, and resident artists—and also attends a lot of performances during the day and evening. “I sit in the back of the auditorium,” she says, “so that I can see, firsthand, the reaction of everybody when they leave the performances.”

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts is home to Annapolis’s four major performance companies: Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Annapolis Chorale, Annapolis Opera, and Ballet Theatre of Maryland. The cultural hub also supports up to 6 artists-in-residence, numerous auxiliary arts clubs and organizations, diverse arts classes for all ages, and several galleries where local and national artists display their visual art.

Levit offers a glowing endorsement: “Linnell has been a tremendous mentor and champion of my own growth as an artist, performer, and activist. One only needs to stop by Maryland Hall on a busy night of gallery openings, symphony, chorale, dance, and more to see (and hear) the impact Linnell Bowen has had in our community. Her mission has been to keep the spirit of the arts in Annapolis inspirational, vibrant, and enduring.”

During her tenure as executive director, Bowen has established several events and programs that are now popular mainstays at Maryland Hall. The most successful annual event, by far, is Arts Alive!, a gala evening fund-raiser. The biggest fund-raising event for Maryland Hall, it draws a sellout crowd each September. This year marks the event’s 10th anniversary. Another favorite program is the Emerging Artists series, which spotlights local performing artists. Bowen explains, “What’s so cool with the Emerging Artist series is that we keep doing it, and doing it, and now the audience has grown. Instead of having 10 people, we have over 110 people a night. It’s nurturing young artists and I think that’s very worthy, because where else can they perform?”

What does the future hold for Bowen? The recent past has helped to answer the question. Three years ago Bowen learned what she considers two very important life lessons. During a successful recovery from a stroke she learned to listen well to others and she learned to focus on what she could do, not on what she could not do. This has translated to Bowen’s continued dedication to Maryland Hall and her specific focus on instilling the cultural arts within children. She admittedly has cut back on some of her involvement with other organizations. “I learned you can’t be in two places at once.” But Bowen is as passionate as ever before—even more so—about the direction of Maryland Hall and the role it will play in the lives of young people and the community.

“We touch lives in so many ways and yet we have a generation that’s underexposed to the arts,” she says. Bowen recalls the joy of schoolchildren who recently witnessed a Lakota Indian rain dance demonstration—something so completely unique to them—and how they were utterly mesmerized. “Kids need to see live performances,” she believes. “I think art in the schools is my ticket now.” Bowen is currently lobbying the legislature to fund the arts in schools and working on creating a partnership with the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.

Touching lives is the calling card of Linnell Bowen. Whether it be teaching history, leading tour groups through the streets of Annapolis, creating special events, raising funds for the arts, or simply being a great and active mother of two (grandmother to three), Bowen continues to pursue feel-good endeavors that inspire the community around her. “Disseminating art to people, whether they are 1 or 80 . . . I just think people are happier with art and music,” she proclaims. When asked how long she plans to keep at it, she quickly replies, “As long as it’s fun, I’m going to keep doing it. And right now it’s as fun as ever.”

 



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    These original paintings and drawings by Sandy Cohen were inspired by observations of artistry – ...


  • Beneath a Single Moon

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 05:00pm

    This body of work features large abstract paintings and multi-media works by Cassandra Kabler.


  • American Visionary Art Museum

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 06:00pm

    American Visionary Art Museum prides itself on being a unique museum and education center that em...


  • Rosemary Cooley: World View

    05/28/2015
    10:00am

    A life of travel and living in Asia, Africa, and South America has broadened Rosemary Cooley’s ar...


  • Richard Avedon: Family Affairs

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 05:00pm

    Avedon’s striking fashion photography and minimalist, emotion-filled portraiture broke boundaries...


  • Ray Turner: Population

    05/28/2015
    10:00am

    Curator Tours: May 8, 12 noon Artist Ray Turner lives in Pasadena, CA, where he received his B...


  • Carol Minarick brings her Easton studio to the Academy Art Museum in A Series That Is Not A Serie...


  • In 2013 the Museum received a donation of 45 works on paper by Frederick Hammerlsey, consisting o...


  • Black Box: Sharon Hayes

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 05:00pm

    Through her performances, films, and installations, Baltimore-born artist Sharon Hayes (American,...


  • Intersections @ 5

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 05:00pm

    The Phillips Collection celebrates the fifth anniversary of Intersections, which since 2009 has p...


  • Modern Vision

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 05:00pm

    With extraordinary vision and generosity, Phillips trustee and art collector Linda Lichtenberg Ka...


  • Starting on Thursday, April 23 at 10:00 a.m. Come join the fun. All lady golfers are welcome! F...


  • Annual Spring Group Show

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 05:30pm

    New works by all of Troika Gallery's artists. Due to the Good Friday Holiday, this show will o...


  • Mr. Paca's Backyard

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 11:15am

    We will visit the Paca pond and hunt for the creatures living there. The book In a Small Small Po...


  • The exhibition From Rubens to the Grand Tour focuses on two paintings by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-...


  • Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 06:00pm

    For over 30 years, audiences around the world have followed Indiana Jones on his quests for adven...


  • Linda Walls Photo Show

    05/28/2015
    10:00am — 05:00pm

    A beautiful show of recent photographs by Eastern Shore local artist Linda Walls. Not to be missed.


  • Punching Time

    05/28/2015
    10:00am

    Running late for work? You can blame it on the dog, blame it on your kids, blame it on the traffi...


  • Preschool Storytime

    05/28/2015
    10:30am — 11:30am

    Children ages three to five (with caring adult) build the early literacy skills needed for school...


  • Urban Landscapes & Quiet Moments

    05/28/2015
    10:30am — 05:00pm

    Louis Escobedo Monday Morning Yellow 16x20 Oil


  • Four Centuries Walking Tour

    05/28/2015
    10:30am — 12:45pm

    A colonial attired tour guide brings history to life as you visit key sites – including the Maryl...


  • “URBAN LANDSCAPES AND QUIET MOMENTS”

    05/28/2015
    10:30am — 05:00pm

    On April 3, Gallery 717 opens a new exhibit, “Urban Landscapes and Quiet Moments,” featuring pain...


  • Preschool Storytime

    05/28/2015
    10:30am — 11:00am

    An interactive program designed to foster a love of books while also introducing early literacy s...


  • 717 Gallery

    05/28/2015
    10:30am — 05:00pm

    Gallery 717 promises to be a vibrant and inviting space for artists, and art collectors to meet, ...


  • Preschool Storytime

    05/28/2015
    10:30am — 11:30am

    Children ages three to five (with caring adult) build the early literacy skills needed for school...


  • Chestertown River ARTS

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 04:00pm

    RiverArts is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community arts center with over 320 members who bring artisti...


  • Carla Massoni Gallery

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 03:00pm

    For over twenty years, Carla Massoni has played an integral part in bringing exhibitions featurin...


  • Baltimore LGBT History

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 07:00pm

    Reception: 5-7pm On View: May 2 - Jun 6 A collection of memorabilia and photographs of Baltim...


  • Evidence: Identity Through Fiber Art

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 07:00pm

    Featuring: Dr. Joan Gaither, Olivia Robinson, and John Sims FREE! Reception: May 2, 6-8pm Artis...


  • Schooner Woodwind starts sailing 4 times a day

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 01:00pm

    Help raise the sails, steer the boat or just sit back and relax aboard the 74-foot Schooner Woodw...


  • Sunday Brunch

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 02:00pm

    Every Sunday from 11-2PM Continental Buffet, Waffle bar, fresh fruits, Mimosa, Bloody Mary an...


  • The Annapolis Collection Gallery

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 05:00pm

    Located in historic downtown Annapolis, the Annapolis Collection Gallery is devoted to six Annapo...


  • The Annapolis Collection Gallery

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 05:00pm

    Located in historic downtown Annapolis, the Annapolis Collection Gallery is devoted to six Annapo...


  • Circle Gallery

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 05:00pm

    Circle Gallery celebrates and supports local and national artists by giving them professional ave...


  • 40-Minute Annapolis Harbor & USNA Cruise

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 04:00pm

    A must-do Annapolis activity! Step aboard Harbor Queen for a narrated cruise of historic Annapoli...


  • The Naiads - Beloved of the Gods

    05/28/2015
    11:00am — 05:00pm

    This solo exhibition by D. H. Banker features small alabaster sculptures.


  • RA Sushi will host its largest annual fundraiser, “Nicky’s Week,” from Monday, May 25, through Su...


  • Living Modern

    05/28/2015
    11:30am — 07:00pm

    Living Modern features the stellar collection of Sam Rose and Julie Walters, who for the past twe...


  • Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze

    05/28/2015
    11:30am — 07:00pm

    Celebrity faces are everywhere. The National Portrait Gallery works to include portraits of peopl...


  • Either Fish or Fowl

    05/28/2015
    12:00pm — 04:00am

    Either Fish or Fowl is a Maryland Federation of Art organized exhibition at the Annapolis Maritim...


  • The Mitchell Gallery is pleased to present this all-county, juried, multi-media biennial exhibiti...


  • Literature with Lunch Book Group

    05/28/2015
    12:00pm — 01:00pm

    The Literature with Lunch Book Group meets for discussion the last Thursday of each month at the ...


  • All Abstract

    05/28/2015
    12:00pm — 05:00pm

    Maryland Hall invites all 2D abstract artists to apply for the ALL ABSTRACT exhibition. Artworks ...


  • Lunch Bunch

    05/28/2015
    01:00pm

    Pack a lunch, a blanket and join us for stories on the library lawn. In case of inclement weather...


  • Heuchera: The Perfect Shade Plant

    05/28/2015
    01:00pm — 03:00pm

    Discover one of the most popular perennials for shade gardens. Mt. Cuba Center recently completed...


  • Schooner Woodwind starts sailing 4 times a day

    05/28/2015
    01:30pm — 03:30pm

    Help raise the sails, steer the boat or just sit back and relax aboard the 74-foot Schooner Woodw...


  • Four Centuries Walking Tour

    05/28/2015
    01:30pm — 03:45pm

    A colonial attired tour guide brings history to life as you visit key sites – including the Maryl...


  • Teen Talk

    05/28/2015
    02:30pm — 04:30pm

    Play games, study, or just hang out! Made possible with the help of adult volunteers.


  • Cambridge Main Street Farmers Market

    05/28/2015
    03:00pm — 06:00pm

    Farmers Market on the waterfront at Long Wharf (near High and Water Streets) in Cambridge. Local ...


  • Enjoy live music at Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa's Rock the Dock Music Series!


  • Spa Creek Tour

    05/28/2015
    03:30pm — 08:30pm

    This cozy launch will tour the residential areas of Old Annapolis to the headwaters of Spa Creek ...


  • Annual Annapolis Greek Festival

    05/28/2015
    04:00pm — 10:00pm

    This Year's Annual Annapolis Greek Festival will be held on: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunda...


  • Schooner Woodwind starts sailing 4 times a day

    05/28/2015
    04:00pm — 06:00pm

    Help raise the sails, steer the boat or just sit back and relax aboard the 74-foot Schooner Woodw...


  • Beginning Thursday, April 16th at 5:30 p.m. Twenty consecutive weeks! Cash quarterly prizes an...


  • Art in a Box for Kids

    05/28/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    Join us for an hour of free-form creativity! The library provides the art supplies and inspiratio...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/28/2015
    06:00pm — 07:00pm

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • MegaLEGOthon

    05/28/2015
    06:00pm — 12:00am

    It’s LEGO madness at the Caroline County Public Library for kids grade K-8!


  • Schooner Woodwind starts sailing 4 times a day

    05/28/2015
    06:30pm — 08:30pm

    Help raise the sails, steer the boat or just sit back and relax aboard the 74-foot Schooner Woodw...


  • Heart Health - Preventing Heart Disease & Strokes

    05/28/2015
    06:30pm — 07:30pm

    We will learn how healthier eating habits, a manageable fitness routine and simple stress managem...


  • Sageworth

    05/28/2015
    07:00pm — 10:00pm

    Featuring the original members: Walter Egan John Zambetti Annie McLoone Ralph Dammann Frank...


  • Art & The Mind: Bird Whale Bug

    05/28/2015
    07:00pm — 09:00pm

    Bird Whale Bug: Why Make Music with Nature? David Rothenberg, Musician and Professor at the New ...


  • Delmarva Shorebirds vs. West Virginia Power at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.


  • Scottish Ballet

    05/28/2015
    07:30pm

    In their Kennedy Center debut, Scottish Ballet infuses drama and dance in a bold new take on Tenn...


  • Scottish Ballet

    05/28/2015
    07:30pm

    Kennedy Center Debut Scottish Ballet Christopher Hampson, Artistic Director with the Kenned...


  • Blithe Spirit

    05/28/2015
    07:30pm

    By Noel Coward Directed by Vincent M. Lancisi Filled with the sparkling wit and the undeniabl...


  • The Blood Quilt

    05/28/2015
    08:00pm

    Welcome to the Jernigan Gals’ Quilting Corner. Gathering at their childhood island home off the c...


  • Laurence Juber

    05/28/2015
    08:00pm — 10:00pm

    "A master!" Pete Townsend Fusing folk, jazz, and pop styles, two-time Grammy-winner and finger...


  • The Fifth Dimension

    05/28/2015
    08:00pm — 11:00pm

    One of America’s most celebrated vocal groups is known for quality performances. With stage prese...


  • Hard-hitting, electric and all together mind-blowing, KINGs is pure unadulterated rock and roll a...


  • ZOMBIE: THE AMERICAN

    05/28/2015
    08:00pm

    A “Free the Beast!” Commission and World Premiere What does Robert O’Hara dream about at night...


  • Corey Holcomb: DC Improv

    05/28/2015
    08:00pm

    Every comic talks about relationships, but Corey Holcomb does it in a brutally funny way that few...


  • A Tribute to John Williams

    05/28/2015
    08:00pm — 11:00pm

    Jack Everly, conductor Behind every great film is a compelling score, and the works of noted f...


  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood

    05/28/2015
    08:30pm — 10:30pm

    Book, Music & Lyrics by Rupert Holmes Based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel The Mystery of...


  • Pressing Strings

    05/28/2015
    10:00pm — 01:00am

    No Cover | 21+ http://www.pressingstrings.com/ Opened for the Beach Boys at Pier Six Pavilion...


 

 

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