CHESTERTOWN — With the beginning of a new decade, the Kent County Arts Council has announced its own new beginning.
As of Jan. 1, the organization is known as the Kent Cultural Alliance.
The new name reflects a simple vision of celebrating creativity, connecting communities and sharing conversation, Director John Schratwieser said in a news release.
The new name and logo were designed by Kent County native Kate Livie of Alosa Communications.
Founded in 1975 by Vincent Raimond, and then led from 1989 to 2017 by Leslie Prince Raimond, the organization is the official designee of the Maryland State Arts Council for regranting state arts funding and for supporting the artistic and cultural health of Kent County, according to the news release.
In January 2018, Schratwieser succeeded the retiring Leslie Raimond as director.
Soon after, it was announced that the organization had purchased the historic Mansfield/Eliason house located at 101 Spring Ave. in Chestertown and would begin a campaign to raise funds to fully renovate the space as a center for arts and culture.
To date, what is now known as the Kent Cultural Alliance has raised more than $850,000 toward its $1.2 million goal, according to the news release.
The final public phase of the campaign will allow multiple opportunities for support at all levels of giving.
The center will be called the Vincent & Leslie Prince Raimond Center for Arts & Culture, honoring the couple’s half-century commitment to increasing the quality of life in Kent County.
The building renovation is being led by Bob Ingersoll, in partnership with Barton Ross Architects and Jay Silcox Engineering.
Major funding has been received from Maryland Heritage Area Stories of the Chesapeake, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Shared Earth Foundation, with additional support from many generous community members.
The first phase of renovation, a new foundation, has been completed by Paul Roberts Construction of Worton.
According to the news release, bids are going out for a contractor to execute the final phase, the internal and external build, as represented in artistic renderings done by Barton Ross and Jay Silcox.
The new logo, a collaborative effort between Livie and several members of the KCA’s board of directors, incorporates a popular and historic quilt pattern known as “Flying Geese.”
“What better symbol to represent an organization whose mission it is to bring people together, through art, culture, and collective history, than a quilt,” said Schratwieser in the news release. “Quilts are instantly recognizable, they reflect cross-generational and cross-cultural qualities, and they literally and figuratively wrap us together as one people.”
He said, “Selecting the ‘Flying Geese’ pattern was a natural choice for anyone who knows and loves this county we call home.”
In the coming weeks and months a new website will launch, new grant opportunities will be developed and new partnerships will be announced.
You can follow the Kent Cultural Alliance on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for e-newsletters at www.kentculture.org.