Within a 2 hour drive from Washington DC and Baltimore, charming historic Chestertown is reminiscent of small town simplicity many city-dwellers crave even if just for a short day or weekend trip. But nestled among these quaint streets is a vibrant, enthusiastic arts scene anchored by the thriving Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) who, with an astounding amount of grants stacked up, is gently rehabbing a piece of town architecture that it will soon call its home.
For four decades, the KCAC has engaged and inspired residents and visitors alike with creative community programs in theater, music, poetry, and art. Focused on the doctrine that art transcends all, KCAC’s programs have served children, seniors, people with disabilities, underserved populations, and residents of all colors, genders, orientations, age, and religion.
The KCAC purchased a prominent historic building, which dates back to 1790, in the gateway to Chestertown’s Arts & Entertainment District in 2017. Through grants, partnerships and capital campaigns, KCAC is working steadily towards its $1 million goal and has begun to renovate this home that will only its headquarters but also a the cultural hub for this area’s residents and visitors.
The building, named the Vincent & Leslie Prince Raimond Arts Building in honor of the KCAC’s founders and long time directors, will feature a mix of public and private spaces with exhibit and performance areas for local and visiting artists on the first floor and private living quarters on the second floor for the Artist Residency Program.
“We can’t wait for it to be renovated and to increase its use as a service to the residents of Kent County,” said John Schratwieser, Director of the KCAC.
Already, the Raimond Arts Building has hosted two major KCAC exhibitions, and has been used free of charge by Chestertown RiverArts, National Music Festival, Poetry Out Loud, Kent County Public Schools, Maryland State Arts Council, the County Arts Agencies of Maryland, Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance, Music in the Park, and more. The renovations are expected to be completed in this fiscal year.