Music, Art and Beautiful Things, an exhibition
installed throughout the historic rooms of
Evergreen House, opens on Friday, April 8, with a
reception from 6 to 8 p.m. and will remain on view through
Thursday, June 30.
The exhibition includes sculpture, photographs,
paintings, writing and selected objects inspired by the
history, collections and architecture of Evergreen House
and created by students and young people from Baltimore
Freedom Academy, Kids on the Hill, Park School, Roland Park
Country School, Stadium School, Youthlight and the Writing
Seminars at Johns Hopkins. Accompanying this work are new
paintings by project director and artist Peter Bruun.
Additional programs related to Music, Art and Beautiful
Things include a gallery talk and tour with Bruun and
Evergreen House curator Jackie O'Regan at 2 p.m. on
Saturday, April 16, and 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, and
an "Evening of Music and Readings" in Evergreen's Bakst
Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.
Bruun, an artist and art educator who works with
diverse audiences throughout Baltimore's schools and
neighborhoods, began planning this project four years ago
after his first visit to Evergreen. Home to the Garrett
family from 1878 to 1942, the 48-room mansion on 26
landscaped acres functions today as a house museum,
contemporary art center and performance space, and is
filled with the Garretts' extensive collections, among them
Asian and post-Impressionist art, rare books and Tiffany
"After seeing Evergreen, I was fascinated with how the
Garretts' history still resonates with the present and the
people who visit their home," Bruun said.
The Garrett family stipulated, when they bequeathed
their home and its collections to Johns Hopkins in 1942,
that Evergreen should remain open "to lovers of music, art
and beautiful things."
"Today, everyone is a lover of music, art and
beautiful things," Bruun said, "and my intention in
organizing this exhibit was to introduce Evergreen to
audiences the Garretts may not have had in mind when they
wrote their will."
One of Bruun's 72 paintings that
celebrate the 72 student participants.
PHOTO BY HIPS / WILL KIRK
The students Bruun invited to participate represent a
cross section of Baltimore's youth, as they come from
neighborhoods throughout the city and from divergent
socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. In conceiving the
project, he said, "I wanted to help students and teachers
explore the meaning of their own experiences of Evergreen
and have them identify ways they could creatively respond
to the Garretts' legacy." In all cases, the students' work
supports topics and themes they are exploring in their
classrooms. "In addition to stimulating students'
imaginations, the project is also designed to further
teachers' goals," Bruun said. "My hope is that even after
the exhibition is finished, the educators involved will
think of Evergreen as a resource they can continue to
Working with teachers and instructors from the
participating schools and after-school programs, Bruun
arranged for the students to visit Evergreen.
"I was surprised by some of their reactions," he said.
"While some kids wanted to know about the art collections
and the family, others were fascinated by the fact that
people actually lived there. They wanted to know about the
art and furniture, but they also wanted to know if the
plumbing and fireplaces work."
Drawing upon their interests and skills, the students'
work reflects their own feelings about Evergreen and the
Garrett family. "The art and writing in Music, Art and
Beautiful Things defies categorization," Bruun said. "It is
not just one kind of creative interaction but a range of
responses. Evergreen, after all, is not just one thing."
Among the works on display is a group of paintings by
eighth-grade students at the Stadium School depicting
imaginary views from within the home's interior. These
paintings combine aspects of the students' own homes and
interests with factual recordings of Evergreen's rooms. The
changes and additions the students imagine for the house
are intended to make Evergreen feel more like their own
More than 20 excerpts of writing by 10th-graders from
Park School and students from the Writing Seminars at Johns
Hopkins further explore and fictionalize visitors'
experiences of the house and illuminate aspects of
Evergreen, ranging from the architecture and collections to
the students' opinions of the Garrett family.
Participants from Kids on the Hill, an after-school
art program in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood, used
digital photography and text to investigate the absence of
black history recorded in Evergreen's collections. The
students were asked to complete the phrase, "If black
history were documented ... ." Their statements,
accompanied by photographs they took of their peers and
themselves in a variety of poses, are displayed in
Evergreen's upstairs hallway amid photographs of the
Also interspersed in the Garretts' personal photograph
collections is a selection of images of young people at
home, engaged in everyday activities, taken by students in
Youthlight, an after-school photography and media literacy
program. Their contemporary photographs are juxtaposed with
those of similar scenes from the Garretts' lives and are
accompanied by students' descriptions of the images.
To complement the Garretts' collection of miniature
Japanese masks, high school students from the Baltimore
Freedom Academy created their own papier-mache masks to
depict how they would feel about being invited to spend an
evening with the Garretts. The resulting expressions
ranged from shyness and joy to envy and fury.
A total of 72 students contributed to the exhibition,
and to "invoke and celebrate these individuals," Bruun has
created 72 new paintings. In the North Wing Gallery, he
will display 72 unique but related paintings that he calls
"drops of beauty," accompanied by the names of the
exhibition participants. Each painting is comprised of two
colors, from a total palette of nine, and includes a
background and a simple circular shape. "The paintings and
names," Bruun said, "form a constellation of beauty,
referring visitors to the participants and suggesting that
they, too, as visitors are adding to this beauty by
bringing their own experiences to their visit."
Evergreen House, located at 4545 N. Charles St., is
open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4
p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $6, adults; $3,
students and children over 6; $5, seniors. The opening
night reception is free. For more information, call