M3: Mixed MultiMedia

September 12, 2002|by KEVIN CLAPP

Bruce Wilder admits he doesn't get into town much, so he's never attended one of the Mixed MultiMedia evenings gaining steam at Washington Arts Council Gallery.

But the Keedysville photographer, an active arts council member, had heard enough positive rumblings to lobby for a slot in the periodic series of art shows/poetry-fiction readings/musical performances.

Besides, the veteran contributor to Antietam Review enjoys the prospect of sharing work that might otherwise go unseen.

"It gives those people an opportunity to express their work that they normally wouldn't have" Wilder says. "Anybody in any kind of art wants to display and put on their art."


All summer long, Hagerstown has welcomed performers from across the country and the artistic map. The Western Maryland Blues Fest, 60's Under the Stars and Elvis Lives have created hot times in the old town by luring national acts to Hub City.

Yet by turning the spotlight inward with the ongoing M3 series (pronounced M Cubed), the Washington County Arts Council is doing its part to accentuate the artistic power present locally.

"We get surprises and that's part of the enjoyable part of it. I schedule it but leave it flexible so people can come in and say 'I've got something to say,'" says gallery director Eli Pollard. "I think it's successful in the sense that it's building on that community-oriented coming together and sharing."

Joining Wilder Friday will be the members of Shepherdstown Drum Ensemble, plus writers willing to share their work.

Pollard's goal has been simple: To provide a casual forum for artists, writers and performers eager to represent. Often, as is the case with Wilder and the drum ensemble, M3 gives the gallery a director the chance to exhibit artists who excite him.

Making their M3 debut, the drum ensemble is a group of seven musicians who formed last spring and mix traditional and electronic sounds to create a unique percussive tapestry.

Hagerstown percussionist Steve Wright, a member of the ensemble who has performed at previous M3s with another group, says the exposure provided is great. But there is more to performing at the event than luring new fans.

"It's nice to have a place to play but the real thing about it is for the community to see really good poetry, really good stories in an art gallery," Wright says. "It adds a lot, for something to do on a Friday night in Hagerstown once a month, we're just happy to be involved and support it."

Owner of Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, Wilder's photography bounces between figures and lyrical landscapes, such as those taken earlier this summer on a regular trip to Ireland.

"Bruce's work, it's ... a lot of it is oftentimes compositional, it's his viewpoint he brings to a subject," Pollard says. "His work is also beyond that. He's capturing something beyond the object itself. It's not just a photograph of a figure or tree. He's capturing a certain essence of the thing or person."

Earlier this week, Wilder still had much work to do in preparation for his M3 showcase. The images were selected; framing and final touches were a frenzied work in progress.

A photographer apt to give a thumbs up to only one or two images in a roll of 36, he enjoys playing with light, casting sometimes haunting landscapes pictured from a unique perspective.

"If you're not familiar with how the concept becomes art there's a lot that goes into it," Wilder says. "If I just diffuse this it will really make it pop. There are all these things that go through your head, but I'm happy with it when I see a very satisfactory image."

However stressful, readying his images for this one night stand has been worthwhile, if for no other reason that he gets to show some images - nudes, for instance - that might otherwise have no forum.

And by tossing together diverse artists crossing several media, visitors can look forward to an experience touching multiple senses that may even offer a few surprises.

The entire M3 experience, Pollard says, has been extremely gratifying.

"I've really enjoyed just seeing what people in the area have to share, and that's what it comes down to and what it's all about," Pollard says. "Sharing your experiences with other people."

Mixed MultiMedia, featuring photographer Bruce Wilder, music by The Shepherdstown Drum Ensemble and readings of prose and poetry, sponsored by Washington County Arts Council

8 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 13

Washington County Arts Council Gallery

41 S. Potomac St.



For more information, call 301-791-3132.

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