PORT DEPOSIT-Three local non-profits, the Cecil County Arts Council, Historic Society of Cecil County, and Cecil Land Trust, have partnered to help transform Rock Run Hollow Farm in Port Deposit into a unique events space.
“This is something that we’ve endeavored to do that hasn’t been done before, that I know of, to get the three non-profits at 135 E Main Street work together on a joint project that combines art, history and land preservation, “ Historic Society President Paula Newton said. “I think this kind of a project can be a model for future non-profits.”
The Arts Council invited artists to the space for a Plein Air event on Sunday, to give artists of all kinds the opportunity to create work about the historic space. The land, preserved by the Cecil County Arts Council, is owned by Isaac Rehert, a Baltimore Sun writer whose wife Ingrid Rehert was a renowned artist.
“It should be a destination that’s art related,” Arts Council Executive Director Annmarie Hamilton said. “It will forever be land related and history related. It seems like the passion inside the remaining family members was for it to have an art focus.”
Hamilton said the opportunity to create work at the 58 acre property enticed arts throughout the region.
“Some of them were new to Port Deposit because they came from Wilmington, Baltimore, and Newark,” Hamilton said. “I have since heard that if we ever were to do anything like that, again, we would have tripled the people, the word has just spread through the arts community.”
Land Trust director Alisa Webb said that the land is privately held but is going to be protected so it cannot be developed. Webb said since the three non profits have the same office, that after she toured the project she saw an opportunity for them to work together, with Ingrid’s famous art blending with the history of the space.
“This just needed to be shared. It’s such a treasure,” Webb said.
Isaac’s brother in law Stefan Zucker helped maintain the around 200 year old house and barn. Isaac used the property as a dairy farm, before becoming a staff writer for The Baltimore Sun writing features about the farm and the area around Port Deposit. Isaac also worked as a teacher at the Tome School.
Zucker said the couple lived in Rock Hollow in the 1950’s, 60’s, and the 70’s but the farm fell into disrepair when they moved away.
“I’ve spent the last 25 years trying to either restore or, like with this barn, try to preserve its character with the original hand hewn beams and floorboards that were scavenged from ships that used to come down the river,” Zucker said.
Zucker said family members had wanted to turn the barn into a community space for some time.
“My sister was an artist, Isaac was a writer and we wanted the place to reflect their values,” Zucker said.
Zucker said the idea never got off the ground until the land entered an easement with Cecil Land Trust, which led to a collaboration with the Arts Council and Historic Society.
“This is a fulfillment of what we always wanted to do,” Zucker said.
Isaac, at nearly 100 years old, is currently creating an oral history with the historic society that Newton hopes will be completed for an event on Oct. 3. Newton said Isaac became a farmer after meeting Ingrid, a refugee from WWII whose parents settled in Port Deposit. Newton said Isaac’s knowledge of wildlife and farming was mostly self taught.
Newton is excited about the space since it helps the historic society have more events outside of Elkton and Fair Hill.
On Oct. 3 from 2-6 p.m. the farm will showcase the work created from the Plein Air event, along with an oral history presentation, music by Charlie Zahm, and food from Maryland in a Can. The paintings of Ingrid Rehert, including the last piece she ever created, will also be presented.
Tickets cost $20 per person. Readers interested in purchasing a ticket to the event can go to this link, or go on to the Cecil Land Trust website, https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTIzNTEy
“These are our county treasures,” Newton said. “They need to be showcased.”