Who we are:
Founded in 1994 and located in Easton, Maryland, the Avalon Foundation, Inc. is a 501 (c)3 charitable organization that began as a community theatre and has grown into the largest arts organization on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The Avalon enriches the lives of over 100,000 people each year through nearly 300 events, performances, educational programming and celebrations throughout the year. Both inside the historic Avalon Theatre & Stoltz Listening Room and outside throughout the community, the work of the Avalon Foundation is an integral part of life on the Eastern Shore. The Foundation employs a full time staff of nine people and relies on hundreds of people giving their time and financial support in order to accomplish its mission.
What we do:
The Arts in Easton Banner Program was formed in 2002 in an effort to celebrate and showcase the many local artists who call the area home. Each year, a group of selected artists paint or otherwise create artwork to decorate two-sided canvases which are then hung on downtown lampposts where they can be admired throughout the year. These pieces of art range from the representational to abstract and are auctioned off at an annual party that has grown to be both a celebration of the arts and a point of community pride in place. It is a great opportunity to purchase local art for both the avid collector or the first time buyer. The program includes work ranging from the area's most notable professional artists to students from local schools.
The Avalon Theatre is the cornerstone of the Avalon Foundation and the community it serves. The 400 seat theatre is home to many community groups and presents regional and national performances throughout the year. The 1920’s art-deco style is eye catching and the acoustics are world class.
The Avalon Young Audiences Program was established in 2010 to ensure that the students of Talbot County have the opportunity to build a lifelong relationship with the arts. Each year 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, & 8th grade students are bussed to the Avalon Theatre for a free show by performers who have been selected based on the current curriculum for that grade. When possible the artists also do workshops in the classrooms to get the maximum cultural and educational enrichment for the students. This program is funded entirely by contributed income from community members and organizations.
The Easton Farmer’s Market is located in a parking lot on N. Harrison Street near TalbotTown. It is open from mid-April through December on Saturday mornings from 8am- 1pm and on Wednesday afternoons from 4-7 during the summer months. All of the vendors provide locally grown, made, or sourced products and the goods for sale include a wide range of wholesome produce, plants, meats, seafood, cheese, coffee, breads and many handmade crafts. The market serves as an alternative to mass grown and produced products. It helps to ensure that small scale local farms remain sustainable and it provides a meeting place for all to engage with friends and strangers alike all in the beautiful and historic setting of downtown Easton. Live music by regional and national acts can be enjoyed from 10:30- 12:30 am and lends a festive quality to the open air market.
Easton’s Carnival and 4th of July Celebration was created in 1991 by a group of community minded patriots who wanted a way for their families to celebrate Independence Day in Easton and honor service members of the first Gulf War. In 2003, the Avalon Foundation took over management of the event. Today the celebration offers a week long opportunity to enjoy the carnival and culminates on the 4th of July with with a community-wide celebration with food, fireworks and live music. Over 10,000 people attend.
MCTV is the community’s public access television station and produces over 400 programs a year. MCTV is available to all Easton residents through Easton Cable Channel 15 and Atlantic Broadband Channel 77 elsewhere in Talbot County. In addition to producing both studio and on location programs, MCTV uses 3 robotic HD cameras to film performances on the Avalon stage and takes a direct feed from the sound board for superior quality audio. Many community organizations use MCTV to spread the word about upcoming events and their ongoing work.
The Met: Live in HD is simulcast live from Lincoln Center in New York City. The Avalon Theatre is the only performing arts center in Maryland to offer this series. Patrons come from around the state to experience world-class, up-close and stunning operas in a true theatrical setting.
The Multicultural Festival occurs on the first Saturday of May from 10-2 in Idlewild Park and was started by P.E.A.C.E., an organization which advocates for peace and understanding, to celebrate the wonderful cultural diversity of our region. As the event grew the founders asked the Avalon Foundation to take the Festival over in 2009 in hopes it would continue to grow. Today the Multicutural Festival has an estimated 4000 attendees. Local food vendors sell ethnic & regional treats, local non-profits share their good works through informational tables and handouts and live music from diverse genres fills the air. The Multicultural Festival has grown into one of the largest all-inclusive celebrations of culture on the Eastern Shore.
Plein Air Easton is the largest and most prestigious outdoor painting competition in the United States and is held annually in Easton, Maryland each July. Plein air painters produce art from life (as opposed to in the studio). Artists from all over the United States and beyond apply to this competition. Fifty-eight of the best plein air artists in the country paint throughout Talbot County, Maryland for a week in mid-July. The resulting original works of art are displayed in the Academy Art Museum where $30,000 is awarded to the competition winners and paintings are sold throughout the final weekend.
The Stoltz Listening Room was built in 2009 and is a 60 seat venue that presents both regional and national acts. In contrast to the historic theatre the Stoltz Listening Room has an intimate and contemporary club ambiance. The setting is ideal for both performers and patrons as the venue was custom-built for superior acoustics. The Stoltz Listening Room was a gift from Keith Stoltz to his parents, Susan & Jack in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.
Summer Theatre Camps offer age appropriate curriculum every summer for students K-8. The programs for beginners introduce young people to acting, singing, & dancing and work to develop self-confidence and skills that they can take beyond the acting stage, while the advanced camps further this experience by delving deeper into the theatrical arts, story writing and production.
The Outdoor Summer Concert Series provides music in the streets of downtown Easton throughout the summer on most Saturday evenings. These concerts are free and open to the public, often attracting audiences of over 1000 people. It’s not an unusual sight to see a just walking toddler dancing with an octogenarian to bands of every genre. The Avalon Foundation partners with various community businesses to present the best of the U.S. Military Bands in addition to the many talented regional acts of Maryland and surrounding states.
Why we do it:
The Avalon Foundation embraces its role as an economic and cultural catalyst for downtown Easton and Talbot County and the Eastern Shore. The work of the Avalon Foundation ensures that this community continues to be a place where people choose to live, work and play. It works to accomplish its mission of improving the quality of people's lives on the Eastern Shore by producing events for all. Looking across all of its programming the Avalon Foundation truly presents something for everyone. From local artists and musicians, to farmers and students, restaurants and small businesses, the ripple effect of the Avalon Foundation’s programming and outreach has an economic and enriching impact on many lives in our community.
How we do it:
The Avalon Foundation earns about 2/3 of its income, mostly through ticket and art sales, and relies on generous donations from patrons to exist. The Foundation is proud to have the support of many individuals and businesses through its Producers Guild and Corporate Producers Guild. Additional funding is provided by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council and the governments of the Town of Easton and Talbot County. Support the work of the Avalon Foundation.