Art Ross and the Kinetic Sculpture Race

Art Ross, Fabrication Technician, contributes this story.

On the first Saturday of May for the past 19 years, a bit of insanity has descended on the city of Baltimore in the form of the Kinetic Sculpture Race.

Kinetic Sculptures are amphibious, human powered works of art custom built for the race. Each May, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) hosts the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship on the shore of Baltimore’s Harbor in central Maryland.  The eight-hour race covers 14 miles—mostly on pavement, but also including a trip into the Chesapeake Bay and through mud and sand.

For the last six years I have had the fun of working as a volunteer at this event. I have concentrated my efforts into the group known as the “flock of chickens”. The task of this group is to engage the crowd that is viewing the race and collect votes for the most popular sculpture. Each year the race has a theme that isn’t announced until several weeks before the event. One year the first Saturday of May happened to be on the 5th so that year the theme was Cinco de Mayo.  Last year it was Myths and Monsters and this year the theme was Food - coinciding with an exhibit at the Museum. Each year it is a bit of a race to revise or rebuild my chicken costume to match the theme.  Here I am, in costume as a Cinco de Mayo chicken, FrankenChicken, and a Chicken Sandwich.

I have added my own touch to the assigned task. In addition to collecting votes, I hand out Dum Dum brand suckers. I give them out to the kids of course, but I make an effort to give them to adults as well. The delight on the face of a “grandmother” who is always giving but never expecting to be offered a treat is especially fun. Last year I gave out about 600 of these treats. 

It’s amazing how many social “norms” you can break when you are dressed in a silly costume, not the least of which is taking candy from a stranger. 

To see the sculptures or for more information see:

Kristin Boswell and Her Cause for Paws

Kristin with her Beagles, Peyton and Minnie.

Growing up I was fortunate to be the proud owner of all sorts of pets - dogs, cats, gerbils, guinea pigs, fish, every box turtle I could find to bring home, even a rabbit at one time.  So, it’s really no surprise how much of a bleeding heart I have when it comes to four legged (sometimes even three legged) creatures.  Every animal, no matter how big or small, deserves a great home.  For all these reasons, at the end of a fulfilling week of enriching the lives of Dankmeyer patients, it’s off to help those who are unable to help themselves.  To find homes for those who have no means to find their own home.  To love those who might not feel loved. 

Kristin with a family member's rescue dogs.

Many of my weekend days throughout the year are spent at fundraising walks and events to support homeless animals and shelter adoption.  Being able to promote awareness and simply advocating for animals provides me with the opportunity to enrich even more lives throughout many different communities.  These annual fundraising events are about saving lives, both human and furry.

Most recently, my husband and I, along with Dankmeyer’s resident 3D dog Digit, participated in the MuttNation March in Nashville, TN to support the MuttNation Foundation and their efforts to raise awareness for the countless shelter pets who are desperate to find their forever home.  Over 1,000 people participated in the inaugural MuttNation March, raising well over $15,000 for homeless animals.  Sixty shelter dogs were also adopted out over the course of four days!  This even made Digit’s tail wag!

There really are no words to describe the feeling you get when participating in events to promote awareness of homeless and abused animals and helping them find their forever home.  Each event has not only allowed me to give back to the community, but has enriched my life as well.    

(You can read about Digit's trip with Kristin and Richard by clicking here.)   

Coach Courtney and Lacrosse

Our first contributor is Courtney Booth, Patient Services Coordinator.  Five days a week you can find Courtney hidden behind the high cubicle walls of Dankmeyer’s Linthicum office, working diligently to provide the best customer care possible.  When she is not busy attending to patients on the phone, working with insurance companies, or sorting through prosthetic and orthotic coding during the day, you can find her running around with 3rd and 4th graders on the lacrosse field.  Now that her daughter is old enough, Courtney can share her longtime passion with 9-year old Grace. 

Courtney started playing lacrosse at the age of eight in Annapolis and was immediately hooked on the sport.  Holding a lacrosse stick came naturally to her and she continued to play for many years.  Now, as an adult, she has gotten back into the game - not running up and down the field chasing the ball, but from the sidelines as a coach!  Here is a little bit about Coach Courtney and her lacrosse team Storm. 

‘I started coaching my daughter’s Sticklettes team last year.  This is the first level of lacrosse for 5-7 year old girls.  Coaching was something I had always considered but never really took the leap.  When the lacrosse organization came up short and needed coaches, I was asked to volunteer.  Of course, I couldn’t turn down the smiles and pleas from my 8-year daughter and decided to try my hand as Coach Courtney.    Now in my second year of coaching, moving up to the Peewee level as my daughter continues to progress, I have found a new way to love lacrosse all over again.  We practice two days a week and play games against other teams all across Anne Arundel County.  Coaching has been an excellent way to relieve stress, clear the mind, and have some fun.  It has also been a perfect way to work in exercise - trying to keep up with a bunch of 8- and 9-year old spunky, energetic girls. 

Not only has coaching made a positive impact in my life physically and mentally, it has been a great way to give back to the community and meet some new friends.  As our wonderful season comes to an end, it has been extremely rewarding to see the girls improve over the last ten weeks using the skills and fundamentals I have been teaching them.  I look forward to continuing on as Coach Courtney for many years to come.  GO STORM!!’