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Thoughtful Thursday: Labor, Love, and the Artist

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.   He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.   He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”   ― Saint Francis of Assisi

Labor Day just passed us and for many, if not most, this time-honored holiday frequently marks the end of summer. Celebrations in our region of Maryland are marked with cookouts, parties and crab feasts. Bay Bridge traffic and major thorough-fares are stop and go as folks travel hither and yon. Area beaches and community pools prepare for their last hurrah while marinas and public ramps usher boats of all sizes to explore our local waterways. Some small towns still host parades with high school bands, fire departments and local politicians. The three-day weekend is capped with an early bedtime for kids as they reluctantly return to school and their fall routines.

All the hoopla and festivities may cloud the intent of this federal holiday that, at its inception, recognizes workers and their contribution to the American way of life. Observed on the first Monday in September, it was created by the labor movement and became a federal holiday in 1894 granting federal workers a paid day off from work.

We often overlook the efforts of those who contribute to our daily life. It isn’t a disregard  for the people but rather an assumption that the services we are used to will always be available. It seems that it takes a crisis for us to recognize and validate those on whom we depend. 911 prompted support for the Fire Department, and recently, Covid has drawn attention to the herculean efforts of our health care providers and classroom teachers. Potential changes to our postal service have thrown communities across America into a tizzy as we acknowledge our every-day dependence on the USPS workers.  In every area of our lives, there is a  reliance, trust and confidence in the American workforce to get the job done!

Our workers, though unheralded or acclaimed put their hands, head and heart into every job every day; they are artists! The police are artists, the trash collectors are artists, the food servers and hairdressers are artists. Although their work is not displayed on our gallery walls, we acknowledge and appreciate the many workers who contributed to the opening of our doors: the electricians,  painters, FedEx delivery drivers and our local business community! And just as many workers are artists, we must acknowledge the hard work of our artists. As stated in a previous blog, Les Poissons Gallery hosts 100+ paintings from 20 different artists with well over 1500 hours labor plus a collective 800 years of practice…now that is a lot of work! So, thank you and a belated happy Labor Day!

Sleeping Crabs by Julie Riker

To view the fruits of great labor, please visit our gallery in Chestertown or shop virtually at

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