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The Arts Voyager, 4-19: Happy Journey
Artifacts and artisans in Maryland; poet-artists in New Jersey; poets and artists in Pennsylvania

Carole Huber's "Maquis in Province," with text by V. Beards, is on display through April 30 as part of "Poets and Artists" at the gallery of the Oxford Arts Alliance in Oxford, Pennsylvania, which on April 19 hosts an evening of poetry readings. Image courtesy Oxford Arts Alliance.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011 Paul Ben-Itzak

PERRYVILLE, MD -- When the Metropolitan Museum is presenting a bunch of black sheets as art -- the culprit here is Richard Serra, who used 'paintsticks' if you want to get technical about it -- it's time for the art voyager to get out of town.The only downside of the 2.5 hour Amtrak trip from Penn Station to Aberdeen, Maryland is you have to pass through New Jersey. (I did my time, which gives me bashing rights.) So if one of your train treats is pouring a cup of hot thermos coffee to drink as the Sun rises over the landscape (and trust me, on Amtrak, you'll have to bring your own, as the local variety is more like coffee-flavored hot water), you'll have to wait 'til Princeton Junction, about an hour into the trip, for anything resembling scenery (it's not for nothing that the Martians of Orson Welles and Howard Koch's "War of the Worlds" picked nearby West Windsor to land; the farmlands provide good camouflage)(actually, Koch told me that Welles just threw a dart at a wall map), and even then you only have a half-hour window before you hit Trenton. (My return journey was at night, prompting me to realize that New Jersey may be the only route that looks better in the dark. Fittingly, Simon & Garfunkel were singing "My Little Town" on my Discman when we rolled into Trenton; "Nothing but the dead alive back in my little town.") When I went to school at Princeton (a few years after Thornton Wilder, who inspired the headline above), we had fun telling visitors that from Princeton Junction, they had to "take the Dinky to the Wawa," the Dinky being the tiny shuttle train that takes travelers from the Junction to the town/campus, where it stops near the Wawa grocery. When the university announced plans last year to tear down the Wawa and replace the Dinky with buses to make way for an expanded arts center where the train depot was, a Save the Dinky campaign drew more than 7,000 followers (nj.com reported), and the university had to back down. (Art Voyagers interested in Kurt Schwitters might want to descend Amtrak, or NJ Transit, at Princeton Junction and... take the Dinky to the Dada... to check "Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage," the major exhibition of the Dada-ish artist running at the Princeton Art Museum through June 26.)

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