Barbara Bustard is a local artist who attended Dundalk Elementary School, Dundalk Middle School, Dundalk High School. She received an AA degree from CCBC Dundalk and is a graduate of Notre Dame University of Maryland with a BA Degree in Religious Studies and Art.

“I may not have identified myself as an artist, but I have been an artist as long as I can remember.  As a child, I wrote poems all the time,” Barbara said.  “Art was always in me.”

Barbara’s love of art and artistic interest cover a wide array of artistic endeavors. She’s created art in many forms, including acrylic, fused glass, watercolor, making clothes and writing poetry.  Her favorite medium is clay.   

“When I work with clay, it’s as if the art comes through my hands. It’s rather a spiritual experience at time,” Barbara said. “I love the whole process of clay, whether it is hand building, sculpture, or throwing on the wheel.”

Barbara’s exhibit, View Through My Lens, at the Gallery @ the Forge focuses on everyday encounters and observations primarily with wildlife.  

“My photography is inspired by the beautiful colors and diversity of creation.  I am in awe every day by the beautiful colors all around us and by the creatures that share the world with us,” she said. “It can be a person, animal, landscape, or just something unusual. If it catches my eye and makes me smile, or feel joy, beauty or peaceful, I must take the shot.”

The exhibit is meant to convey a shared sense of awe of the awesomeness of the world around us while still appreciating the humor of the natural world. Barbara hopes the photos speak to viewers and ultimately inspires them to make art in their own way.

In addition to the photography exhibit, Barbara will hold a poetry reading at the Forge (11 Center Place) on August 11 at 7pm. She was inspired to write her first book, The Art of Meditation, 25 Step by Step Meditative Art Exercises for Improved Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Well-being, to encourage everyone to be creative and realize that creating art is not just for “artists.” Barbara believes every one of us is creative and we just need the space and clarity to allow ourselves to be creative.

“Numerous studies have proven that creating art reduces stress, relaxes your brain, helps with pain relief, improves focus and attention, improves depression, and more,” Barbara said. “The meditation part of the book helps your brain relax and helps you to connect with your higher, authentic self, allowing you to receive the wisdom that you already possess and helps you gain clarity.”

Haiku in Black and White, 100 Haiku Poems and Black and White Photography for Daily Inspiration combines Barbara’s love of poetry and photography.

“My hope is that those 17 syllables with an accompanying photograph on each page will offer a bit of inspiration, humor, hope or just a smile to the reader,” she said.

Dundalk Renaissance hopes to make the Historic Dundalk Town Center the place to go for art and arts programming in south east Baltimore. “View Through My Lens” will be the first gallery exhibit by a single artist in the Forge.

“When I was thinking of the gallery in The Forge I wanted to host local artist. Barbara has been a fixture of the art scene in Dundalk for years,” Nick Staigerwald, Business Development Manager, said.  “Not only was she the owner of Dundalk Arts School, but she has partnered with the Dundalk Renaissance on several of our Arts Programs. It seemed a perfect fit to partner with her for this new project.”

The Gallery @ the Forge hopes to host other artists and has plans for a second photography exhibit this fall.

“Art and Artist are such an important part of place making,” Nick said.  “We know that Dundalk is home to may talented and amazing artists. However, these artists do not have a place to showcase and celebrate their work in their own ‘backyard.’ We hope to make the HDTC a home for those artists and artists from all over to show their work.”