VIP party



July 27, 2008|By SLOANE BROWN

You're probably safe in assuming that there's only one time each year where the favorite destination of dozens of people is a Baltimore parking garage. That time was the VIP Artscape kickoff party held at the Meyerhoff Parking Garage. Guests gathered on the top of the garage for drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and all sorts of hobnobbing. All, with a bird's-eye view of the arts festival swirling around the building below.

It was the first time A&R Cos. executive vice president Marjorie Rodgers Cheshire had come to the party.

"It's incredible," she said as she looked down at the festival. "You can see the entire event."

"This is one party I look forward to every year. ... It's a lot of fun. The food is always good. The people are wonderful," said Kenneth Hemsley, BACVA national sales manager.

"This is uniquely Baltimore," noted Frank McNeil, a community banking consultant at PNC Bank.

"It couldn't be any better. And I love the art community all here together on one night," said Kathy Sher, deputy director of the National Aquarium of Baltimore, who had come with hubby Joel Sher, a partner at Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler.

For Bert Hash, the party meant the best was yet to come.

"This is just the beginning of the largest art festival on the East Coast," said the president/CEO of the Municipal Employees Credit Union. "I look forward to this every year."


See a calendar of coming events and video reports at A drink with Jennifer Mead-Brause

Vodka dirty martini on the rocks with olives at Mt. Washington Tavern

Jennifer Mead-Brause, 34, has been the executive director of Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter since its inception two years ago, as a nonprofit arm of the Baltimore City Animal Control shelter. A Carroll County native, Mead-Brause worked previously as a senior marine mammal trainer at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She lives in Timonium with husband, Ed Brause, and their two dogs and two cats.

What's the difference working with dolphins and working with dogs?

One's wet. One's dry. One's very slick. And one's furry. But, overall, the animals' behavior can be similar.

Isn't your job often heartbreaking?

It's hard for me. This is the kind of job that tugs at your heartstrings. ... When I worked at the aquarium, those animals are well-cared for. There's tons of people who want to do that job. ... But, in my heart, I knew I wanted to do something more.

What would surprise people to learn about you?

I was lost at sea once. We were on a scuba trip for work at the aquarium. ... We were out at sea, collecting fish. ... [Another worker and I] went the wrong way back to the boat and ... when we came up to the surface, there was nothing in sight. Complete open ocean. No land, no boat, no nothing. ... The people in the boat went back into the water to look for us. ... That was the scariest moment of my life.

What did you do when you realized you were alone out there in the ocean? Did you panic?

I found something in me I never knew existed. My buddy was in shock. He couldn't talk and laid his head back on his [inflatable] vest. I grabbed onto him so that we would stay together. The thought of sharks came into my head and then I just had to stop thinking about that. You can't allow yourself to think that way. I swam as much as I could [against the current] to keep ourselves in place until the boat came. ... I don't know how long we were out there. I lost track of time. ... When they came and pulled us out of the water, I went right into the [boat's] shower and cried and shook. And then I lay in the bed. It's like I did OK in the moment. Then, after it's over, there was a huge release of all the fear and anxiety.

I so could not do your job.

You know, everybody says that to me. "How could you do this?" They say, "I couldn't see what you see and stay there." I look at myself and I wonder how the heck do I do it. Literally, everyday I look at the eyes of all those we have saved and that's my answer. That's why I do it.

Read more of the conversation with Jennifer Mead-Brause at

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