Crankie Performance & Reception

March 3, 2023, 2 pm, Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School, Community Room

Maryland Folklife @ UMBC hosted a dynamic presentation with music and theatrical interaction featuring collaborative crankies created by first grade students from Tench Tilghman Elementary School and UMBC’s Linehan Artist Scholar students. 

Linehan Artist Scholars present the crankie developed during the course of the workshop.

The term “crankie” is actually an innovation of panoramic painting that originated in the 19th century called moving panoramas. Crankies are moving panoramas on a smaller scale, and like the larger moving panoramas, a crankie is often displayed with music or narration. This work was led by UMBC’s Maryland Traditions Artist in Residence Marian McLaughlin through a series of workshops with both groups. McLaughlin introduced the crankie art form to the students through a presentation that highlighted the work of three Black painters – Alma Thomas, Stanley Whitney, and Baltimore’s own Tom Miller. Each workshop explored elements of art such as color, line, shape by focusing one of the painters and their techniques.


Crankie performance.

Students were then encouraged to design a crankie panel inspired by the painters’ processes. Exploring the terrain of abstract art, the crankies build off of each other and provide space for playful yet thoughtful art-making conversations between two young generations of artists. Other collaborators on this project include Stephen Bradley, Professor of Art and Director of the Linehan Artists Scholars Program at UMBC, and Breea Williams, Tench Tilghman art teacher. During the March 3 event, both groups will met for the first time and displayed and celebrated their collaborative work.