Winning an art contest thrills Columbia painter HOWARD COUNTY SENIORS

June 23, 1993

With a "why not" attitude, Marillyn Shapiro of Columbia decided to enter the state-sponsored Maryland You Are Beautiful, Senior Citizens Fine Arts Competition. What a surprise and a "thrill," she said it was, when named a winner in the the second annual contest.

Mrs. Shapiro's 3-by-4-foot entry, an acrylic painting titled "Jean Beth," was inspired by her daughter.

"I usually paint larger studies. I think they look better," said Mrs. Shapiro, 67. "I was really thrilled that I won. I was really impressed that I did win. I saw the watercolor winner of last year and asked myself, 'Why did I win?' "

The artist and 23 other seniors will be honored with a luncheon and awards ceremony Friday in Annapolis. All of the winning art will be on display for the day at McDowell Hall on the Campus of St. John's College.

The awards ceremony will feature the 24 "Best in Show" winners, Gov. William Donald Schaefer and co-hosts Leona Morris, WJZ-TV senior reporter, and Charlie Ross. The winning artists receive a custom-designed pin, a governor's Salute to Excellence and a Maryland Get-Away Weekend for two, donated by restaurants and hotels in the state.

The competition was coordinated in each county and Baltimore City by Area Agency on Aging Directors and Local Arts Directors. Every senior who entered the competition was honored at a local awards ceremony where a local judging panel selected one "Best in Show" to represent all participants from their area.

Mrs. Shapiro entered the contest after seeing a poster on the wall of the Florence Bain Senior Center, where she attends ceramics classes to keep on top of new techniques. An artist for most of her life, she teaches ceramics as a part-time faculty member at Catonsville Community College. She said she likes to work in clay and makes crafts, besides painting and ceramics.

Mrs. Shapiro retired from County Choice, a program through the Association for Retarded Citizens, but still sees some of her former clients. She collects plates, duck stamps and Western art.

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