Residents visiting the County Office Building in...

February 02, 1997|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Residents visiting the County Office Building in Westminster may have noticed the first floor has a new look.

A fresh coat of paint colors the walls, and some furnishings have disappeared. Bright watercolors that detail local architecture hang on the walls.

Welcome to the Carroll Life Gallery, the latest cooperative effort between the Carroll County Arts Council and county government. The gallery formally opens with a reception for Woodbine artist Lynn Ferris at 4 p.m. Thursday.

"That area was primarily to let people come in and hang their art, but it wasn't juried," said Hilary Hatfield, executive director of the arts council. "This established a juried system for selecting art to show there."

The gallery was created with the help of the county Office of Information and Communication, headed by Maggy MacPherson, administrator.

"We took advantage of what we had done. We painted the hallway and took out some extra furniture and things that had been sitting around, and purchased a hanging system," MacPherson said.

"It looks really nice, I'm really pleased with it," she said.

The gallery's first display features watercolors by Ferris, whose paintings show in close-up detail the lines, shapes and colors of area buildings.

"The COB gallery is really geared toward artists from the Central Maryland region," Hatfield said. "When people come in the building, they're getting a sense of the aesthetics from the local area.

"It's a first impression that people get when they walk into the County Office Building, so we wanted to put a polish on the hallway for people to see," she said.

A gallery committee juries the art for shows that will run six to eight weeks. Artists must submit a minimum of 10 slides of their work and can include a cover letter and some background about themselves.

"The decision on what to show is based on the visual information we get," Hatfield said.

Ferris, who lived in Laurel and Columbia for almost 20 years before moving to Woodbine a year ago, has been a full-time artist for five years. A graduate of Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, she previously was a commercial illustrator and interior designer.

"I mainly work in traditional watercolors: My works are very representational," Ferris said. "The majority of my work is based on architecture. What really excites me is when the sun comes across the building and makes these wonderful shadows, and you think, 'What a neat building.' "

She also does floral watercolors and horse portraits on commission. A watercolor titled "The Group," a painting of sheep, was the cover art on a recent edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The 43-year-old artist teaches adult education classes for the Carroll County Alternatives Program and the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks.

She exhibits locally and has participated in the Carroll County Arts Council's Art in the Park the past two years.

Art displayed in the Carroll Life Gallery will be available for sale through the Arts Council, Hatfield said. Artwork can be purchased or reserved by phone. When the exhibit is over, art will be brought to the 15 E. Main St. gallery for pickup.

"That will be a fund-raiser for the Arts Council, too," Hatfield said. "The artist will get a commission and the Arts Council will get a piece of the cost."

County employees are as pleased with the new gallery as the Arts Council.

"A lot of people who come in the COB don't go to the Arts Council, and the exhibits here are comparable to what's there," MacPherson said. "And it's a real perk for the employees -- it brightens our work space."

The Carroll Life Gallery, 225 N. Center St., is open during regular COB hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Information: Arts Council, 848-7272.

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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