Resident artist leads school steppingstone project

Neighbors

January 28, 1998|By Kathy Curtis | Kathy Curtis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOURTH-GRADE students at Swansfield Elementary School, with the help of resident artist Maria Barbosa, have created concrete steppingstones to mark the school's 25th anniversary.

A multimedia artist with a studio in Frederick, Barbosa has just completed a monthlong residency at the school, funded by the Maryland Arts Council and the cultural arts program of the school's PTA.

The steppingstones will be permanently installed outside the school's entrance this spring.

Twenty-five stones, each 2 feet by 2 feet, will be arranged in a spiral around a small ornamental tree. "We are making a pathway, one step at a time," Barbosa said. "That's how we go through school."

The spiral design comes from a children's game played in Barbosa's native Brazil.

Children will be able to hop from one stone to the next, starting at the outside of the spiral and moving toward the center, where they can rest in the shade of the tree.

Barbosa said she hopes the stones will bring younger neighborhood children to the school grounds and serve as an introduction to the school for the community.

"I will be excited when I see kids out there jumping all over it," she said.

Each class will be represented by a stone. Students contributed trinkets -- pebbles, pieces of colored glass, marbles, small toys and even an arrowhead -- to be incorporated into the stones.

"There are all kinds of nice materials in everyday life that can be used," said Barbosa. "Art can be done with anything."

The fourth-graders designed each stone and arranged the trinkets to create a mosaic effect.

Barbosa and parent volunteers, coordinated by PTA member Anne Rogers, poured concrete into molds to form the stones.

Art is Barbosa's second career. She was a cell biologist for 20 years, nine of them at the National Institutes of Health.

At 40, she decided it was "time to take care of the other side of the brain."

She began with garden design, and has been a full-time artist for eight years.

Barbosa works in a variety of media, including fiber, handmade paper, wood and metal, and often uses found objects.

"My work tells stories," she said.

She has exhibited extensively in Maryland and Washington. Locally, she has participated in shows at the Columbia Art

Center and the Howard County Center for the Arts.

Through grants from the Howard County Arts Council, Barbosa has worked with students at several county schools.

Wintertime race

Hundreds of runners will dash through the Longfellow neighborhood Sunday in the 5K Penguin Pace Race sponsored by the Howard County Office on Aging.

Open to runners of all ages, the race will begin at 8 a.m. at Florence Bain Senior Center.

After the race, runners will return to the senior center for a brunch catered by Elkridge Furnace Inn.

Entertainment will be provided by Banjo Buddies, an informal group of senior citizens who practice regularly at the center.

The entry fee for the race is $25, which includes the brunch, a long-sleeved T-shirt, door prizes and awards.

This is the second year the Office on Aging has sponsored the race to raise money for its programs.

Organizer Arleen Dinneen said the race is held in winter because runners run regardless of the weather, and "there's nothing to go to in winter."

Information: 410-313-7213.

Poet explores borders

Clary's Forest resident Karen Arnold will read from her first published book of poems, "Border Crossings," at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Howard County Central Library.

To register for the free session: 410-313-7850.

Published late last year by Perry Publishing, the book explores different kinds of borders. Included are poems about memories, geographic borders and the connection between spirit and body.

Arnold also writes about her family, her travels and her favorite coastal area in Maine.

Arnold, who has a doctorate in English, returned recently from Sweden, where she spent the fall semester teaching a course in modern American poetry at the University of Lund.

'Nautical Portraits'

A lifetime of experience with sailing is reflected in the photographs of Longfellow resident Ben Dawson, whose work will be featured next month at the Artists' Gallery.

Titled "Nautical Portraits," the exhibit will be on display from Monday to Feb. 27.

A free reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 6.

Dawson has photographed maritime objects such as lighthouses and boats in settings as varied as Nova Scotia, San Diego, New Orleans and the Bahamas.

His most recent shoots have been in Scotland and Greece.

He specializes in photographing unique boats such as Chesapeake Bay skipjacks and log canoes. His current show also includes portraits of people he has encountered in his travels.

Dawson grew up in Norfolk, Va., where his father was a harbor pilot. He served an apprenticeship in the Virginia Pilots Association before going to college.

Professionally, he changed direction, going on to medical school and becoming a doctor. Before his retirement in October 1996, Dawson worked full-time as a transfusion hematologist in hospitals throughout Maryland.

He is working on several research papers on plasma exchange, which he likened to an oil change for people.

He has continued sailing.

After moving to Columbia in 1971, Dawson began racing Olympic-class boats: the Finn, the Flying Dutchman and the Starboat.

He was a member of the U.S. sailing team in 1984. Now retired from small-boat racing, Dawson coaches Olympic sailors and photographs regattas.

His work was recently exhibited at the Columbia Art Center, and is on permanent display at the Virginia Watermen's Museum and Gift Shop in Yorktown.

Also featured at the Artists' Gallery in February will be an exhibit by Denee Barr, titled "Multilayered: Handmade Paper and Photographs."

The gallery is open noon to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9: 30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. Saturday.

Information: 410-740-8249.

Pub Date: 1/28/98

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