Shops showcase city-inspired art from a child's view

Neighbors

June 01, 1999|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLORFUL CREATIONS fill shop windows of Westminster this week, and members of the Westminster Business Association (WBA) hope you'll take time to check them out.

Pupils from local elementary and middle schools shared their perceptions of life in a city by creating colorful paintings, drawings and collages -- which went up in shop windows last week.

Many shops are also displaying the works of local artists to promote the Arts Council's annual Art in the Park, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Art in the Park is an outdoor arts festival featuring the display and sale of works by regional artists and crafts people. There are musical and dance performances, refreshments and activities for kids.

"We wanted to promote Art in the Park and pull people downtown," said Patricia Keener, a WBA member who helped organize what has been dubbed Art in the City.

"Art in the City will expose people to children's art and give the children confidence in themselves," said Keener. "All of the children's work is so happy, and it's interesting to see their perception of the city. Tall buildings are really tall and small buildings are really tiny."

There are self-portraits, traditional cityscapes, lots of bright colors, and even an abstract collage titled "Hustle and Bustle," by Laurel Gorsuch, a fourth-grader from Robert Moton Elementary.

At noon, during Art in the Park, WBA members will award ribbons to all pupils who participated in Art in the City. Art in the Park is free, and the festivities will take place at Westminster City Hall Park at Willis Street and Longwell Avenue.

The day of culture ends with "Starry Night," the third annual outdoor concert from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Carroll Community College. Proceeds from the $10 tickets will benefit the college's Rotary Amphitheater.

"Business owners are looking forward to dressing up Main Street this week. There will be banners, lots of artwork, and I hope this is a tradition that will always be part of Art in the Park," said Jo Fleck, a WBA member and owner of Inspirations, a downtown store.

Information: 410-876-1130.

Butterflies and memories

When people walk by the new butterfly gardens at Robert Moton Elementary School, they usually think of one or two features that make the gardens special.

It might be the rock placed in the gardens for butterflies to rest on, or the saucer filled with water for the butterflies to drink.

There is the birdhouse from Betty Ann List's pupils, and all the earthworms brought by kindergartners to churn the soil. There is the memory bush donated by Phyllis Linz's pupils, who wrote happy thoughts on little pieces of paper and buried them in the soil under a butterfly bush.

Everyone hopes butterflies will come, sense the happy memories and spread them everywhere they go.

What touches many people the most is knowing that it was a gift from the special-needs pupils to the school -- their way of showing everyone that special-needs pupils can make a difference in the world, too.

"The love that they put into this garden shows they can really do something and feel a great sense of pride," said Jane Harmon, whose son, Guy Harmon, helped with the project. "The students have been out there digging, planting, watering from their wheelchairs, even sunbathing. Now they want to help parents plan and plant gardens at home. This has been wonderful."

The project was nurtured by a host of teachers, parents and staff members over the last month or two -- especially Joanie Larson. Larson had taken a gardening course at Bear Branch Nature Center through the Outdoor Education Program of Carroll County and decided that a butterfly garden was just what Robert Moton needed.

There have been planning sessions, grant applications (which brought in $500 from the county), garden maps and tours of Spring Garden Farms for inspiration. Pupils learned that milkweed will attract monarchs, dill is a must and swallowtail butterflies will lay their eggs under parsley.

"Our butterfly gardens are a wonderful learning tool for students, teachers and parents," Larson said during a dedication ceremony last week. "Today we would like to dedicate these butterfly gardens to the students of Robert Moton."

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