Park mural, other works to be celebrated Saturday


January 17, 2000|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ON SATURDAY, Westminster residents are invited to recognize the artistic talents of their neighbors at "Celebration of the Arts 2000," sponsored by the Carroll County Arts Council and the Westminster Office of Community Development.

Central to the celebration will be the dedication of the mural painted in Locust Lane Park by Lewis Schlitt. Work on the mural, which is styled after old European town plans and maps, began in August and was completed at the end of October.

"A lot of people are fascinated with old maps," Schlitt said, explaining why he chose to depict the original Westminster town plans on the Locust Lane wall. "Many of those town plans are illustrated with highlights of the area and panoramic scenes."

Schlitt chose to include a Carroll County landscape on the bottom of the mural, which was completed with the help of his co-workers at The Valley Craftsmen Ltd. in Baltimore. Valley Craftsmen specializes in decorative painting, faux finishes and murals for businesses and homes.

Painted in frames along the mural's border are two sets of buildings Schlitt felt moved to depict. In one corner is the train station that was on Railroad Avenue and helped fuel Westminster's growth.

In another, Schlitt rendered the buildings that were demolished years ago to make way for Locust Lane Park. The destruction of those buildings has given Westminster residents an open space to enjoy, he said.

"The street is still there, and a lot of the buildings still exist on Main Street," Schlitt said, comparing the town plans drawn in the 1870s to the city's current structure.

Schlitt was chosen to create the mural from a group of 20 artists who submitted their portfolios to the city last January for consideration. In the spring, four finalists were asked to submit plans for a final project, and Schlitt's work was accepted.

"I've always liked the challenge of design," said Schlitt, who has worked with painting, printing, sculpture, photography and writing. "I see the idea of the design process as art in itself, the idea of combining different images that will have meaning for the viewer."

Schlitt said he is working on projects that combine photography and writing. The mural interested him because it allowed a combination of graphics and cartography, he said.

"My artwork has always been on the side," Schlitt said. "I've never been able to do such a large-scale work before."

For Schlitt, painting the mural also gave him the opportunity to express how he feels about integrating art into the community.

"I always want to encourage people to be more aware of art in their everyday lives," he said. "I would like to encourage more of that kind of activity in small cities in the area. I think it adds a lot to the quality of life."

Plans for Saturday's celebration include the dedication of Schlitt's painting at 11 a.m. at Locust Lane in downtown Westminster. Exhibitions of local artists' works are also planned at the Carroll County public library and Ain't That A Frame, both on Main Street.

Information: Carroll County Arts Council, 410-848-7272.

Celebrate county's birthday

An observance of Carroll County's 163rd birthday is scheduled at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Best Western, 451 Western Maryland College Drive in Westminster.

Admission is free, and light refreshments will be served.

Information: Historical Society of Carroll County, 410-848-6494.

Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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