LIKE GRANDMA Moses, Columbia resident Newt Koenig came to painting late in his life. Although he studied illustration at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., after high school, Koenig, 84, built a career with an insurance company and didn't take up painting until 16 years ago.
In his younger days, Newt figured he would make a career for himself as an artist. "Unfortunately, I had to leave Pratt after the third year," he said. "It was during the Depression, and I had to get a job."
He took a position as an illustrator with a magazine publishing company, Rodale Publications, in 1940. Later, the demands of a family and the need for a better income led him to a job with Prudential Life Insurance of America before retiring in 1980.
Now, Koenig is sharing his artistic skills with others through a workshop sponsored by Harper's Choice Community Association. During the eight-week session, which began June 1, he is offering instruction to artists of all skill levels in oils, acrylics, pastels, pen and ink, pencil or charcoal.
"A lot of people don't think they can paint or draw until they actually sit down and try," Koenig said. "I think it's a great idea to encourage people to indulge."
Seventeen years ago, Koenig and his wife, Belle, moved to Columbia from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to be closer to their adult children, Jeffrey and Karen. Newt began studying painting at Howard Community College.
"I always felt that someday I'd like to learn how to paint," he said. "Since they make generous allowances for senior citizens at the community college, I signed up."
An instructor at the college recommended that he contact Columbia artist David Zuccarini for further study, and he has studied with Zuccarini for 14 years.
Zuccarini said, "Newt knows a lot about art. He is a very good painter and he's enthusiastic. He sings in class sometimes. He just breaks into song. He can't help it."
Koenig has an outlet for his singing talents, too. He's a member of the Heart of Maryland Chorus, a barbershop singing group.
Newt and Belle have been married 55 years. "We complement each other," Newt said. "It's a good partnership."
"I think he's one of the nicest guys I ever met," Belle said.
For more information about the artists workshop at Kahler Hall, call 410-730-0770.
Students rally for relay
Pointers Run Elementary School fourth-graders Hannah Topus and Jamie Nussbaum raised more than $2,200 and organized a team of 25 classmates to participate in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life on June 2 and 3.
Hannah's mother, Leslie Topus, a social studies teacher at River Hill High School, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February. Leslie Topus was the keynote speaker for the annual cancer society fund-raiser at Howard Community College.
Hannah and Jamie chose to do a Type III investigation - identifying a problem they would like to help solve - on cancer with Pointers Run Gifted and Talented Program resource teacher Jackie Benner.
The girls held yard sales, car washes and collected pledges for walking laps at Relay for Life.
Pointers Run staffers Benner and Danelle Houck have organized a community-wide yard sale - scheduled Saturday at the school - in support of Brittany Salmons, 17, who has Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue and muscle.
Brittany, who graduated from Wilde Lake High School this month is the daughter of Teri Salmons, a third-grade teacher at Pointers Run Elementary. Proceeds from the yard sale will go toward Brittany's medical expenses.
The sale will be held in the Pointers Run parking lots and cafeteria from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Fourth of July parades
Bob Russell, chairman of the Longfellow Friends planning committee, says it's not too early to start planning to take part in the Longfellow Friends of the Traditional 4th Parade.
Because this is the 30th anniversary of the quirky neighborhood parade, Russell is hoping for more entries than ever.
Jim Binckley, one of the parade's originators, says there are no prerequisites and no restrictions for participating in the parade.
"There are no forms to fill out, just show up and you're in the parade," he said.
Participants line up at Longfellow Elementary School at 9:30 a.m. July 4. Information: 410-730-4024.
The River Hill Community Association will sponsor a Fourth of July parade for the River Hill and Clarksville communities at 10 a.m. July 4th.
The parade will form at Pointers Run Elementary and Clarksville Middle schools, continuing along Great Star Drive and ending at the River Hill Village Center.