Artists' creativity unfurled

Umbrellas: An unusual art exhibition will be one of the highlights of Columbia International Day tomorrow.

July 15, 2005|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,SUN STAFF

Even if the sun is shining, umbrellas will be out at the Columbia Lakefront this weekend.

About 50 golf umbrellas that have been painted, pasted with pictures, covered in fabric and adorned with decorations by area residents will be on display as part of Columbia International Day.

"It was really fun last year," said Elinn Hesse, 11, of Dayton, who created an umbrella for the 2004 exhibition. "When I went [to the lakefront] it looked really cool with all the umbrellas."

This year, Elinn interpreted the theme "Music Around the World" by researching instruments from different countries on the Internet and drawing them on her umbrella.

She said her favorites were instruments from Africa. "They had a lot of drums, some type of guitar. They were really fun-looking, really cool."

From noon to 11 p.m. tomorrow, the Columbia Association will also offer music, food, crafts and activities with international themes to celebrate the town's cultural diversity.

Mariachi band Sin Fronteras, African drummer Joseph Ngwa, Latin group Sol Y Rumba and Charm City Klezmer will perform in the early afternoon followed by a welcome to exchange students from Columbia's sister cities in Spain and France.

The musical program will continue with Korean dance, Jazz vocalist Rhonda Robinson, South American music by Mystic Warriors, Latin contemporary songs by Solazo and rhythm and blues band TMD and the Brass Solution.

Between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., children can enjoy face painting, a dragon maze, balloon sculptures and juggling. There will be stilt-walkers, a Moon Bounce and visits by characters including Lucky the Leprechaun and Baron Von Schnitzel.

Youth in the umbrella exhibition will be judged in several age divisions. Those who attend will be invited to vote for their favorite among the adult entries.

The umbrella exhibit gives area residents a chance to show off their artistic talent in an unusual format.

"It's the three dimensions, the curved surface that stands out so well," said Rebecca Bafford, director of Columbia Art Center, which organized the exhibition.

She said the number of participants has grown each year since the exhibitions began five years ago.

"The kids have just amazed me over the years at what they've come up with," Bafford said.

Linda Wieman considered working on an umbrella with her son, Jesse, but he wanted them to each make one and see whose was better.

"It was really a lot of fun," said Linda Wieman, a graphic designer who volunteers making costumes for the Hammond High School drama department.

Variations on a theme

She used her sewing skills to make a silver-and-black slipcover for her umbrella and then added a weathervane at the top with musical notes and a recorder.

Jesse Wieman, 21, who studies fine art at the University of Maryland, College Park, topped his umbrella with a sculpture of foam records and photographs of performers - including Tupac, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney - pasted onto foam backing.

"I'm really excited because I know I did something a little off the wall," he said. "I really love sculpture, so I had to tie it in somehow."

"I'm trying to encourage [my son] to get his art out there, said Linda Wieman. "If you are going to be an artist, this is what you do."

At the Columbia Art Center's day camp this week, Jennie Weissert, 12, of Columbia said her umbrella-decorating team "went through a lot of ideas" before they decided on red, yellow, green and blue stripes, silver continents, a ring of piano keys and musical notes near the peak.

A group project

"It was fun," she said, "because everyone got to work together."

Zoe Wright, 12, of North Laurel said it was hard not to drip the paint. She said she learned that "small brushes make thin lines."

The third artist in the group, Elise Donkor, 12, of Columbia said after three days of creative effort, "We'd like everyone to see our umbrella [on Saturday]."

"Because we worked really hard on it," Jennie added.

"We worked three entire days on it," Zoe said.

Information on the Columbia International Day: 410-715- 3161, www.columbiaassoci or pick up a schedule at Columbia Association headquarters, 10221 Wincopin Circle.

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