Sunday, March 7, 2010

Art show features 'Community'

Artist Ricky Walter, right, talks to visitor Bunny Ebling during the Community Living of Frederick's Art on Wheels exhibit Saturday at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. Both of Walter's entries, one of which is at top left here, were sold.

Ricky Walter beamed as he explained his painting of a snowy winter scene. It is part of an exhibit that opened Saturday at the Weinberg Center and will remain up through the end of the month.
"That's Baker Park overlooking Bentz Street," the 64-year-old said. "And you can see the clustered spires."
Walter said he gets cold just looking at the painting, which depicts a foggy, dreary winter day.
Ricky Mundy pointed out his paintings to friends. Mundy has several works on display that show a diversity in style. Two paintings mimic the cubism style of Picasso and another is a detailed collage consisting of hundreds of tiny pieces of paper torn from images and crafted to create a new design.
The artists are all participants in Art on Wheels, a program in partnership with Community Living, a nonprofit agency that provides residential services for people with developmental disabilities.
"Ricky works very fast and always finishes quickly," Sarah Matthews, director of community outreach for Community Living said. "So we try to give him projects that are a little more detailed."
Artists bios on display in the Weinberg lobby offer glimpses of the artists and their styles and artistic preferences.
"Jimmy is fascinated by faces ..."
"Thomas has a deliberate, slow approach to his art ..."
"Nancy only wants the brightest colors in her art ..."
"Linda always says, 'I have no talent,' and then dazzles us with her abilities. She enjoys broad brushes of color, livened with the dark black of pen and ink."
Art on Wheels is the brain child of artists Gail McDermott and Diane Hurwitz-Specht.
The two women lead two classes at Community Living, as well as one they take to a group home where they teach three women who live together.
Melanie Cox, who at one time oversaw 60 adult day care centers in eight states, said she was amazed at the quality of the work produced by the artists, and said the students benefit from the mentoring provided by McDermott and Hurwitz-Specht.
"This program is so far above anything we were able to provide," she said of her former job. "To have someone who can really work with the artists makes all the difference."
And for the artists to see their finished works professionally matted and framed and on display at a real exhibit gives them value and builds self-esteem, Cox said.
Walter, whose Baker Park painting had a red dot on its label signifying that someone bought it, said he was surprised to discover an artistic talent so late in his life.
His mother did ceramics, and his father enjoyed painting, so he said he has both parents to thank for his inherited gift.
He used acrylic paints to create the park scene.
"Acrylic paints are the easiest to work with," he said. If you make a mistake, you can paint right over it.
"Watercolors are hard to work with -- they run together and make a mess."
Saturday's opening included a reception with refreshments to celebrate the artists' accomplishments.
"This is a nice sharing event," Matthews said of the reception.
All of Community Living's clients live in group homes. Many clients who did not have artwork on display -- or even participate in the classes -- attended simply to support their friends who did, she said.
"They came because that's what friends do -- they support each other," she said. "Community Living really is a community."

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