Artists take center stage | Arts and entertainment
PRINCE FREDERICK – When Charles Caplins decided which particular animal to paint for the “Into the Wild” art project, he thought, “Why not the birds?”
So Caplins selected a parrot and the brightly colored feathered flyer now hangs on a wall in the CalvART gallery in Prince Frederick.
The exhibit features 80 pieces by over 40 artists from The Arc Southern Maryland, Southern Maryland Community Resources, Bay Community Support Services and The Center for Life Enrichment, all local nonprofits that support people with special needs in their missions.
“I’ll tell you that made me cry,” said artist Linda Craven, who helped develop the program with Jim Hurley, Therese Thiedeman and Pamela Callen. “When I took [the art] out of the bags I was blown away by the attention to detail and how everyone put so much care into each piece to get it exactly the way they wanted it. Everything is so colorful and blingy. It just blew me away.
The program includes creating large works of art from small photos, making a clay model of their art, and creating a small piece which has then been assembled into a mysterious work of art.
Starting in March, the artists were divided into five groups and each group had a weekly Zoom session during which they made their pieces.
The presentation of their pieces at the Prince Frederick Gallery came as a surprise to the artists.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Caplins, who lives in Huntingtown. “The best part is seeing the friends you couldn’t see [during virtual classes]. “
“I love to see it hanging,” said Rebecca Priya-Elwell of Hollywood, who created a glitter encrusted parrot with a diorama of a snail, parrot, octopus and chameleon.
Caplins ventured away from the birds for his second part of the project and fashioned a clay snail as a nod to SpongeBob SquarePants’ pet Gary.
Mary Herbert said the best part of the project “was making it happen. For me it was not difficult, it was quite easy.
The California resident has stayed with snails throughout the project “because I love them”.
Asked about the pieces by her fellow artists in the exhibit, Herbert said she thought “all of them are pretty.”
But not everything was smooth. Michelle Haley’s colorful clay octopus suffered a broken tentacle during painting. It currently sits on Haley’s dresser at home, but is expected to recover and join the exhibit shortly.
“One of the legs fell off when a staff member painted it with me,” said Haley, who lives in California. “But I put it back together.”
Southern Maryland Community Resources’ Arts4All project was created with a grant from the Calvert County Government. Arts4All is a SMCR program that provides people of all abilities in Southern Maryland with the opportunity to actively participate in the literary, visual and performing arts.
“It’s just thrilling to see what they’ve created and it really lets their personality shine through,” said Theideman, SMCR Program Director. “I really think they should come see it in person and see what each artist has to offer.”