Art of Community Living Exhibit

October 1, 2011

The Frederick Arts Council is pleased to present “The Art of Community Living” as its October gallery exhibit at the Cultural Arts Center.  The exhibit will run from September 29th to November 20th.  The opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 1st from 5:00-9:00 p.m.  The exhibit and reception are both free and open to the public and most of the work will be available for purchase throughout the show.  


Each of the Community Living artists has their own style, and even when challenged to paint a series of subjects, it is easy to tell which artist did what.  Wednesday is art day at Community Living and the artists all remind the staff in the office that is the day they will be painting.  Thursday is the day everyone gets to admire progress to date.  The homes operated by Community Living are adorned with CLI art by choice, as well as the nonprofit organization’s office walls which have rotating art displays.  The organization also sells many gift cards produced by CLI artists. 

Community Living, Inc. was founded in 1979 in Frederick, Maryland, as a not-for-profit agency providing residential and support services for people with developmental disabilities in Frederick County.  The art program would not be possible without the remarkably talented artists from Art on Wheels LLC:  Gail McDermott and Diane Hurwitz Specht. 

Ricky M. is one of the participating Community Living artists.  Ricky, 52 years old, works at Scott Key Center on a cleaning crew.  Ricky is exuberant and has never met a person who is not his friend.  Ricky works very quickly, and needs to be given projects that require detail so that he is very involved in what he is doing.   “Ricky always, always, always is asking when the next are show is going to be.” said Sarah Matthews, Community Living staff member.  “He is eager to let his parents and sister know of the event and proud to have them attend.”


Ricky W. had artistic parents and has dabbled with art much of his life.  His art expression has greatly benefitted from the tutelage of the art instructors.  He enjoys any test they bring to him but especially enjoys the challenge of perspective in landscape. His favorite medium is acrylic.  Ricky enjoys cooking and gardening.  “I like to learn how to paint better” he says.  “I just like painting”.  Ricky is one of our few artists who paint at home.  “I think painting is relaxing.”  He is one of our artists who contributed to the “Easels of Frederick” project and really enjoyed his first plein air painting experience. 


Wesley works daily at Jeanne Bussard Center in the laundry department with his friend Jimmy.  He loves to go fishing, and is a big fan of The Weather Channel.  He is an excellent bowler.  Art is new to him and translating what he sees to his paintbrush is a big challenge. He focuses on looking for shapes and color in his art. He doesn’t get frustrated and is very persistent. 


Jimmy is a big fan of the Three Stooges….just ask him.  This 48 year old is fascinated by faces and uses many lines creating a look of contour drawing.  He enjoys having numerous colors of markers before him.  Jimmy works at Jeanne Bussard Center in the laundry department folding a variety of clothes.  He does yarn crafts at home as well as puzzles.


Danny is new to Community Living but approaches his art with the same single mindedness that he approaches all the other events in his life.  Danny takes directions well, and is only just now learning to trust his own color sense.  Like many of the people CLI serves, he enjoys bright colors.  Danny has a puckish sense of humor and is an active participant in CLI’s Retirement Our Way (ROW) day program.  Danny says “I didn’t know I could do this.  They just put a picture in front of me and the lady tells me what to do, and I do it and then I have a picture.  It’s fun.”


Charles loves people and has braided bracelets for all the corporate staff that are located where the ROW program is located.  Charles likes to do fine, detailed work and is just now learning how to move his brush strokes into bigger, looser brush strokes.  In particular he likes to do barns and houses. “It reminds me of up home in Thurmont” he says.  “There are a lot of barns there and most of them are red.”


Leclair is a long time artist at CLI and enjoys painting in many mediums but watercolors are her favorites.  She likes bold colors, but can use them with discipline.  She appreciates the blending of shades that can be obtained with watercolors. Leclair loves playing Bingo at ROW and at the Senior Center.  Leclair is very social and we at the office all benefit from a “Leclair” hug. 


Willy’s art has matured over time greatly.  He works hard at capturing any idea the instructors want him to try and takes great pride in his work.  He works carefully and slowly at every piece that he does, and has his own folder of his work.  Willy has a garden at CLI, and is still participating in a full roster of sports well into his 70’s. Willy is non-verbal but he sure makes his love of art class known.  He is the first one in class ready to paint, and the first one to walk around the office on Thursday showing off his new piece.  His smile is huge when that “sold” sticker goes on his painting. 


Michael took drafting classes when he was in school and it shows in his very precise drawings. Asking Michael to draw anything impressionistic is stretching him artistically as he has such exquisite eye hand control.  When doing an art piece on his own, Michael’s pieces are full of symbolism.  He is learning to work on perspective and shading.  Michael is a real advocate for world wide peace.  He, too, participated in the Frederick Easel project.  Drawing individual bricks was no problem for him!


Pauline is our oldest artist at age 87.  She had never painted at all until she was 80 and now cannot wait until Wednesday: “Art Day”.  She embraces any medium with a zeal unmatched by any other artist.  Pauline is a fabulous cook and still cooks her own meals.


Eleanor has a whimsical nature to her work just as she herself is full of whimsy.  Her paintings are light hearted with a cheerful dash of color.  She works hard at her art.  She is eager to paint and has many opinions about what makes for a good painting.  This 50 year old artist helps with meals at home, works in the laundry at JBC ironing clothes, and very much enjoys doing word search games.


Nancy only wants the brightest colors in her art, and enjoys drawing faces with strong lines using her markers.  As Nancy ages, she is a little less interested in formal art classes, but enjoys being in her room puttering with her “colors”.  Nancy participates in JBC’s Community Program and has a smile for everyone.


Jeanne does exquisite, imaginative work evocative of early Picasso.  Her use of blocking, facial expressions and wonderful color choices always make her the hit of any art show.  Jeanne starts her paintings with pencil, and never makes an erasure, and never returns to paint any area twice.  Jeanne’s vision of the piece stays that way throughout the entire painting process.


Janet often chooses ambitious projects and enjoys seeing them through to completion.  She enjoys looking through art books to see what others have created to see if she, too, can do something similar.  She very much enjoys doing paintings with a Western theme.  Janet works at Roy Rogers and is an active participant in multiple Special Olympic sports.  “I just do it, I like to be creative.  I like to sell my paintings.”  Sarah Matthews knows that Janet puts a great deal of thought into what makes a painting sell.  “Janet is very proud when a painting sells, and is quite able to say that it makes her very good about herself”. 


Anyone can tap into their artistic talents and local residents are encouraged to check out the work of these individual artists.  The gallery, which is open Thursday through Sunday, is located at 15 North Market Street.  This community art space is managed by the Frederick Arts Council, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to promoting, supporting, and advocating the arts in Frederick County.  The organization is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, Frederick County, and individual and corporate donations.  For more information, call 301-662-4190.