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Penn-Mar to hold art show in Baltimore

Art therapy classes at Penn-Mar Human Services in Maryland Line are usually pretty quiet as adults with developmental disabilities paint and draw at a big table in the main activity room.

But art instructor and art therapist Katie Gutridge recently had the adults sawing, painting, hammering, gluing and drilling.

Gutridge, a 1995 graduate of College of Notre Dame, now Notre Dame of Maryland University, decided the Penn-Mar adults needed an art show to highlight their work. She arranged for three Notre Dame students to do an internship at the nonprofit agency, helping some 30 adults create three-dimensional works of art.

The Penn-Mar exhibit, called "Collaborations," runs Oct. 24 through Dec. 2 at Notre Dame's Gormley Gallery. An opening reception is Oct. 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. and a gallery talk is Nov. 30 from noon to 1 p.m.

"One of our goals is to introduce Penn-Mar's clients to different styles of art and have them use materials they might not consider turning into art," Gutridge said.

Alix Novak, 19, Megan Ferrin, 20, and Julie Taylor, 20, all of Baltimore, carpool each Thursday and spend the morning at Penn-Mar.

They've helped the adults spray paint various shapes of wood in four different colors and now it's time to assemble the wood into artistic shapes.

The first 10 of 30 adults arrive, some in wheelchairs with assistants at their sides. Each picks out five pieces of wood.

"This is what our project is going to look like," Novak said as she held up a photo of 3-D art done by Louise Nevelson, who arranges objects in boxes and places them in one frame.

Jeff Kowolski used a brown rectangle as a base and glued four shapes onto it. Patrice Ambrosser, who was celebrating her 24th birthday, pointed from her wheelchair to pieces she liked. Ferrin glued and nailed them together, following Patrice's directions.

"They are very engaged with this project," Novak said. "They loved painting the wood, now they're enjoying this, too."

Another sculpture they put together for the show is a mobile made from PVC pipes they had cut into sections, sanded and painted silver.

Gutridge said the mobile will emulate those created in the 1930s by Alexander Calder.

"The Penn-Mar art program is a fabulous experience for everyone involved," said Geoff Delanoy, director of Gormley Gallery and associate professor of art at Notre Dame. "It takes the idea of collaborative work to a great level where diverse members of a community can deeply learn from each other."

Admission to Gormley Gallery is free. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 410-435-0100 for weekend hours.

The gallery is in Fourier Hall at Notre Dame of Maryland University, 4701 N. Charles St.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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