South Laurel: Michael Spears recognized for his mixed media work exhibited at Montpelier Arts Center

Hope that all of our South Laurel/Montpelier community residents are contemplating a holiday week that is happy and peaceful. If there are days when things seem to lack the luster or excitement preparations have led us to expect, there are lots of ways to engage in enriching pursuits now and in the new year.

First, however, I would like to give a "shout-out" to Laurel artist Michael Spears. In my last column, I neglected to cite Michael's Honorable Mention prize when listing the other winners of the annual Patuxent Art League Open Juried Exhibition currently on display at the Montpelier Arts Center. Belated kudos to Michael for his lovely mixed media offering "Soft Rocks," a beautiful multicolored piece. That exhibit runs through Dec 28.

Also on view at the arts center are two smaller exhibits: Geoff Delanoy's "Fugitive Landscapes" features black and white photographs of the Marin County seashore in California, and the impact of the elements upon the landscape. The Resident Artists' exhibit "Sparkle and Light" presents a variety of types of art and media by a group of 15 artists who have studios at the center. Both exhibits run through Dec. 31, and can serve as a treat for the eyes and an escape from the holiday rush.

The center also has a small reading room and library with a collection of books and journals related to the arts. For our residents with talent in the visual arts, the center is sponsoring an "All Hung" exhibit Jan. 8–25. Bring one piece of artwork to the Center on Wednesday, Jan. 4, between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

What an inspiration to see your work hung in this prestigious location. A great way to start the New Year.

On Wednesday, Jan 4, from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m., musicians and vocalists are welcome to participate in the Senior Jam Session at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center on Contee Road. Bring an acoustic instrument such as a guitar, banjo or violin as well as your tuned up vocal chords.

All participants get a chance to play and/or sing. Spectators are welcome, and the atmosphere provides a warm and cordial spot on a winter's night.

On Fridays in January, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., participate in the center's Book Club to discuss "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne.

Younger readers and those just learning to read may enjoy "Kinder Craft and Story" at Snow Hill Manor, just off of Route 197. Preschoolers can make a craft and listen to a story. Classes begin Monday, Jan. 9, from 1 to 2 p.m., and run for four weeks. For information, call 301-725-6037.

Looking for more active physical pursuits in the New Year? Those 13 and older can try Pilates classes, which start Monday, Jan. 16, and run from 7 to 8 p.m. for six weeks at Montpelier Elementary School. Tai Chi classes at Oaklands Elementary on Tuesdays, from 7 to 8 p.m., start Jan. 17. Call 301-445-4500 for information about these two classes.

There is also yoga at James H. Harrison Elementary on Mondays, 7 to 8 p.m., starting Jan. 9. Call 301-953-7882 for more information.

With all of these activities and more available in our community, we have a lot to look forward to in 2012! Happy Holidays and New Year wishes to all!

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