Throughout the year, members of the Carroll County Arts Council have the opportunity to take in beautiful artwork and support local artists through their membership. Once a year, though, patron becomes artist at the Carroll Arts Center's annual Member Show, highlighting the work of those who support the council.,
According to gallery coordinator Susan Williamson, more than 130 members picked up their pens, brushes, welding torches and more to create work for this year's show. She said about a third of those participating this year have created work for the show for the first time. She said it's always exciting to see new creators choosing to submit their work alongside old favorites.
"We're always looking for new members and we're always looking for more people to submit," Williamson said. "This is a sign that our efforts are working."
One of the other aspects that distinguishes this member show from previous years, Williamson said, is the adventurous spirit many artists brought to their work. This year, she said, many of the returning favorites have tried out new techniques and styles in media that they were relatively unfamiliar with.
New spins include a piece digitally printed on floor tile that looks like a marble backing, pen and ink drawing on a ringed slice of wood and a neon-colored cyber-art portrait of a dog.
For some artists, the new take merely took the form of giving audiences a new look at a familiar landscape.
For the exhibit, artist Sabine Yeager submitted a painting of the Union Mills Homestead. She said inspiration for the piece came about during a Hampstead senior center journey for plein air painting at the homestead.
"I've always been fascinated by the building," Yeager said, "and I thought this was a part of the house that no one really takes a look at."
Yeager said she wanted to give exhibition guests a piece that reflected somewhere they were familiar with, but also give them something they haven't necessarily seen before.
Photography at the show will take guests on a world tour, from Carroll County to Gettysburg to Texas to the Vatican, as members have submitted work detailing their travels.
Animal portraits are a recurring theme across many of the pieces, but each provides its own unique take on the subject from cat pictures like the in-mischevious-action pose of "Dr. Spock Denies Responsibility" and abstracted boulder-like design of Judy Magladry's "Fat Cat," to relief sculptures of underwater creatures.
Even the animal portraits have embraced new media, like in Calvin Shaw's "Antlered Chipmunk" a creation done with fabric paint on a cotton background.
Other mixed-media work includes Steve Coleman's "Danger Zone — Hot Coffee Coming Through." The piece combines painted elements with an actual coffee cup sticking out three-dimensionally from the canvas, while Nancy Schmidt's "Thirsty Fish" features sequins and felt to create a shimmering fish swimming through the depths.
Artist Kirby Heltebridle decided to give guests at the exhibit's opening reception not only something they've seen before, but something they'll be in the process of seeing then.
His piece, "The Reception" shows a crowd of onlookers at an art reception complete with food and pieces of artwork hanging on the walls. He said he wanted to capture the feeling of making it out to the opening of a Carroll Arts Center show.
"You see such a variety in the artwork of people in Carroll County," Heltebridle said. "When I come out to a show here, it's their artwork that inspires me. I hope that mine is able to inspire them as well."
If You Go
What: Carroll County Arts Council Member Show opening reception
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7
Where: Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster
For more information: Visit www.carrollartscenter.org or call 410-848-7272.