Carroll County Times
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Sykesville Painting Club to host weeklong art show, other activities as fundraiser for Maryland Special Olympics

In coordination with fundraising efforts for the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics, the Sykesville Painting Club is planning a weeklong art show at the Merritt Clubs Eldersburg location.

The Polar Bear Plunge has been a part of Maryland’s history for the last 25 years. Thousands of plungers have jumped into the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay to raise money for the Special Olympics.


About $3 million is raised annually, helping to provide year-round sports and leadership programs for 6,102 athletes of Special Olympics Maryland.

Beginning at 8 a.m., Saturday, members of the Sykesville Painting Club and other local artists will display daily their original art, some of which will be available for purchase. Other special activities are planned throughout the week.


Two paint-and-sip sessions by Pinot’s Palette of Ellicott City will be offered at the club; one is planned for 1 p.m., Sunday, and another at 11 a.m., Jan. 27. Each session will cost $33 and supplies will be furnished.

Cheryl Clymer, a member of the painting club and organizer of the event, said a portion of the proceeds from the paint sessions will be donated to the Special Olympics. In addition, patrons will be encouraged to donate during the week.

At 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, children ages 2 and older will have the opportunity to donate $10 in order to jump in the Merritt Clubs’ lap pool for a local youth plunge.

Sherri Lively, programs director at Merritt Clubs Eldersburg, said a team of women ages 60 and older known as the “Swimming Women” and adult participants will do their own plunge in the pool starting at 8 a.m., Thursday.

A Polar Zumba Outdoor class will take place at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 28, and a “Living Well with Chronic Pain” seminar will be held at 11 a.m., Jan. 29, wrapping up the week’s events.

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“This is the second art show the club has sponsored,” Clymer said. “This time we got a little more creative by coordinating with another event and Merritt was glad to assist. … It’s a great way to get more exposure for the plunge and solicit donations.”

The art show also showcases the talent of local artists.

According to Lively, Merritt Clubs Eldersburg every year has a team of people involved in fundraising for the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge in Annapolis.


“The art show gives us a local way of involving our members,” she said. “Our focus is on overall wellness and supporting the community. ... This is a cool aspect of what we have the ability to do.”

The week’s events are open to club members and nonmembers.

Those interested in donating to the cause can do so at

Special Olympics Maryland’s goal is to host a statewide in-person plunge at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis in March. The statewide plunge was virtual in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual option will be offered again this year, with participants raising money from home.