Central Carroll roundup: Art contest centers on beauty in backyard birds

Contact ReporterCentral Carroll Neighborhoods

Here's a fun contest to keep your kids busy and help them learn about birds as they wait for warm weather to stay. The Carroll County Bird Club is holding its second annual art contest and show, so get out the pencils, paints and the rest of your art supplies. Contestants may enter up to three pieces of artwork in "Wild About Birds — Beauty in Carroll's Backyards."

The contest is open only to residents of Carroll County and/or students attending schools in the county. The subject of the artwork must be anything related to birds native to or migrating through Carroll County. Age categories are: kindergarten through 2nd grade; grades 3 to 5; middle school; and high school. A qualified panel of artists, naturalists and birders will select the winning entries in the four age groups, with judging based on technique, scientific accuracy and creativity.

"Last year was the first year we held the contest," said bird club member Mary Jewell. "We had backpacks with binoculars, a field guide and a membership donated to us by the [Maryland Ornithological Society] and we weren't sure how to award these to kids. Then someone had the idea to have an art contest. It is a good way to get youth in the county involved with birds and nature."

Jewell said the contest went over so well that they decided to do it again, and this year they were landed a grant from the MOS to fund it. Prizes will include the opportunity to take a class from award winning medical and scientific illustrator, Ikumi Kayama, a professional bird artist, plus backpacks, binoculars, bird feeders, field guides, and a bird club membership.

"We had 34 entries last year, but we expect to see more. This year we've been visiting schools to let the art teachers know and to get the word out," Jewell said, adding that they will again have prizes in all age categories.

Two-dimensional artwork will be accepted from March 22 to April 9, including paintings, drawings, collages, and tapestry in vertical, horizontal, or square formats. Photography is excluded. Last year, Jewell said they saw watercolor paintings, chalk and pastel and even a quilling entry created by a 4-H member.

Entries may be dropped off at Bear Branch Nature Center, 300 John Owings Road, Westminster from March 22 to April 9. Nature Center operating hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Entries may also be dropped off at all branches of the Carroll County Public Library.

Submitted artwork will be on display at Bear Branch Nature Center from April 22 to May 19. Winners will be announced at an opening reception at the nature center on April 22, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The reception will include refreshments and is open to the public.

According to Jewell, students who enter can either pick up their art at the end of the exhibit or they may donate it to a silent auction, to be held at the art reception. Proceeds of the silent auction will benefit Bear Branch Nature Center.

Unframed entries should be original works, no larger than 18-by-24 inches. They should not be copied or traced from any published source. The winning artist will retain their rights to the work, but the Carroll County Bird Club may use photos of artwork for promotional documents, news releases and more.

"The contest is a way to connect with nature, Jewell said. "It might make you more aware of what you are seeing, and being able to express it really helps that connection"

For more information or an entry form, contact Carroll County Bird Club member, Mary Jewell at or 410-967-9404.

College directed one act plays

The talent of McDaniel College theater arts students will shine as they direct and perform two one-act plays at the college's Student-Directed Play Festival. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. each evening, Wednesday, March 1, through Saturday, March 4, inside WMC Alumni Hall on the McDaniel campus.

Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for students, seniors (over 60), active military members and veterans, as well as those with a McDaniel College ID. For ticket information, call 410-857-2448.

The play, "Impromptu" by American playwright, Tad Mosel will be directed by McDaniel senior Brandi Weyers. In this play, four actors wait on stage, soon learn that they must improvise a play that reveals their true selves. They can't leave the stage until the stage manager feels their play is over, lowering the house lights to signal completion.

Weyers said she knew she wanted to direct "Impromptu" as soon as she read it, but taking on the task of directing seemed daunting.

"Directing was always something that scared me. It seemed to be too big of a task for any one person to take on," Weyers said. "As time went by, and I became a more experienced actor. I became more confident in my own abilities."

Weyers is now ready to share her direction and the play that touched her.

"It really speaks to me and I can't wait to share the show with the college and local communities," she said.

"Impromptu" will feature McDaniel juniors Bryan Bowen, Megan Smith, Colleen Clark and Kevin Tyson Jr. with junior Laura Hawk working as the stage manager.

"The Actor's Nightmare" will be directed by McDaniel junior Brandon Richards. Written by Tony Award-winning playwright Christopher Durang, this comic play is the "nightmare" of accountant, George Spelvin, who is mistaken for an actor's understudy and forced to perform in a play without knowing any of the lines.

Richards said he is excited to be directing at McDaniel for the first time.

"It is a tremendous opportunity that I have been given and I hope to succeed in my goal of bringing 'The Actor's Nightmare' to life," Richards said. "I chose this play because I am very familiar with Christopher Durang and I absolutely love his work. His comedic writing and wit are extraordinary."

Richards said he hopes showcasing Durang's writing with his twist on directing will help him decide whether or not to pursue directing in the future.

This play will feature juniors Torreke Evans, Alexa Brenner and Andrew Frascella with freshmen Mary Guest from Hampstead and Patsy Zetkulic, and sophomore Christopher Shatzer from Taneytown as well as senior Antoinette Martin.

Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for students and those with a McDaniel College ID as well as seniors over age 60 and active military members and veterans

For tickets or more information, call 410-857-2448.

Saturday Night Bluegrass

If you like to tap your toes and listen to old-time bluegrass music head over to Zion United Methodist Church on Saturday, March 4 from 7 to 9 p.m., for an edition of Zion's First Saturday Night Bluegrass.

Ernie Bradley and The Grassy Ridge Band will entertain and there will be food and refreshments for sale throughout the evening. First Saturday Night Bluegrass music sessions are open to the public and there's no charge to attend but a free will offering taken to help cover the costs.

Church member, Dolores Bankert said there are friendly faces at every program. Often people come early to eat and socialize while waiting for the program to start.

"Our main attraction for food is crab cakes," she said. "We also have barbecue, chicken salad and hot dogs. There's lots of pie for dessert, and soup, too."

If you like bluegrass, you might want to put April 1 on the calendar, too. The church will host The Carroll County Ramblers on that date.

Zion United Methodist Church is located at 2716 Old Washington Road in the village of Shipley, south of Westminster and just off Md. 97 at Nicodemus Road.

For more information, call the church at 410-857-4444 or Barbara Klinefelter at 410-795-3585.

Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. Reach her at 443-293-7811 or

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