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New collaboration takes art 'Off the Wall' and into Howard parks, community centers

A replica of a painting from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore was unveiled Wednesday morning at the lakefront in Columbia in an effort to bring free art to people and to bring visitors to the museum. (Amanda Yeager/Baltimore Sun Media Group video)

Visitors to the Columbia lakefront now can take in some fine art in between shopping at Whole Foods or sipping a cafe au lait at Petit Louis Bistro.

This week, county officials unveiled a new partnership with the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore that places replicas of some of the museum's works in outdoor spots throughout Howard.

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The idea, said Howard County Arts Council Executive Director Coleen West, is to bring "the state's world-class institutions to Howard County."

Dubbed "Off the Wall," the program, which was funded through a $6,000 grant from the Howard County Arts Council's Outreach Howard grant program, brings a total of six works of art to local parks and community centers.

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On the waterfront, in keeping with an aquatic theme, the piece on display is "A Fishmonger's Shop," an 1873 painting by Frederick Walker.

The other five paintings, and their locations, are:

  • "Tiger at Rest" (mid-19th century) by Antoine-Louis Barye, at Ellicott City's Roger Carter Community Center
  • "The Painter and His Model" (1855) by Alfred Stevens, at the Howard County Arts Council's headquarters on High Ridge Road in Ellicott City
  • "Approaching Storm" (1872) by Emile van Marcke de Lummen, at Centennial Park
  • "Mud Pies" (1873) by Ludwig Knaus, at the Robinson Nature Center
  • "Wildflowers with a View of Dublin" (19th century), at the North Laurel Community Center and Park

Julia Marciari-Alexander, the executive director of the Walters Art Museum, said each piece was intended to "have resonance with spaces outside."

And, she added, "we're hoping this will inspire engagement by the citizens of Howard County in what is truly their art museum, the Walters Art museum, in Baltimore."

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County Executive Ken Ulman called the project a "tremendous collaboration" and "a statement about our collective commitment to arts and culture in Howard County."

Other ongoing arts projects in downtown Columbia include the renovation of Merriweather Post Pavilion, construction of an outdoor amphitheater at Symphony Woods and the purchase and redevelopment of the Long Reach Village Center as an arts and culture hub.

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