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Veteran arts patrons get reward


For years, Clementine Peterson and her late husband, Duane, have been known as ardent supporters of the arts. Next week, one of their most lasting contributions will be unveiled.

Clementine and Duane L. Peterson Hall is the new name of a 1909 landmark on the campus of Western Maryland College in Westminster. Originally the college's library, the hall has been restored to house the college's Department of Art and Art History and exhibition gallery. On April 21 at 4 p.m., the building will be dedicated in honor of Mrs. Peterson, whose gift of $1 million made its conversion possible.

"Peterson Hall provides us with great new tools for re-creating ourselves and showcasing the college's imaginative program for the arts," said Susan R. Bloom, associate professor of art and chairwoman of the department.

"As an artist, I'm always excited about a clean canvas or a fresh drawing pad. This building has a rich tradition and its renovation symbolically represents to me the opportunity for new beginnings, new directions."

Designed by Jackson Gott, a noted Baltimore architect around the turn of the century, the building is one of five undergoing renovation on the Western Maryland College campus at a combined cost of nearly $8 million.

Peterson Hall's main floor now features a computer graphics area, art history classrooms, faculty offices and slide-preparation areas. The lower floor includes a photography lab and design and drawing studio, while the top floor has been restored as a exhibit space called Gallery One.

Centerbrook Architects of Essex, Conn., was the architect for Peterson Hall's transformation, which cost $1.4 million. Roy Kirby & Sons of Baltimore was the general contractor.

Mr. Peterson, who died in 1962, was a co-founder of the Hunt Valley-based PHH Corp. Mrs. Peterson, now 101, joined him in funding a variety of cultural activities during their marriage and has continued to support them since his death. She is unable to attend the April 21 ceremony and will be represented by her close friend, Clarisse Mechanic. Walters Art Gallery director Gary Vikan will be the keynote speaker.

A second campus landmark, Baker Chapel, will be rededicated May 7. The ceremony marks its 100th anniversary. Janet Marie Smith, the former Orioles vice president who served as the design conscience for Oriole Park at Camden Yards, has been nominated to become the next architect of the U.S. Capitol. Ms. Smith last year became vice president of sports facilities for the Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting System, part of the group building the Olympic Stadium for 1996, but she still lives in Baltimore.

The architect of the Capitol is responsible for the maintaining and improving the U.S. Capitol and other federal landmarks in Washington. Congress set today as the deadline for the public to nominate candidates to replace George White, who has held the position since John F. Kennedy was president. Ms. Smith was nominated by Deborah Dietsch, editor of Architecture magazine. Mr. White's replacement will be named this year.

Preservation grants

Preservation Maryland, the state's oldest preservation organization, recently awarded grants totaling $5,000 to fund preservation activities around the state.

A grant of $2,000 will be used to pay for nominating the 1869 Sellers Mansion on Lafayette Square in Baltimore for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The mansion is being renovated as part of an expansion of St. James Terrace Apartments.

A second $2,000 grant will be used by the Kent Island Heritage Society to pay for a condition assessment and guidelines for the restoration of the 1810 Cray House, one of the oldest surviving structures in Stevensville.

Finally, $1,000 will be used to develop a structural analysis and guidelines for rehabilitation of the Dunn House, a 1790s-era residence on Queen Street in Chestertown. A group called Preservation Inc. has obtained a state grant of $130,000 to restore the house, which is uninhabitable. Proceeds from its sale will be used to fix up the adjoining Bolton House, from the same period.

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