WHEN LOCAL photographer Gregory Blank got the letter in February, he was astounded.
But here it was - confirmation that his photograph "Rancho de Taos" would be one of 75 exhibited this month in the Contemporary Maryland Artists 2000 show in Annapolis.
"I couldn't believe it," said Blank, adding that he assumed competition had been fierce for inclusion in the exhibit, which has been organized since 1996 by Maryland first lady Frances Hughes Glendening. "All the arts councils in the state knew about this."
His piece, which is a photo of the St. Francis of Assisi Mission in New Mexico, will be displayed at Government House during the second part of the exhibit Wednesday through June 28.
Two other exhibits, one before and one after the show containing Blank's work, are also planned for the Annapolis landmark, which serves as the governor's residence.
Tours of the displays, which are part of the first lady's Celebration of the Arts in Maryland initiative - are available by appointment.
Blank's work, which focuses on photographic styles he calls scenic fine art and basic abstract fine art, has been recognized before.
His photograph of a Carroll County farm graces the cover of this year's Office of Tourism calendar of events, and he has sold limited edition prints of his work at Artscape, the annual Baltimore street fair that celebrates the arts.
He has had work printed in national and international publications such as Guideposts and a newsletter published by the acupuncture institute in Columbia.
But this is the first time the 39-year-old Westminster resident has exhibited work on a statewide level.
"When I got the announcement, I nearly dropped dead," Blank said, adding that this is the first time he had applied for the program. "I couldn't believe it."
Dancers support library
Students of the Ballet Slipper in Westminster will perform in three presentations to benefit the Carroll County public library.
The students - ranging from age 3 to adult - will dance at 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
All performances will take place in the Westminster High School auditorium.
Tickets, available at the library's Westminster branch, are $4 for adults and $1.50 for children.
Have a ball
Work off the daily stress of work and home in a series of co-ed volleyball games sponsored by Westminster's Office of Recreation and Parks.
From June 20 through Aug. 10, the city's Family Center will be open for pickup games each Tuesday and Thursday night.
All adults are welcome to attend, and no registration is required.
Fees are $2 each night.
Members of the Family Center can participate free.
Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.