Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center Celebrates the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King
The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was celebrated at Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center with a free 3-day family event January 19-21. Several art activities were available to members and guests in the warmth and comfort of the John Dennis Murray Arts Center.
Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Pinkie Strother, a visiting artist, led visitors in the creation of community project – a diorama “Playing and Communing in the Park” using small clay figures. Ms. Strother, a native of Calvert County, remembers creating small figures out of clay when she was five. She and her sisters would go to a cistern near their home to fetch water. There she found a patch of clay and she began making figures. Ms. Strother was always creative, making and building things.
Graduating from Calvert High School, Ms. Strother attended Bowie State College, majoring in Art Education. She was an art teacher in the Howard County Public School system and taught at Bowie State College. She continued her education earning a Master of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art. Ms. Strother was a resident artist at Montpelier Arts Center for three years. Now retired, she lives in North Carolina with her husband, Robert.
Children surrounded her as she demonstrated how to make the clay figures. Each child, and many of the adults, were given an armature support for the sculpture and a piece of air-dry clay. Once the armature supports were covered in clay, they were baked, and then painted. All types of figures were created, people playing, reading, planting flowers, enjoying themselves.
Throughout the Main Gallery, Ms. Strother’s clay figures were exhibited. “Childhood Memories” included paintings and sculptures of scenes of her childhood community. It is a depiction of African-American culture in the 50s and 60s in Calvert County. “This body of work is a combination of paintings, drawings, and prints that illustrate the rich landscape and rural culture of Southern Maryland during my childhood.” The exhibit included handcrafted miniature buildings that she remembered from her childhood, including homes of family and friends, the local general store and church.
She told stories of her youth as she worked with the children to make figures for the diorama of clay figures. Ms. Strother said, “King left us with a wealth of wisdom on how to create a more just, humane, and peaceful world. We celebrate his legacy with art-inspired experiences centered around his nonviolent philosophy.”
In the center of the Main Gallery there was a giant, colorful tent. inspired by the dream of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A peaceful space where you could come to relax, dream and color. Created by the staff of Annmarie, it was created through the use of large, colorful fabrics from around the world. Inside the tent were strings of light, tables, overstuffed chairs, pillows and comfortable places to sit, color and enjoy the company of friends. As you entered the tent, there was a table filled with coloring pages, colored pencils and crayons.
Throughout the day the tent was filled with people – mothers and daughters, grandparents with their grandchildren, people just curled up in an easy chair writing or reading. The tent would inspire anyone to go home and build a tent, just as you did when you were a child. Tucked into a chair, the therapeutic qualities of coloring were highlighted, and the tent provided a great space for all ages to enjoy.
In the artLAB you could create a “Kindness Rock.” To highlight the wonderful values and positive messages championed by Dr. King, you could paint a positive message on a river stone and place it in a public space, allowing someone to discover and enjoy it.
Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center is a wonderful place to spend the day. It is a peaceful, serene location for a walk. A place to bring children to enjoy a day of fun. An art gallery with ever changing exhibits. Make time to visit Annmarie Sculpture Garden because any day is a good day to go!
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Joyce Stinnett Baki/ Calvert Beacon Reporter