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Youngsters turn junk into works of art

November 30, 1999|By MARIE GILBERT

Amanda Thomas stood in front of a table of junk and accepted a challenge ? take what life throws away and turn it into art.

With her creative juices flowing, the 5-year-old filled her arms with soup cans, buttons, feathers and shells and headed to a work area to begin her masterpiece.

The end result?

"It's a sculpture of me," she announced.

The Hagerstown youngster was among 40 children who participated Saturday afternoon in an art workshop at Discovery Station at Hagerstown.

The event was hosted by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Washington County Free Library and Discovery Station.

Dubbed "It's Not Junk, It's Art!", the workshop was a prelude to "Just Beyond the Junkyard," the MSO's family concert held later Saturday.

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"We have a family concert every year, and we try to do an event for children beforehand," said Mary Anne Ellifritz, director of marketing and public relations for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra. "With so many really wonderful institutions in our community, we thought an art workshop would be an opportunity for the symphony, museum, library and Discovery Station to come together for a fun event."

"It's a win-win situation, all around," Ellifritz said. "It's an enjoyable day for families and for organizers, as well."

The workshop was open to children ages 5 to 12, who were encouraged to create sculptures using everything from old jewelry and plastic foam plates to nuts and bolts.

"This is creativity in the purist form," said Amy Blank-Rowland, lead educator at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. "The children are not given any preconceived ideas or rules. So you'll be amazed at what works of art they'll come up with."

Barbara Fitzsimmons, 7, of Williamsport, rummaged through a box of marbles, which she added to an armful of cardboard, playing cards and pieces of fabric.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to make," she admitted. "But I love art, so I'll just go with the flow."

Also uncertain of what form his sculpture would take was Daniel Frantz, 9, of Smithsburg. But with a small block of wood as the base, he began working on a tower.

"He loves Legos and building blocks, so I thought this workshop would be great for him," said his mother, Christina Frantz.

Following the workshop, the sculptures were transported to the lobby of The Maryland Theatre, where they were on display before and during the family concert.

Blank-Rowland said that while this was the first opportunity for all four local groups to work together, she hoped it wouldn't be the last.

"I'm so pleased to have this opportunity," she said. "I would love to do this again."

Pat Wishard, public relations and program coordinator with the Washington County Free Library, agreed.

"This has been a wonderful partnership and an exciting event," she said. "The kids are having a grand time, and so are we."

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