Sinclair Hamilton - new Hancock councilman

December 15, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - Sinclair Hamilton would be the first to admit that his becoming a Hancock councilman is kind of surprising.

"It is an unlikely thing for me to be doing," said the Hancock resident and artist as he prepared to attend his first town meeting in his new official capacity.

But when he really thinks about it, Hamilton said the situation does make sense if you consider the high level of participation he has lent since moving three years ago to this small western Washington County community nestled between the mountains and the Potomac River.

"I've been working with the town since I first came to Hancock," Hamilton said. "I helped start the Hancock Arts Council."


That group puts on a winter festival and snow sculpture contest each year, with the next scheduled for Feb. 11, 2006. In addition, three Trinity Chamber Orchestra concerts at the high school have been sponsored by the arts council.

"There are great educational opportunities for children," Hamilton said. "It expands their horizons where otherwise they wouldn't have that."

Also, Hamilton and fellow arts council member Hope Cucina started a computer program for children that included handing out 25 computers.

It was on the arts council where Hamilton met David Smith, now the town manager, whose seat Hamilton is filling on the council. Smith gave up the seat in July when he accepted the manager job.

"Dave is such a nice guy, and he knows the nuts and bolts of keeping the town infrastructure running," Hamilton said.

Mayor Daniel Murphy approached Hamilton about the council vacancy, and after thinking about it and consulting with his wife, Susan, Hamilton decided to take the plunge. He was sworn in at the November town meeting.

"I had to think about whether I could do any good," he said.

Talking with the other council members, Hamilton noted some also are new to the group, and he had campaigned for a couple of them.

Hamilton, 52, is a sculptor with a studio at 24 W. Main St. in the old bank building. He came from the Washington, D.C., area and still has ties there.

Director of an art camp in Glen Echo, Hamilton said the camp is held in a few of the old buildings from the former amusement park, one of which is a center for cultural arts. He also teaches sculpture to adults.

Hamilton's vision for Hancock includes a new project that will involve the refurbishing of the town's old pump house building on the grounds of Widmeyer Park. The 30-foot-by-69-foot brick building is going to be fixed up and turned into a center for the performing arts.

"It belongs to the town, but they have granted the arts council, which is a committee of the town, the use of it," Hamilton said.

Hamilton believes the building could do wonders for the town and for the public.

"We are going to apply for some grants," Hamilton said, noting that it will take quite an effort to fix it up.

Hamilton was quick to point out that the arts council isn't just floating an idea.

"We have a lot of very talented people here and we need a place for them to exercise those talents and skills," Hamilton said.

While the schools in Hancock have been very cooperative in sharing their facilities, Hamilton said it is vital for the arts to have their own place.

"The arts are a very important part of a community," Hamilton said. "You need a place for the arts to bring the community together."

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