By Kris Kielich
By Kris Kielich kkielich@chespub.com Dec 8, 2017

ELKTON — While the town has long been tied to the visual arts thanks to community staples such as the Cecil County Arts Council and The Palette & the Page, there’s now a brand new place you can catch great art — and chances are its somewhere most residents already know quite well.
The Cecil County Public Library’s Elkton branch has partnered up with the Arts Council to bring Gallery 301 to life, and with their first artist on display, all parties involved are already very excited about the possibilities.
“The library and the Arts Council had collaborated on a few join ventures before. They’re very interested in the arts and their walls were a bit boring, so they suggested an artist wall,” said Annmarie Hamilton, executive director of the Arts Council. “We said great and we would handle the whole process of bringing them art and hanging it.”
On the library end of things, the passion was just as high.
“We recognize Elkton has a big art district, and we thought this gallery would be a great way to extend the exposure for the artist as well as make a stronger connection of the library to downtown Elkton,” said Frazier Walker, CCPL’s community relations specialist.
For her, it’s a conscious effort to bring more art to those who can’t always make it downtown.
“Not everyone can get to the Arts Council, so we thought it would be great to extend the time local artists get to hang their art. It beautifies our space too,” she added.
Artist John Dixon has had his work shown in many places around Elkton and Cecil County, as he’s based right out of Elkton himself. As a photographer who is on the board at the Arts Council and who takes stunning photographs of nature and places he visits on his many biking and hiking trips, he was a natural first choice to be featured in the library.
“I think it’s great to be featured here,” Dixon said. “It’s something I won’t forget. It means a lot because I’m of the breed that still really likes to go to and appreciates the library.”
For artists that end up being shown at the library gallery, they’ll be seen by approximately 900 people a day, and that can only be good for them and their art.
“It’s another great opportunity for artists to get exposure and commissions and sales,” Hamilton explained.
The goal is to swap out the artist every couple of months, usually after that artist has finished showing at the Arts Council. This gives them another shot to show their art to an audience that may not have been able to travel to any of the galleries in central Elkton.
Though the library is the one displaying the art, all art sales are officially handled through the Arts Council.
The library is planning on holding an “official” opening celebration in the near future, though the gallery is open now for all to see.
“Part of the mission of the library is to provide opportunities for all, so we always look to engage the community,” Walker said. “By hosting artwork, it lets us bring those cultural opportunities to visitors.”
Dixon’s thoughts on the art were a bit simpler, but no doubt rang true as visitors came to gaze at his work.
“Some buildings can be kind of sterile without art on the walls. To see art on the walls here is great. It just adds to the feel of the place,” he said.

Ccecil Whig Photo By Hris Kielich
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Local photographer John Dixon stands with his work. He was chosen to be the first to display work at the new gallery at the Elkton Library.
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The Cecil County Arts Council collaborated with the library to create the gallery.
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The gallery stretches for the entire wall of the first sitting area of the library.
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The new Gallery 301 at the Elkton Library aims to promote art to its readers and give artists a second chance at exposure.
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