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 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
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.