The Arc Southern Maryland

The Arc Southern Maryland


Special needs exhibit goes ‘Into the Wild’

When Charles Caplins was deciding which particular animal to paint for the “Into the Wild” art project, he thought, “Why not birds?”

So Caplins selected a parrot and the brightly colored feathered flyer now hangs on a wall at the CalvART Gallery in Prince Frederick.

The exhibit comprises 80 pieces by more than 40 artists from The Arc Southern Maryland, Southern Maryland Community Resources, Bay Community Support Services and The Center for Life Enrichment, all local nonprofits that include supporting people with special needs in their missions.

“I’ll tell you, it brought me to tears,” said artist Linda Craven, who helped develop the curriculum with Jim Hurley, Therese Thiedeman and Pamela Callen. “When I was taking [the art] out of bags, I was blown away by how much attention to detail there was and how everyone put so much care into every piece to get it just the way they wanted it.”

The curriculum included creating large pieces of art from small photos, making a clay model of their art and creating one small piece that was later assembled into one mystery piece of art.

Beginning in March, the artists were divided into five groups and each group had a weekly Zoom session during which they fabricated their pieces.

Having their pieces displayed at the Prince Frederick gallery came as a surprise to the artists.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Caplins, who lives in Huntingtown. “The best part is seeing the friends that you couldn’t see [during virtual classes].”

But not all was smooth sailing. Michelle Haley’s colorful clay octopus sustained a broken tentacle during painting. It is currently resting on Haley’s dresser at home, but is expected to recover and rejoin the exhibit shortly.

“One of the legs fell off when a staff member was painting it with me,” said Haley, who lives in California. “But I glued it back together.”

“Into the Wild” is on display through May 30 at CalvART Gallery, 110 S. Solomons Island Road in Prince Frederick. The gallery is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. For more, call 410-535-9252.


Written by staff writer Michael Reid. Read more about this exhibit and see more photos in this Friday’s Limelight entertainment section inside the print edition of Southern Maryland News. Follow Michael on Twitter at @MichaelSoMdNews.