Tech Court Center Art Exhibit Featured By Carroll County Times, WBAL-TV News

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Tech Court Center Art Exhibit Featured By Carroll County Times, WBAL-TV News

Students Paint Murals To Drive Business To Downtown Westminster

By S. Wayne Carter Jr.   |   Carroll County Times Staff Writer   |   Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lyric Warner, 8, paints the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce window in Westminster on Monday.
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As classmates watch, Kade Spreitzer, 9, paints a mural on a window at the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce in Westminster Monday
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While the weather might be dreary and cold outside, on Westminster’s Main Street, cornstalks are cropping up, the Orioles are getting ready for another season and a rainbow can even be spotted. At least, those are the scenes adorning the windows of downtown businesses.

About 15 children from Celebree Learning Center’s Tech Court location painted murals Monday at the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, The Spare Room and Hank’s Lock and Key on Main Street in Westminster. About 15 more are scheduled to do the same at three other businesses — Sam’s Bagels, Heinz Bakery and Cal Bloom’s Barber Shop — today.

It’s part of the community outreach students are taught at the center, said Director Jocelyn Spreitzer, who came up with the idea for “Murals on Main Street” as an artistic outlet for the students and a way to help area businesses during the cold winter months.

“We thought it would be fun and help drive business downtown,” she said of the contest. “The parents really liked the idea.”

Parents of Celebree students and members of the community are invited to check out the artwork Thursday from 4:30 to 8 p.m. and vote on their favorites. The winning artists will receive tickets for a performance at the Carroll Arts Center as a prize.

“Anyone can come and vote,” Spreitzer said. “In fact, we hope it’s not just the parents, it would mean a lot more to the kids.”

The daycare center staff asked the businesses if they had any requests for the designs of their store windows, but most left it up to the center to decide. Students ages 4 to 9 designed the murals in class, then set out with their designs Monday.

They painted two windows at the Chamber of Commerce featuring what the children described as the county’s first business, farming. One window included a barn, the other, cornstalks.

Lyric Warner, 8, said she helped paint the cornstalks inside the window at the chamber, while a friend painted some ants on them.

Lyric said it was a fun activity, but painting on window glass felt unfamiliar and a little wrong.

“We saw a policeman drive by and some kids thought we were being arrested,” she said.

Daniel Wolfe, 8, helped paint the barn. Although all of the painters at the site were on the same team, Daniel said he admired his teammates’ work more.

“I bet the cornstalks would win better than the barn,” he said.

The Spare Room, a thrift store that is run by the Westminster Rescue Mission, now sports an Orioles theme and the window of Hank’s Lock and Key features a spring scene with a rainbow and clouds. Today’s paintings will include a patriotic scene with an American flag, a Ravens design and a Celebree-themed storefront, Spreitzer said.

Kim Martin, the office manager for Hank’s, said the business had been asked to put a flyer in the window about the contest and decided instead to ask if students could paint their window. She hopes the mural will generate more foot traffic than is typical for February at the locksmith.

“When the weather is nice, we do better, but I think this will help get a few more people,” she said.

Peggy Soper, director of operations with the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber was excited by the idea when approached by Celebree officials, and by Monday afternoon, they were already seeing the paintings pay dividends.
“ People were walking outside [Monday] making comments after they were done painting,” Soper said.

It’s something she’d like to see done for Main Street businesses every year.

“Yeah, why not? We decorate for Christmas and then don’t really do anything afterward,” she said. “I’d like to see it grow and I think once other businesses see [the murals], they’ll want to be part of it. It’s something new and the kids did a great job.”