– Bob Bahr reporting, Editor PleinAir Today –
Many plein air painters have warm feelings for Ellicott City, Maryland, the site of Paint It! Ellicott City. That town was hit by catastrophic flooding on July 30, and artists are figuring out ways to help.
Lead Image: Cars after the flooding in Ellicott City, MD
Ellicott City is facing an enormous rebuilding effort. The photos included here show some of the damage; this video, shot by the husband of the owner of Still Life Gallery right outside their door, shows how dramatic the flooding was. More than 6 1/2 inches of rain fell suddenly, turning streets into rivers.
Plein air painter Alison Leigh Menke is one of the artists who is organizing fundraisers and publicizing GoFundMe pages to help Ellicott City residents get back on their feet again. The Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association has tentatively scheduled a paint-out on August 28 in Ellicott City from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Menke will make maps showing places in Ellicott City that offer views and are safe. The paintings produced at the paint-out will be donated and sold to benefit the rebuilding efforts. If conditions in Ellicott City are deemed too bad for a paint-out, it will be rescheduled.
Menke clearly feels a close tie to the Ellicott City community. “Just a couple of weeks before, artists were creating paintings of this beautiful town, paintings that have now become memories and ghostly records of what the town used to be,” she says. “There are centuries of history in this town that have made it what it is today. The people of Ellicott City have so much pride for what once started out as a small milling town. Over the years they have infused so much charm into this town, and a beautiful culture of the arts has blossomed from within its late-18th-century walls. The devastating flood Ellicott City witnessed on July 30 is not new to this city. Ellicott City has rebuilt in the past and the citizens of this town have been vowing to rebuild once more. As buildings are taken down on Main Street, they still vow to rebuild. This community is tight and strong and it’s just a matter of time till people are walking in and out of shops again.”
You don’t have to be a member of MAPAPA to participate in the August 28 paint-out. Click here for more information, and to keep abreast of any changes.
Menke is working with MAPAPA and local organizations to create more ways for plein air painters to help. She urges anyone who wishes to donate paintings for the rebuilding effort to contact her at [email protected].