Lo­cal stu­dents bring aware­ness to re­mod­el­ing of Harry Nice Bridge

Lackey High School stu­dents have paint­ings hung in Charles County Gov­ern­ment build­ing

Maryland Independent - - News - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: Tif­fIndyNews

Art is taught as a form of ex­pres­sion and the Henry E. Lackey High School stu­dents used their own artis­tic val­ues to high­light the much needed re­pairs to the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memo­rial Bridge that con­nects Charles County to Vir­ginia. The stu­dents used cre­ativ­ity and their own per­cep­tion of the bridge to paint a pic­turesque ver­sion of a paint­ing done by their art teacher, Vicki Mar­ckel, of the bridge and the Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers hon­ored Mar­ckel’s tal­ented stu­dents for their ef­forts.

On May 26, the County Gov­ern­ment build­ing dis­played Lackey stu­dents’ paint­ings of the bridge and held a brief cer­e­mony for the stu­dents and their fam­i­lies. Dur­ing the of­fi­cial hang­ing of the paint­ings, each of Mar­ckel’s stu­dents re­ceived a cer­tifi­cate of recog­ni­tion from the Charles County com­mis­sion­ers.

“I think this re­ally shows this part­ner­ship be­tween gov­ern­ment and our com­mu­nity, and any­thing we can do to sup­port them is some­thing that we should be do­ing,” said Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy (D). “Mar­ckel has taken this out of her class­room and brought it here so that it en­gages ev­ery­body that works here. Ev­ery time we walk down that hall­way it’s a re­minder of the good things that are go­ing on in this county.”

Vir­ginia R. McGraw, chair­woman of board of ed­u­ca­tion, thanked the com­mis­sion­ers for show­cas­ing a few of the “re­mark­able” Charles County stu­dents who were in­volved in the paint­ing of the Po­tomac River bridge.

“We truly ap­pre­ci­ate the part­ner­ship that we have in teach­ing our stu­dents,” McGraw said.

The paint­ings are a re­sult of the “Paint-In” event held by Mar­ckel and her art stu­dents that took place on April 30 at Cap­tain Billy’s Crab Restau­rant in New­burg.

“It was a good ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing able to cap­ture the bridge from a point of view where it shows that it needs work be­cause I used to travel on the Harry Nice Bridge to get to horse shows and you can tell, even with us car­ry­ing a horse trailer over the bridge, that it needs work,” said Lilly Collins, 16, a sopho­more at Lackey.

“I didn’t paint the bridge with a night­time per­spec­tive to try to be dif­fer­ent, I just wanted to try a dif­fer­ent way of mix­ing colors and I re­ally like ex­press­ing ideas and point of views,” said se­nior Ti­mothy Craw­ford, 18. “I wanted the paint­ing to be some­thing you had to look for and stare at closely. The bridge showed a beau­ti­ful part of South­ern Mary­land that is also at­mo­spheric. The bridge shows an amount of won­der that I didn’t know could hap­pen.”

Ka­vante Barham-Reeves, 16, a sopho­more, said Mar­ckel taught the stu­dents to first paint what they want and then paint what they want peo­ple to see. In this case, the stu­dents wanted oth­ers to see and un­der­stand the im­por­tance of the bridge.

Com­mis­sioner Ken Robinson (D) and Mar­ckel both live in New­burg, so he was ec­static when she asked if she could do some­thing cre­ative to help get the bridge re­done.

“I think ev­ery­one is in agree­ment that the Harry Nice Bridge be­longs in a mu­seum,” Robinson said. “I’ve been an ad­vo­cate for re­plac­ing the bridge for many years. It’s a beau­ti­ful bridge to paint but its not func­tional. Vicki Mar­ckel is do­ing her share by putting the bridge on can­vas. Mar­ckel’s work will be on dis­play at the Crain Memo­rial Wel­come Cen­ter right at the foot of the bridge and we have hun­dreds of peo­ple pass­ing through ev­ery­day who will get to see her work. Her ef­forts will memo­ri­al­ize the bridge for years to come.”

Mar­ckel has been a fine arts teacher at Lackey High School for more than 10 years. Her work has been fea­tured in pri­vate and pub­lic col­lec­tions, won sev­eral awards, and is on per­ma­nent dis­play at the Jar­rett Thor Art Gallery. In 2015, she was com­mis­sioned by the Catholic Coali­tion of the Arch­bish­ops to paint “Saints of God, Come to Our Aid.” The paint­ing, which fea­tured the saints of the Amer­i­cas, was given to Pope Francis dur­ing his visit to the United States last year and is hang­ing in the Vat­i­can. Now Mar­ckel has given her stu­dents an op­por­tu­nity to help draw at­ten­tion to one of Charles County’s no­table land­marks.

“I travel over the bridge of­ten for art ex­hi­bi­tions and work­shops in Vir­ginia so I know first-hand how badly the bridge needs to be re­placed and I asked Com­mis­sioner Robinson how I could help,” Mar­ckel said. “I wanted to use my art to ex­press some­thing po­lit­i­cal and the changes that you want to see in the com­mu­nity in a pos­i­tive way and this was also a phe­nom­e­nal op­por­tu­nity for my stu­dents.”

Mar­ckel said the en­ergy she re­ceives from her stu­dents is in­fec­tious and she strives to con­tinue paint­ing and in­spir­ing oth­ers to be cre­ative.

“Now my stu­dents get to ex­pe­ri­ence hav­ing their work on dis­play at this won­der­ful ex­hi­bi­tion at the County Gov­ern­ment Build­ing,” Mar­ckel said. “This is truly the best mo­ment as a painter. The stu­dents see­ing their suc­cess, see­ing the par­ents get to see their chil­dren be­ing hon­ored, and the stu­dents get­ting a chance to shine where it’s just about them and what they’ve ac­com­plished.”

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

On May 26, Lackey High School art teacher Vicki Mar­ckel’s art stu­dents who sub­mit­ted paint­ings of the Gov­er­nor Harry W. Nice Memo­rial Bridge re­ceived cer­tifi­cates of recog­ni­tion from the Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers (Com­mis­sioner Ken Robinson in the mid­dle and Com­mis­sioner Pres­i­dent Peter F. Mur­phy on the far right) and had their paint­ings hung at the Charles County Gov­ern­ment build­ing.

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