Teacher’s painting of Nice Bridge on display
An artist’s work has deeper meaning than what’s drawn on the canvas and local art teacher Vicki Marckel recently used her artistic talent to help raise awareness of the much-needed repairs to Charles County’s Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge.
On June 28, the Charles County Commissioners held a celebration at the Crain Memorial Welcome Center in Newburg as they unveiled the painting of the bridge done by Marckel, a local artist and Henry E. Lackey High School art teacher. The painting now hangs at the welcome center next to the bridge and will be seen by the many people that visit the center every day.
“Ms. Marckel is a talented artist and teacher,” said Virginia McGraw, Charles County Board of Education chairwoman. “The board values the arts and the integral part they have in enhancing learning opportunities for our students. I was honored to attend the unveiling of the Harry Nice Bridge painting and proud of the accomplishment and recognition of Ms. Marckel’s work.”
“Marckel is a great cheerleader for Charles County and for me having been there from a blank canvas to the unveiling of the unbelievable artwork, it was very exciting and long awaited moment,” said Commissioner Ken Robinson (D). “This is the closest we are to putting the Harry Nice bridge in a museum, because that’s where it belongs since the bridge is iconic and obsolete.”
The painting process began on April 30 at Captain Billy’s Crab House restaurant in Newburg where Marckel hosted a “paint-in” with her art students, local residents and the commissioners, who also drew paintings of the bridge to bring attention to its needed repairs. Marckel, whose other artwork has been commissioned for Pope Francis, began working onsite to create a painting of the bridge. Marckel’s students had their paintings hung at the Charles County Government building on May 26.
“It was wonderful and just thinking about how this project escalated from talking to Commissioner Robinson about raising awareness about the bridge, hosting the paint-in, and bringing all these students together,” Marckel said. “Just seeing the evolution of how this project started from one little idea to having tons of local students and families involved, it really ended up being a tremendous event.”
Marckel said she typically creates her works from photo references or scenery that she has captured, but the process for creating this particular painting was different and sparked some new creativity in her. First, Marckel measured the space available for the painting at the Crain Memorial Welcome Center and designed a canvas specifically for that space. She was then able to combine it with her love of vivid, rich sunsets and a great range of color used to create the water in the painting.
Marckel said she learned a lot about the Nice bridge during the process.
“It’s a peaceful, calm painting that’s so serene and that’s what I think about when I think of Southern Maryland, because it’s a hidden gem,” Marckel said. “After seeing all of the components come together, I really hope that other people see Southern Maryland as a great vibrant community that really helps foster one another.”
During the unveiling of Marckel’s final project, the commissioners said they were impressed with her talent. The commissioners said the area is indeed fortunate to have an artist of Marckel’s stature who stays engaged in community issues.
Robinson said the painting was a creative way of showing off one of the notable landmarks in Charles County and the community was able to use creativity to spread the word about a serious issue — but had fun while doing it.
“It was great to see the support of the community, the Charles County Board of Education and the Charles County Arts Alliance,” Marckel said. “I was fortunate and blessed to have so many people people involved and their support for this painting that represents Southern Maryland. It shows that instead of complaining about an issue in our community, we thought about how to use unconventional methods to draw attention to the issues that are important to us in our own community.”
The commissioners plan to have Marckel’s painting at the Crain Memorial Welcome Center throughout the summer. They will then offer the painting to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to have it hung in Annapolis.
On June 28, Henry E. Lackey High School arts teacher Vicki Marckel and Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson unveil Marckel’s painting of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge at the Crain Memorial Welcome Center in Newburg.
Henry E. Lackey High School arts teacher Vicki Marckel and the Charles County Commissioners celebrated the unveiling of Marckel’s painting of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge at the Crain Memorial Welcome Center in Newburg. From left is Commissioner Bobby Rucci, Commissioner Amanda Stewart, Marckel, Commissioner Ken Robinson and Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy.