CCPS students capture Mallows Bay on canvas
Photos, sketches and paintings of site nominated as National Marine Sanctuary
Approximately 80 Charles County Public Schools students disembarked buses Thursday at Mallows Bay Park. Armed with cameras, canvases and sketch pads, the students aimed to capture the beauty, serenity and history of one of Charles County’s best-kept secrets.
The project is a cooperative venture between the school system and Charles County government to promote Mal- lows Bay, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has nominated to become a designated National Marine Sanctuary.
“The fact that the commissioners want to have the kids involved in this … it’s just a great opportunity,” said Timothy Bodamer, fine and performing arts specialist for CCPS.
Located near Nanjemoy in a 14-squaremile area of the tidal Potomac River, the site is home to the largest ship graveyard in the Northern Hemisphere, with the remains of approximately 150 vessels. These include historic vessels dating back to the Revolutionary War and remains of the largest “Ghost Fleet” of the World War I wooden steamships, built for the U.S. Emergency Fleet, according to the NOAA website.
“I look out and see the ships, and I wonder, ‘Who was on the ship, was it in a battle?’” Bodamer said. “It’s a pretty neat place.”
The ship remains are now home to osprey, water fowl and other wildlife, including rare threatened and endangered species, according to the NOAA website.
The site also features wildlife viewing areas, fishing, boating access and a
NOAA is currently completing an environmental impact study, the next step in the designation process.
“We’re very excited about the marine sanctuary designation that’s likely to come for Mallows Bay and it’s something that I think should be celebrated by all our citizens, and I thought, what better way than getting our students to interpret the ‘Ghost Fleet’ of Mallows Bay and put it on canvas?” said Charles County Com- missioner Ken Robinson (D). “We have a lot of tal- ent here in Charles Coun- ty, and so ultimately we’ll have a lot of works of art, and when Mallows Bay receives its Marine Sanc- tuary designation, we’ll be working with the federal government to build a vis- itors’ center, and I hope a good chunk of these paint- ings will be hanging there forever.”
Art teachers from each of the seven high schools and the Robert D. Stet- hem Education Center brought 10 students each to the site to work on the project.
“This is the first time in my … 16 years here that we’ve had every high school represented like this doing artwork, so it’s kind of fun,” Bodamer said.
Vicki Marckel, art teach- er at Henry E. Lackey High School, partnered with county government to host a “Paint In” of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Me- morial Bridge in April for her students. She said she wanted to develop a project that would be open to more students.
“We wanted to do some- thing we could expand to include students from all of the high schools,” Marckel said.
Once completed, stu- dents’ artwork will be displayed at the Charles County Government Building in La Plata and showcased in a gallery during the World War I Mallows Bay commemorative event scheduled for April 21, 2017, at the Col- lege of Southern Mary- land La Plata campus.
“I’d like to have photog- raphy, drawing and paint- ing, all represented,” Bodamer said.
Bodamer said the project would give students a chance to get out and create in a natural and historical environment with which they may not be familiar.
“Also, just to be able to get different perspectives or vantage points of something that’s purely historical,” Bodamer said. “A lot of them probably didn’t know this existed, a lot of adults don’t even know this place exists.”
Macayla Williams, a se- nior from Henry E. Lack- ey High School, worked on a painting of the bay.
“To actually be here, and feel the mood, it’s like being a part of nature. It’s calm, when you can paint the actual area and look around, hear the sounds, you really get the feel of it,” Williams said.
Sarah Byloun, a junior from St. Charles High School, took photographs from a pier. She said the best part of the project was “being able to explore different landscapes to take pictures of things like that, to explore different ideas.”
John Javier, a junior from La Plata High School, worked on a painting by the pier.
“It’s really refreshing to get outside, it feels ... cool. It’s serene. There are paths all around here, and it feels a lot different from walking outside [at the school],” Javier said.
Trisha Nor wood, a sophomore from North Point High School, worked on a sketch of the bay.
“You get to see the different types of landscapes, and you get to see a bit of history with all the ships,” Norwood said.
Charles County Public Schools students paint pictures of Mallows Bay as part of a cooperative art project with Charles County government and NOAA.
Katie Rahill, a senior at Westlake High School, takes a picture of a wrecked ship in Mallows Bay as part of a cooperative art project with Charles County government and NOAA.
Sarah Byloun, a junior at St. Charles High School, takes a picture on a dock at Mallows Bay while St. Charles sophomore Taylor Phillips sketches the scene as part of a cooperative art project with Charles County government and NOAA.
La Plata High School junior John Javier paints a scene at Mallows Bay as part of a cooperative art project with Charles County government and NOAA.
Henry E. Lackey art teacher Vicki Marckel, right, provides shadowing tips to senior Chicchi Igwe while she paints a picture of Mallows Bay as part of a cooperative art project with Charles County government and NOAA.
Macayla Williams, a senior at Henry E. Lackey High School, paints a scene at Mallows Bay, as part of a cooperative art project with Charles County government and NOAA.