15th Annual Will’s Creek Survey Brings Fine Art to Cumberland

Cumberland is full to the brim of artistic expression. There are murals on the sides of gorgeously constructed brick buildings, emphasis on small local eateries and bike paths weaving in and out of the city. At the center of the organized art in town is the Allegany Arts Council (AAC). Located on North Center Street, the council takes advantage of all of the beauty in this town by putting together frequent art exhibits, activities for children and even the “artist relocation” program. This program provides grants to relocate artists in exchange for their assistance broadening the Arts & Entertainment district of the town. Cumberland and Frostburg are the homes of 2 of 22 A&E districts across Maryland. These districts focus on revitalizing the town and bringing the arts to the district. This is only one of many programs offered by the AAC.


Currently on display in their headquarters, the Saville Gallery, is the 15th annual Will’s Creek Survey. This show is a national juried competition; over 200 pieces were submitted by artists from all over the country. Of these 200 plus entries, only 52 were chosen. This is one of the bigger shows put on by the AAC, and employees have been cataloging and putting together the exhibit since June.

Unlike many traditional art exhibits, the Will’s Creek Survey includes many different mixed medias. There are paintings, photographs, sculptures, and even more obscure beacons of artistic expression. One artist made a gelatin silver print, which is one of the oldest forms of developing a photograph. In this process, silver particles are coated onto a surface (in this case, paper) and exposed to light. The more light the particles receive, the lighter the print. The artist, Liza Botkin, did not create this print with the typical photographic process but rather by creating her own picture to expose.

Gelatin silver print by Liza Botkin
Gelatin silver print by Liza Botkin

Another piece was created by Ursula Marcum titled “Evidence.” This piece was created with cold worked glass. Glass can be shaped if it is heated to just before the point of melting. However, Marcum created this piece without heating the glass to make it pliable. She, instead, chiseled the fragile medium until it suited her artistic needs.

"Evidence" by Ursula Marcum
“Evidence” by Ursula Marcum

One of the more obscure pieces was created by Arden Cone. The piece, titled “Build Me An Empire,” features a candy themed elaborate village. Cone went beyond the use of pastels and cupcakes to portray the sweet theme; he glued sprinkles to his oil painting!

"Build Me an Empire" by Arden Cone
“Build Me an Empire” by Arden Cone

There are many other astounding and interesting pieces being featured in the 15th Annual Will’s Creek Survey. The exhibit’s official opening occurred on September 13th, but the gallery will be open until the 10th of October. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 9-5, and Saturday & Sunday from 11-4. Be sure to make your way to North Center Street to soak up the art and culture that Cumberland has to offer!


Will’s Creek Survey banner image by the Allegany Arts Council

Photos by Mia McCaslin

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