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Westminster Library Announces Next Sculptor for Park

Artist Jo Israelson will work with stone to create the next sculpture.

Jo Israelson of Union Bridge has been selected to create the next sculpture addition to the Mary Lou Dewey Sculpture Park at the Carroll County Public Library's Westminster branch.

Lynn Wheeler, executive director of CCPS, said the library's board of directors specifically sought a Carroll County artist for the next sculpture project.

"We had three Carroll County artists that submitted proposals, and after an extensive interview process, Jo Israelson was selected to do a stone sculpture," Wheeler said.

The announcement was made Sunday amidst more than 50 people who attended a special event held at the historic Whispaw property located in Lineboro, Maryland.

Israelson, who is originally from Portland, Maine, will begin work on her new assignment immediately.

"I really love working with stone," said Israelson. "I am hoping to work with limestone as granite is a tough, tough stone. Limestone evolves and that's the best part."

Israelson is expected to finish her sculpture in time for a 2012 Fallfest unveiling. Once complete, it will join the "Wild Imaginings" sculpture currently in front of the Westminster library, created by Bart Walther.

Israelson said she is not sure what she will ultimately create. "Stone has a life of its own. It has its own innards. You have to be flexible working with it. The community has to be flexible," she said.

Wheeler said the Sunday afternoon event was an opportunity to not only announce the next sculpture project, but to also bring together the Friends of Carroll County Library and the Friends of the Mary Lou Dewey Sculpture Park.

The Friends of the Mary Lou Dewey Sculpture Park is a charitable organization established to assist in the purchase and placement of new sculpture, maintenance and beautification of the Westminster library park.

In addition to the sculpture announcement, the afternoon was also an opportunity for participants to appreciate history and the importance of books. 

Israelson related how the library impacted her young life while growing up in a diverse Portland neighborhood.

"Where I grew up, there was no art. The library saved my life", she said. "I could find everything in the library. I was an early reader."

Whispaw, currently the home of Captain and Mrs. Philip Mullikin, was the Dewey family home from 1954 to 1982. It was in this Maryland Registry of Historic Properties that Mary Lou Dewey and her husband Allen raised their children.

Two of the Dewey children, daughters Ariel and Elizabeth, attended the event to share stories of Whispaw and honor their mother's love of books, art and history.

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