NANTICOKE, Md. — The idea just came to the Rev. David Herr, out of the blue, as they say.
Or it could have been divine intervention.
Herr, impressed with the natural beauty that surrounds his Nanticoke-Westside Parish of the United Methodist Church, thought the beauty of the area, concern for the environment, spirituality and artistic skills could come together for the betterment of the community.
An art contest, he envisioned, could pull everything together.
“I feel the modern church should be very aware to protect our environment, and if we get together a bunch of artists to paint nature scenes in the parish, that would be a lot of fun,” Herr said. “Some of the artists might be led to a higher degree of spirituality through God’s beautiful scenery and their God-given talents.”
To make it happen, Herr’s church, along with support from The Art Institute & Gallery, in Salisbury, will sponsor the Outdoor Art Contest — Paint the Parish.
“I serve three little United Methodist churches in Tyaskin, Bivalve and Nanticoke,” he said. “Not only is this area special, so are the people who live here. We want to share God’s beautiful scenery here through art.”
Under Herr’s direction, the contest will be open to all artists of all ages and degrees of ability. Entries must illustrate a scene within the parish and must be painted between June 3 and 9. Only two categories — watercolor and oil/acrylics — are covered in the contest.
“I paint a little,” Herr said, “and when I am in a seascape or landscape setting, painting, I feel I am communing with God. This is may way of praising God, thanking him for his gifts of natural beauty to us.”
Artist Christine Knudson of Nanticoke is excited about the first-of-its-kind contest.
“I love to paint and love to paint scenes in this area. And I want to support (the) Rev. Herr, too, because this is his ‘big project.’ He helped put a group of painters together who meet every Saturday between 2 and 4 p.m. at the Christian Center nearby, and we have a lot of fun. This is so much mystery about what everybody will come up with. It will be a challenge to come up with an scene and paint it in just seven days, but it can be done,” she said.
“I really am excited about this contest. I haven’t of anything like this being undertaken anywhere else,” Herr said. “Other pastors, who have heard about our Paint the Parish contest, have reacted positively. I’d like to think the concept was a streak of creativity from within my artistic personality,” he said, laughing. “We are limiting the number of artists entering to just 30 this year. This is our first show, we want to see how things go.”
Herr invites art lovers to come to the Christian Center and enjoy the diverse representations of the area’s natural beauty on Saturday, June 9.
Each artist may submit one entry. The entry fee is $10, and it can be mailed to Nanticoke United Methodist Church, PO Box 11, Nanticoke, Md. 21840.
Entries can be delivered to the Christian Center at 20549 Nanticoke Road, Nanticoke, from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 9.
Pictures may not exceed 24 by 24 inches, including matting and frame, and must be wired for display. The weight can not exceed 20 pounds. Some of the entries will be available for sale the day of the show.
Judges for the two categories will be provided by The Art Institute & Gallery who will make their selections at noon. Winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m. There is a $100 first place prize, $75 prize for second place and $50 prize for third place in each of the two categories.