The newest addition to the project: a life-sized chainsaw carving of Meshach Browning!
During the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce's Business After Hours event on August 8th 2019, the Deep Creek Lake Lions unveiled the latest addition to the community park on Bumble Bee Road - a life size chainsaw-carved statue of Meshach Browning. New additions to the art installation created by the Blind Campers and Blind Skiers were also on display. The Club operates the 30 acre park under a long-term lease with the county, which owns the property.
"The park was originally begun in 1981" said Club President Joey Simson "and was honestly beginning the show its age. So around five years ago, we began an initiative to renovate and revitalize the park."
The first project completed under the initiative was the construction of the county's first public dog park in 2014. The dog park was funded through a mixture of donations, club funds and public grants, while planning and execution was a joint effort between a local teacher and her class, HART for Animals and the Club, setting a precedent for multi-organizational partnerships for future projects. Since then, the club has worked with private and public organizations as well as individuals, to improve existing features or bring new ones to the park.
"We are particularly proud of our Blind Skier and Camper art installation", noted Simson at the event. "led by our previous Club President, Samantha Stumpf, we developed an art activity where the kids would create their own section of a ceramic totem pole which are now part of a permanent installation at the park" At the event, the Club had on display hand-painted raised letter tiles that were the most recent project from the Skiers and Campers programs.
The club's most recent improvement project was the opening of the Meshach Browning trail system and historical exhibit in January 2019. The Club improved and cleared over 10 miles of trails on over 100 acres of county-owned land adjacent to the park and installed a historical exhibit at the trailhead themed around Meshach Browning, an early settler of what would become Garrett County in the early 1800's. The Club worked with Garrett Trails for trail clearing, and with the Garrett County Historical Society, as well as an informal group of amateur historians, to develop content for the historical exhibit. One of the amateur historians, who desired to remain anonymous, wanted to additionally contribute to the construction of a lasting monument to Browning. The Club worked with the donor to find an appropriate piece that fit the budget and commissioned a life-sized chain saw carving of Meshach Browning to be installed at the trailhead.
Jessica Spiker of Jessie Lee Chainsaw Art was selected as the artist for the piece. She began the work with a white pine log estimated at over 200 years old which was harvested around the New Germany area near US Route 40. Since this area was frequented by Browning during his hunting expeditions, it is possible that he passed by the sapling of this log. In preparation for the project, Ms Spiker contacted the historical society and through her research, was able to ascertain the exact measurements of Browning's shot bag and powder horn as well as discovering that he often stuffed his pant legs with grass to defend against rattlesnakes and was able to reproduce these details on the statue. The statue was unveiled at the conclusion of the event by Spiker and Club Member Chris Nichols.
"Not only is this statue a great addition to the park and trail system by itself" said Nichols, "but we are hoping it will form the cornerstone of future art and interpretive projects themed around Browning and pioneer life in Garrett County. Our 'pie-in-the-sky' goal is to some day rebuild a pioneer-era log cabin here. We are always open to projects which bring great new stuff to our park"
Club adds scrap metal sculptures of Browning aiming at a prize buck to outdoor art installation
On April 22, 2020, the Club took delivery of the latest addition to the outdoor art installation at its community park on Bumble Bee Road - life size reclaimed metal statues of Meshach Browning and a buck. They were created by local artist Joshua Sines (http://joshuasines.com/) and were funded via a Creativity Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Sines creates his work from recycled metal, mainly used auto parts that would otherwise be destined for the the scrap yard.
We want your creativity!
We are creating a community art project consisting of panels painted by community members that will be assembled into a larger mosaic. The panels are 3D printed relief portraits of Browning and his dogs with a spot for you to sign your name so you'll be able to identify your contribution. We'll send you the panel, a mini-sculpture of Browning that's yours to keep and an informational brochure and map of the County showing sites from his book.
We'll have the unveiling of this project on Sept 29th at noon. Click here for more details!
Watch the video for more information on the project!