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Famous sculptor will add to Md. sculpture park

Antonio Tobias “Toby” Mendez, the sculptor who created the statues of Cal Ripken Jr. and other Orioles players at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, will be sculpting a bronze relief for the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library.

Mendez will join two other artists in the Mary Lou Dewey Sculpture Park, located just outside of the library. The sculpture will be a bronze relief sculpture, meaning it will be mounted to a wall, but have three dimensional elements to it, he said. Mendez intends to have an agricultural scene on the bronze relief, he said.

“It will be a celebration of the history of agriculture in Carroll County,” Mendez said.

Mendez announced the sculpture last weekend at the Westminster Flower and Jazz Festival, where residents enjoyed swing dancing and music in the park.

Lynn Wheeler, the director of Carroll County Public Libraries, said part of the intent of the sculpture garden is for special events like the festival where Mendez announced the new project. Maintaining the park will keep the space inclusive, Lisa Back, the public relations specialist for the library, said.

“Our main goal is to keep the park the way it is looks now,” Wheeler said.

Commissioning a bronze statue isn’t cheap, though — Wheeler said the bronze lion, titled “Wild Imaginings” by Bart Walter which sits outside of the library, cost $100,000. There were also additional costs like the granite and laying a proper foundation, Wheeler said.

Like for the previous projects, this project is funded through private donors with the Friends of the Mary Lou Dewey Sculpture Park, a nonprofit with the Community Foundation of Carroll County, Wheeler said. Fundraising for the project will begin this summer, Wheeler said.

Mendez said while he doesn’t have a particular scene in mind yet for the bronze relief, he intends to start sketching ideas this month, and expects to have it completed in about a year.

He has created works that range from sports figures to political figures, but an agricultural scene shouldn’t be too far out of his element.

“I’ve done a lot of projects that celebrate the working man,” he said.

A bronze relief is a little different than other sculptures, because it focuses more on the drawing and rendering of the form, he said.

Back said that while many residents in Westminster no longer live on a farm, and instead travel the 30 minutes to work in Baltimore, agriculture is a very historical and important piece of the county.

Hilary Hatfield, the president of Art Collector’s Athenaeum, helps facilitate public work projects like Mendez’s, she said. As the former executive director of the Carroll Arts Council, she said it is wonderful to be working with the community.

“I think with Toby (Mendez’s) piece, it really connects with the roots with the community,” she said.