The heron statue at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum has not only a fresh coat of paint, but a fresh new look thanks to local artist Amy Davis.

The statue at the museum is one of the many herons located throughout St. Mary’s County as part of a 2005 community arts project partnership between the St. Mary’s County Public Schools and the St. Mary’s Arts Council.

Within the course of four months, Ms. Davis, who is also the Administrator at the museum, dedicated over 80 hours of her own time to the project sanding and chipping the multiple previous layers of paint, applying reconstructive materials, primer, and finally the intricate details of the finished statue.

“The heron here at the museum had deteriorated over the years, with peeling paint and a significant amount of damage to the fiberglass. I felt it was important to repaint the statue, in keeping with the spirit of the original arts project. Projects like this are incredibly valuable in that public art has the power to influence how both residents and visitors see and connect with a place.  Community art brings people together to share with the creative process, and beautifies their hometown. It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun and rewarding to experience the fellowship of a community-wide project.”

The statue is painted as a Blue Heron wearing a uniform that represents a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, complete with real Chief’s anchors and ribbons and awards affixed to it. “One of our volunteers had the idea to use actual uniform components instead of painting them on”, Davis explained. She went on to note that the rank, warfare devices, and ribbons are all from that volunteer, who retired from the Navy in 2011, to preserve authenticity. Originally painted to show a Navy Chief in a dress blue uniform, Davis explained that she decided on the khaki uniform after talking with a few Navy veterans who expressed that the latter is what the Navy Chief is best known for.

Along with having her art and photography showcased in various venues in Maryland and North Carolina, this is her third community art project.  Davis was commissioned in 2010 to paint two bears, Home Town Bernie and Mitchell Bear, for the “Bear Town Bears” in New Bern, North Carolina.

For more pictures of the Pax Museum heron project, see the album on their Facebook page.