Paul Downs brings his much loved stick art to the New Deal Café with beautiful renditions of animals and birds and even amphibians. See his latest stick sculptures of a Maine loon, a diving falcon, a fox, a bat, owls and frogs. In addition you find yourself yearning to sit under a big oak tree or heading out on a canoe trip, perhaps to harvest some pumpkins. Downs creates all of these using local found materials including white oak, wild black cherry, tulip poplar, pine, sassafras, red twig dogwood and maple sticks. For nearly 35 years he has honed his skill down a trail no one else has ventured. His artistic expressions range from the power of wing-stretched soaring owls to a delicate frog leaping into the air to an enshrined note of Joy, Love, or Peace. He brings the viewer into a world of color and design and seemingly gravity-defying wall-hung sculptures that will delight and amaze – while at the same time bringing the peacefulness one would gain from a walk in the woods.
Downs, a native of Greenbelt, grew up exploring, playing and falling in love with the woods– the Great North Woods, as he called them – of Greenbelt. When this belt of green came under the threat of development in the late 1980s, Downs became a leader in the successful crusade to save these woods – now named the Greenbelt Forest Preserve. In 2013, Downs and the original members of the Committee To Save the Green Belt were awarded the first National Forest Advocate Award by the Old-Growth Forest Network. In 2017, 15 years after the forest was put into the protection of the forest preserve ordinance by the Greenbelt City Council, Downs was named Outstanding Citizen at the Labor Day Festival – thereby honoring the work he and the Committee to Save the Greenbelt did to save our namesake – the Green Belt.