Parkersburg Art Center to open new exhibit

Image Provided “Pomegranates and Grapes,” transparent watercolor by Chris Krupinski

PARKERSBURG — Professional artists from all over West Virginia and Ohio will have their works on display at the Parkersburg Art Center in an exhibit opening Sunday.

The showing kicks off with an opening reception and awards ceremony from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this event. According to Art Center officials, this will be the third year for “The River,” a biennial showing designed to feature works by practicing artists from both states.

“We designed ‘The River’ show to happen in opposite years from our Regional show, which is for all artists — amateur and professional. The River is an exhibit for those who actively earn at least part of their income in art fields,” said Abby Hayhurst, artist director of the Art Center.

“Another difference is that ‘The River’ is a juried exhibit, meaning that artists must submit works and be chosen for the show.”

Juror for “The River” was Gary Pettigrew, retired head of the Fine Art Department of Ohio University and a painter with works in many museums and private collections. Pettigrew received digital images of each of the 186 submitted works and chose 92 pieces to make up the show.

Image Provided “October Splendor,” photograph by Kevin King

“Having a juror of this caliber is one of the things that makes ‘The River’ an excellent exhibit,” Hayhurst said. “Because there are works in a great variety of mediums, we needed someone who was well-versed in all sorts of techniques. The other thing that makes ‘The River’ special is the sponsorship of United Bank and WVU Medicine/Camden Clark Medical Center. Because of their support, we can offer larger prizes and attract the best artists.”

Prize support was also given by National Heirship Research and Tellus Consulting Group.

As part of his Juror’s Statement, Pettigrew commented on the quality of work submitted, and the difficulty in choosing both the 92 accepted works and the prize winners. “I’ve helped judge ‘The River’ before, and this is the strongest field of submitted work that I have seen. Artists, you made my job too tough.”

Pettigrew added that there are a number of factors involved in making his selections, the most important being the ideas that drive the works and the skills in creating them.

Presented at Sunday’s opening, the prizes include a $1,000 Best in Show prize; first, second and third places in two- and three-dimensional works, four Merit Awards, and two special awards created by Art Center members in memory of loved ones.

Image Provided “Welcome to the Blennerhassett,” acrylic by Martha Reynolds

“We are very grateful to Genevieve Khalil and Ron Tepley, who have designated awards in honor of the late Dr. Ghassan Khalil and Ruth Tepley. This allows us to expand the number of cash prizes we can present to our artists.”

Hayhurst noted that works were submitted from all over both states. “Our part of the country, joined by the Ohio River, is rich in talent.”

Admission to the opening reception is $10 for non-Art Center members, with no charge for members or young people aged 12 or below. “The River” will be open for viewing Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Aug. 25. Daily admission to the Art Center is $2 for non-members, with no charge for children under 12.