SW Resources artists showing work at Parkersburg Art Center
PARKERSBURG — The work of a number of artists employed at SW Resources will be on display for the next month at the Parkersburg Art Center, creating “Windows of Opportunity” for the community to come and see their work.
The “Windows of Opportunity” exhibit features 58 pieces by artists Linda Alexander, Forest Ash, Charlene Dawson, Jenny Ferruso, Kristi Garrison and Colin Kelley, who are all part of the “Marble Tree” creative group, a division of SW Resources designed as a way for SW clients to express themselves in a creative and productive manner.
Officials with SW Resources have been interested in setting up a show featuring the Marble Tree people and had gotten on the slate for next year, art center Director Abby Hayhurst said. However, something happened and this exhibit came about after the organizers of another planned show had to cancel.
“I called the people at SW Resources and asked how quickly they could have something together,” she said. “They said ‘We’re ready.’
“I think it is a fabulous show. I love it,” she said
SW Resources Public Relations Manager Angela Phelps said they approached the center about a month ago about doing a show. It was only through a lucky break that a slot opened up for them to come in now and do this show.
“We have been wanting to get our artists out there in the community and let folks know what we are actually doing at SW Resources,” Phelps said. “We have six artists that produce art every day.
“It gives them the means to be able to do something productive with their art.”
Each one of the artists is a client at SW Resources with their own disabilities.
“They are just excellent with art,” Phelps said. “It is amazing what we can throw at them and they can do.”
Each of the framed works has been created using paper cut from recycled magazines, Hayhurst said. Thousands of tiny cut pieces of colored paper, patiently glued into place, has gone into the creation of each piece.
“What they are is ‘billions and billions’ of teeny-weeny pieces of paper,” she said. “The degree of patience to make one of these pieces is just incredible.”
Many of the pieces have been photographed and used as prints.
“We have the originals,” Hayhurst said of the art center exhibit. “He prints are quite pretty, but the originals are even cooler.”
Kristi Garrison is one of the artists featured in the show.
“It is actually relaxing,” she said of the process involved in creating the works.
She is currently working on a mosaic of a dilapidated barn.
When she is working, it gets her mind off of other things happening in her life. Once she gets going, she can lose track of time. Only intending to work four hours on a piece at home, sometimes she can put nine hours or more into a piece.
“It’s fun,” Garrison said. “When I first started I did a Christmas tree with presents that was huge.
“It took me four months to do. Now, it takes around 15 days to do a piece.”
Some of the other artists can do pieces in as little as five to eight days.
SW Resources had a number of magazines donated which is where the paper pieces for the mosaics come from, Phelps said.
“We try to recycle what we get,” she said. “That is how the mosaics were born.”
Joyce Boone, the supervisor for the artists, said they start with a line design and transfer it to an art board. Going through the different colors of tiny paper pieces the artists have available to them, they begin putting the pieces together, she said.
“They pick them out just like someone would pick out paint,” she said.
The prints of the works are sold on their own. They are also used on note cards, Christmas cards and as designs for other products at SW Resources, Boone said.
The other part of the exhibit has 15 windows that the artists, some of who teamed up, have painted in different designs. The windows were donated by Marietta College who wanted them recycled in a creative manner.
“We have them hung in several different ways,” Hayhurst said. “They use a special alcohol-based ink that allows for a lot of transparency.
“It is like a stained-glass window. When light comes through them they are really pretty.”
Phelps said the windows came to them following a renovation project at the college.
Marble Tree is SW Resources’ artistic division. In addition to the mosaic artists, they also have jewelry makers, people who work with glass and the division also creates dog toys and rugs.
“It is a means for the artists to have a productive way of doing their art,” Phelps said.
Linda Alexander, one of the other artists featured in the show, had no experience with art before coming to SW Resources and has since excelled at it. She has 13 pieces in the show.
“I like the peacefulness of it,” Alexander said. “I can sit there and think of nothing but doing the piece.
“It is quiet. I had seven kids and quiet means a lot.”
She credits working with good people for creating a positive environment.
“Everyone is friendly,” Alexander said. “No arguments. No disagreements.”
SW Resources were thankful to Hayhurst for setting up the show, while Hayhurst was thankful for them being able to have everything ready at the last minute.
Phelps said the exhibit will show the community some of the different things going on at SW Resources.
“There are a lot of people in the community who don’t know we have this,” she said. “We do these and we do commission work as well.
“If someone has an idea of something they want to do they can bring it to us.”
Looking at each piece, Hayhurst said she was continually impressed with the intricate work done with each.
The exhibit will be on display through May 13 and is open for viewing Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the art center at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg.
“We are really proud of these artists and we are pleased to have their work here at the art center,” Hayhurst said.
Daily admission is $2 for adults. There is no charge for children under 12, members of the art center, clients of SW Resources, or those who have family members on active duty in the military.