Parkersburg Art Center opens three exhibits
PARKERSBURG — There were three exhibits which opened Sunday at the Parkersburg Art Center which show off a variety of disciplines.
The exhibits highlight the skills of woodturning, photography and other mediums. All of the exhibits will be on display until Dec. 31 at the art center at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg.
“We have around 212 pieces of art in the building,” said Abby Hayhurst, executive director of the Parkersburg Art Center. “A lot of it is for sale so if people are Christmas shopping, this is a good place to start. We will be open on Shop Small Saturday (Nov. 26) and will have deals all day.
“It is a good way to support the arts and buy something that is original.”
The woodturning exhibit is called “Turn, Turn, Turn” and features the work of area woodturners. Many did intricate pieces, some shaped like vases, trophies, chess pieces and more.
“The woodturning is fabulous,” Hayhurst said. “There are some really beautiful pieces.”
The “Women of Appalachia Project,” which is a show the art center hosts every year, features the work of 40 artists in 61 pieces this year who are from West Virginia and Ohio.
“For people who live here, it doesn’t take long to realize that people have an image of an Appalachian woman and they look down on her,” said Kari Gunter-Seymour, founder and curator of the Women of Appalachia Project.
The project is an effort to address the discrimination of women from the Appalachian region. The work in the exhibit comes from women of diverse backgrounds and ages coming together and showing what truly exists in women here beyond the stereotypes.
There is a fine art and spoken word part to the program. The spoken word artists are performing throughout the region in the coming weeks, including 28 artists, on Dec. 16 at the art center in Parkersburg.
The mediums featured in the exhibit on display at the art center include painting, handmade paper, photography, sculpture and more.
“We have a lot of mixed media pieces here,” Gunter-Seymour said.
The purpose of the project is to show the diverse work of female artists throughout the region. The group features work of many women from a variety of different backgrounds and lifestyles.
“Appalachian women artists matter, that we are strong and that we matter,” Gunter-Seymour said. “We are strong and we are viable and we are as good at what we do as anyone in the United States.
“We are proud of the work we do. We are proud to be Appalachian. To us, family and honor are very important. We like to maintain those standards while we produce our art and share it with others.”
One of the people featured in the Women of Appalachia Project was Marcy Nighswander, of Athens. Nighswander did photojournalism in Washington, D.C., during the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She now teaches photojournalism at Ohio University.
She has two pictures of a farmer near Athens and vultures/buzzards she came across in southeastern Ohio. The pictures were things she came across while out in the region.
“I just thoroughly enjoy just taking pictures,” she said. “I wanted to do some personal projects.”
She enters the show every year.
“I think it is fun to enter something in the regional show, because I get to meet people and meet artists from this area,” Nighswander said. “Being a photojournalist, I was published all over the world, but there is much more of a community feel to this.”
“Take Your Best Shot” features pieces by 65 area photographers who are in local photography clubs.
Robert Klovis, president of the Parkersburg Area Photography Club, said they have members involved with the art center and when the opportunity comes up to show work, they make sure they let their members know about it. They have regular competitions within the club.
“I tell our members to get those pictures and have them nicely framed,” he said.
Klovis told the members since the showing was at the art center, photos of local scenes may have the most impact.
“If we can get local photos, we feel they would be more representative and people would be more inclined to look at them and, hopefully, purchase them,” he said. “I think it worked out pretty well.”
All of the work is featured in each show is by artists from throughout the region.
“It is all of local interest which is pretty cool,” Hayhurst said.
The entire show is being sponsored by WesBanco. Jonelle Merritt, administrative assistant at WesBanco, handles the regular art exhibits the bank hosts each month featuring a variety of local artists.
“We sponsor an exhibit like this at least once a year,” Merritt said. “We try to do one exhibit here once a year and every month we have the works of different artists hanging in our bank” on Market Street in downtown Parkersburg.
The art center regularly helps the bank find artists to feature in the monthly shows.
“We are big on supporting the arts in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” Merritt said. “This is a great showing and we have enjoyed everything that has happened here.
“It is something we have always done and hope to continue to do.”
Hayhurst commended the bank for its support.
“We are thankful to WesBanco because sponsorship allows us to mount a big exhibit like this,” she said.