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Artists take to the virtual stage for heARTS of the MOV

(Photo Illustration)

PARKERSBURG — The heARTS of the MOV, a virtual variety show featuring the works of local artists and a host of national and international artists who support them, aired their first of 13 episodes on Facebook Friday. The Arts Collaborative of the Mid-Ohio Valley, a joint initiative of the area’s arts organizations, is hosting the shows.

The heARTS showcase is designed to highlight the talent in the Mid-Ohio Valley and some friends of the Mid-Ohio Valley that are scattered across the nation and around the world. Every week’s episode will feature at least four entertainers from a variety of backgrounds, including singers, dancers, actors, novelists, bands, choirs, musicians, poets, painters and potters.

“I am so excited to be a part of this collaboration and get the chance to spread a little happiness and joy at this time,” said RJ Lowe, an actor and director with the Actors Guild of Parkersburg during the episode.

The first episode featured the Parkersburg High School A Capella Choir; a performance and interview from American R&B and soul singers: Theo Peoples, Joe Coleman and Joe Blunt; some art tips from the Parkersburg Art Center; some poetry reading; songs from shows put on by the actors guild and a few other acts.

Blunt, with the Voices of Classic Soul and former singer with the Drifters, was thrilled to be a apart of the collaboration and share music with people.

“Historically, music has always been there to help us back up when we are down,” said Blunt. “In times like these when the whole world is upside-down, people reach for music to soothe the soul.”

“Music and love are a great combination to get us through hard times, especially when what we really need is each other, but we have to be apart,” said Coleman, with the Voices of Classic Soul and former singer with the Platters. “Because when we listen to music, we can reflect on great times when we had together.”

West Virginia University at Parkersburg is home of the Arts Collaborative, which is supported by a grant from the Ross Foundation.

“Art in all its form is powerful, healing and much needed right now,” said WVUP President Chris Gilmer. “The collaborative and all our partners want to bring something good, something positive, something encouraging and something new during this time of uncertainty.”

Host organizations are Artsbridge, the Parkersburg Actors Guild, the Parkersburg Art Center, The Historic Smoot Theatre, ArtBeat Studios at the Wood County Society, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra – Parkersburg, Schrader Youth Ballet, the Parkersburg Children’s Museum and WVU Parkersburg.

Michael Enoch of Enoch Productions, a WVUP alumnus, has volunteered his services to support the showcase and local artists. WVUP students and staff designed the event.

Each episode, including the one from Friday night can be viewed on the Arts Collaborative of the Mid-Ohio Valley Facebook page.

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com

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