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Parkersburg Art Center offers ‘Great Escape’

Parkersburg Art Center launched its 2021 Regional Exhibit: The Great Escape Friday night. The art, which includes paintings, sculptures, wood collages, photography and other media, are displayed on both the first and second floors of the Art Center. Pictured, from left, are The Poets Tree by Nicole Harris; The Acadia: Nature’s Tree of Life by Adam Smith and Water Whittles Away by Pat Cross. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

PARKERSBURG — Friday Night launched the official opening of the Parkersburg Art Center’s 2021 Regional Exhibit: The Great Escape.

Artists living within 100 miles of Parkersburg were invited to enter the exhibit.

“I saw art be submitted by people from Point Pleasant, Hurricane, Charleston, Ravenswood, Ripley, Marietta and Athens,” said Abby Hayhurst, Artistic Director at the Parkersburg Art Center. “There are probably a lot more cities represented … these are just the people I know personally.”

In fact, the Best in Show winner, Gerry Enrico, is from Point Pleasant, and Pat Cross, who won first place in 2-D art, is from Hurricane. Of the six Merit awards, only two recipients are locals.

Hayhurst said that each artist was allowed to submit up to 5 pieces of art.

“We had over 40 artists submit work, totaling over 100 pieces that are on display,” she said.

The art, which includes paintings, sculptures, wood collages, photography and other media, are displayed on both the first and second floors of the art center.

The Art Center’s “Regional” Exhibit is always held in the summer in odd-numbered years. Anyone may enter (amateur or professional artists) and there is usually a theme. This year, the theme was “Great Escape.”

The artists were challenged to create works that reflected all the places their minds took them, when they were quarantined during COVID, according to Hayhurst.

The Regional exhibit alternates with “The River,” a group exhibit that takes place in the summer months of even-numbered years. “The River” is for professional artists who live anywhere in West Virginia or Ohio, and should have been held in 2020, but was canceled due to COVID.

“They have been stuck at home for more than a year, and we’re betting area artists have used this time to create,” said the Parkersburg Art Center on its event page. “With no way to travel, minds have taken us on fantastical journeys. We want to see the results.”

Some awards were handed out at Friday’s opening, by juror Alison Helm, who is the Director of the School of Art and Design at West Virginia University.

The people’s choice award will not be awarded until Aug. 30. Everyone coming to the Art Center gets a ballot to vote.

The exhibit will remain on display until Aug. 28 and will be open during regular hours, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the gallery is always free for PAC members and children. Cost is a $2 donation for others. Wednesdays are always free all day for anyone.

Hayhurst said Friday night’s opening was great.

“It (the opening) was the first opportunity for many of these artists to get together since the COVID restrictions were lifted,” said Hayhurst. “And we got to visit with people we haven’t seen for two years.”

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com

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Awards and Winners

* TEPLEY AWARD: Marlene L’Abbe

(This prize is given each year in the name of Ron and Ruth Tepley, who established a fund at the Parkersburg Community Foundation to reward art that is both excellent and unique.)

MERIT AWARDS:

* Beth Nash

* Tanya Wilder

* Joe Watring

* Dorsey Northrup

* Tracy Hein

* Connaught Cullen

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* First Prize, Photo/Digital: Damon Rhodes

* First Prize, for Two-Dimensional work: Pat Cross

* First Prize, for Three-Dimensional work: Henry Aglio

* First Prize for Theme: Virginia Killian

* Best in Show: Gerry Enrico

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