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Kearneysville potter honored with Distinguished Arts Award for lifetime achievement

Governor Joe Manchin III honored Kearneysville potter Pam Parziale with the top honor, the Distinguished Arts Award, at the 2005 Governor’s Arts Awards this evening at the Cultural Center in Charleston. The event was hosted by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

Parziale is a working artist, arts administrator and activist. A full-time studio potter, she has been the co-owner of Sycamore Pottery in Kearneysville since 1971. A graduate of Colby College, she served a three-year apprenticeship with potter Vally Possony. She has continued her professional training through seminars at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and through travel to Sicily, where she has studied ancient Mediterranean pottery.

Parziale’s work includes numerous commissions for groups like the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her work also has been featured in exhibitions at the West Virginia Cultural Center, the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion, the Stifel Fine Arts Center of Oglebay Institute, the Boarman Arts Center, The Art Store and Sunrise Museum, among others.

She has served with distinction on the boards of a number of local, state and regional arts organizations. She was president of the Jefferson County Arts Council from 1977-79 and served on the board of the Boarman Arts Center from 1987-90. Parziale is a founding member of the Arts Advocacy West Virginia Foundation and was on the board of the Arts Advocacy Committee of West Virginia. She was on the West Virginia Commission on the Arts from 1984-92, including a term as chairman from 1989-92— the first artist to hold that position. She also has served on the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation board.

In 1992, Parziale initiated a survey of Jefferson County’s cultural resources for the Jefferson County Commission. She was the recipient of the West Virginia Women’s Commission “Celebrate Women Arts Award” in 2000.

The other two finalists for the Distinguished Arts Award were Elizabeth “Libby” Francis of New Martinsville, who was celebrated for her 50-year career as an educator, theater director and choral master, and Harold “Hal” O’Leary of Wheeling, who founded the Towngate Theatre and has brought theater arts to the Northern Panhandle for 55 years.

The gala awards ceremony and reception was hosted by West Virginia native and Academy Award nominee Morgan Spurlock, who created the award-winning 2004 documentary “Super-Size Me.”

For more information, call (304) 558-0220.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.