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New exhibition at the Cultural Center to feature photography and hand-crafted baskets

(photos below release)


The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will unveil a new exhibition, One Up One Down, on Friday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m. in the Lobby and Balcony Galleries of the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The free exhibition and reception are open to the public. The show will remain on display through July 14.

The exhibition will feature digital photographs of flowers by Charleston artist Robin Hammer and the work of Parkersburg basketmakers Cynthia W. Taylor and Aaron Yakim. The show will consist of 12 photographs and 12 baskets. In addition, an accompanying exhibition, which Taylor and Yakim curated and helped design, will be incorporated. It includes step-by-step photographs of the craft, pieces of wood, tools, baskets in progress, three traditional baskets, and illustrations with explanations of the history and process of basketmaking.

Hammer received his bachelor of fine arts degree from Memphis School for the Arts in 1969. His work currently can be seen at Taylor Books, Parkersburg Center for the Arts and the West Virginia Architectural Association. His collaborative works with Charleston artist Chris Dutch are available at the Art Store Gallery in Charleston and Tamarack in Beckley.

He has received numerous awards including two merit awards with Dutch in 1997 and 2001 and a Governor’s Award in 1995 in the West Virginia Juried Exhibition at the Cultural Center, a photography award in the West Virginia Guild Show in Wheeling in 2002, and several more awards with Dutch in the Allied Artists of West Virginia annual juried exhibitions. In addition to his art, Hammer works as web administrator, graphic designer and photographer for the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services and has served as a facilitator for figure-drawing classes at Taylor Books from 2000 to the present.

He says of his work in this exhibition, “I have always been interested in flowers of all kinds. They have continued to inspire all my work in one way or another. I have come back to photography as a medium for expressing some of the wonder I see in the life cycle of a blossom.”

Taylor and Yakim, who operate White Oak Baskets in Parkersburg, make baskets collaboratively and as independent artists. Their work has been featured in many exhibitions including Baskets Now 2003 at the Yeiser Arts Center in Paducah, Ky.; Objects for Use: Handmade by Design at the American Craft Museum in New York in 2001-02; Naturally, Baskets at the Connell Gallery in Atlanta in 2001; Appalachian White Oak Basketmaking at the Folk Art Center in Asheville, N.C., in 1999-2000; and Tradition Bearers at the Decorative Arts Museum in Little Rock, Ark., among others.

They shared an Award of Excellence from the Ohio Designer Craftsmen exhibition in Columbus, Ohio, in 1994 and 1997 and a Best Quality and Best Presentation Award at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Crafts Fair in Virginia, and both were recognized as Master Traditional Artists at the 1996 National Folk Festival in Dayton, Ohio. Taylor also has received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in Crafts in 1997, while Yakim received a Crafts Fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts of the Division of Culture and History in 1997.

Yakim, a native of Charleroi, Pa., says of his craft, “Tree, knife, and time . . . the basic simplicity of materials and process appeals to my sense of efficiency. Add the deep roots of tradition, and I have a complete food.”

For more information about One Up One Down, call Stephanie Lilly, exhibits coordinator for the Division at (304) 558-0220, ext. 128.

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 Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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Media Note: Robin Hammer may be reached at (304) 766-2519 Monday - Thursday or by e-mail at Cynthia Taylor and Aaron Yakim can be reached at (304) 424-6559 or by e-mail at

Ginny Painter
Director of Public Information
West Virginia Division of Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
Phone (304) 558-0220
Fax (304) 558-2779

Asia by Robin Hammer
photograph by Robin Hammer
Southern Cross by Robin Hammer
"Southern Cross"
photograph by Robin Hammer
Egg Basket by Cynthia Taylor
Egg Basket with side handles by Cynthia Taylor
photo by Jim Osborn
Deep Converging basket by Taylor
Deep converging ribbed basket by Cynthia Taylor
photo by Jim Osborn
Egg basket by Aaron Yakim
Vertically ribbed egg basket by Aaron Yakim
photo by Jim Osborn
Oval ribbed basket by Yakim
Oval vertically ribbed basket by Aaron Yakim
photo by Jim Osborn