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Cultural Center features pen and ink drawings in new exhibition

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History unveiled a new exhibition, In Black and White: Steve Opet, Pen and Ink Drawings, on May 10 in the Lobby Gallery of the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The free exhibition will remain on display through June 23.

An artist hailing from Weirton, Opet is well known for his black and white drawings which he creates using a ballpoint pen. His attention to detail is clearly visible in his mostly figurative work. He says, “I like contrast, line and form, and sometimes I throw in a little color to spice things up and tease the viewer’s eye.”

Opet’s work centers on people and he prefers to use old photographs as reference points. He searches through family albums, magazines and books for likely subjects, looking for images that provoke him to draw. “The photographs that I use reflect everyday life in America, something most viewers can identify with and have feelings for,” he says. The 12 pieces of art in the exhibition represent more than 20 years of his work.

Beginning in 1977, Opet entered his art in local shows, earning more than 50 awards over the years, including four Best of Show and five special awards. He also has won seven first-place awards for illustrative art in the Army-wide Keith L. Ware Annual Competition for excellence in journalism.

Opet received an associate degree in art from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1975, and later, while on active duty with the U.S. Army Reserve, earned a bachelor of arts degree from Point Park College in Pittsburgh. In addition to his art and being an active reservist, Opet works for Weirton Steel as a campaign/outage planner in the operations services department.

For more information about In Black and White: Steve Opet, Pen and Ink Drawings, contact Stephanie Lilly, exhibits coordinator for the Division, at (304) 558-0220, ext. 128.

Visitors are invited to view the exhibit and tour the West Virginia State Museum. The Cultural Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The Archives and History Library is closed on Sunday.