January 22, 2010
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History has opened a new exhibit, West Virginia Watercolor Society: 25 Years of Excellence, in the Balcony Gallery of the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. An opening reception to celebrate the show will be held there on Thursday, Jan. 28, from 6 - 8 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and the public is invited to attend. The show will remain on display through Feb. 28.
The evening’s event will begin with an awards ceremony in the Norman L. Fagan, West Virginia State Theater. Jeannine Romano, president of the West Virginia Watercolor Society (WVWS) and Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History will make opening remarks and introduce Natalie Tennant, secretary of state, who will present a People’s Choice Award and Lifetime Achievement Award to two of the artists in the show. There also will be a slide presentation by the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Marilyn Hughey Phillis.
Hughey Phillis exhibits her work internationally and has been inducted into the Kent Ohio Hall of Fame as well as the Wheeling, West Virginia Hall of Fame. She is the author of the best-selling book, Watermedia Techniques for Releasing the Creative Spirit. In 1996, she was designated by American Artist Magazine as a Master Artist along with Andrew Wyeth, Red Grooms, Philip Pearlstein, Edward Betts and others.
The reception will take place in the Great Hall with refreshments and music by the Montclaire String Quartet, which is celebrating its 20th year as Quartet-in-Residence of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Last year, the quartet in conjunction with the West Virginia Symphony, was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant to present works by American composers. This led to a series of highly successful programs statewide featuring the works of Darol Anger among others.
The West Virginia Watercolor Society: 25 Years of Excellence exhibit consists of 52 works which reveal the diversity of the group’s membership. The show has objective and non-objective works in many styles from abstract to realistic and expressionistic to impressionistic. Some pieces use fairly new materials such as Aquaboard, a clay coated hardboard panel, and Yupo paper, a tree-free synthetic paper.
Several artists in the group also have been juried into and are signature members of national societies, as well as established artists in their local business communities.
Romano says the motto of the WVWS is “To promote and ensure the high standards of the art of watercolor painting in the state of West Virginia,” a slogan that is put into action by members of the group who teach professionally in public schools and retirees who still teach community classes. “These fabulous artists are building a legacy of excellence that will continue to grow far into the future,” she added.
West Virginia Watercolor Society: 25 Years of Excellence is a traveling exhibit that has been on the road since June 2009. The exhibition has already been to the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Parkersburg Art Center, Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling and is finishing its tour at the Culture Center.
For more information about the exhibit, contact Charles Morris, collections and exhibits manager for the Division, at (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. Its administrative offices are located at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Culture Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.