Artworks member, Marilyn Phillis, honored

Artworks Around Town is very proud to announce that one of our founding members, Marilyn Hughey Phillis, AWS, NWS, has been honored for her many years of service and innovation to the Ohio Watercolor Society.  At the opening of the OWS Annual Juried Exhibition on November 3rd, in Columbus, Marilyn received the Jim Brower Lifetime Achievement Award from the society which included a beautifully engraved glass plaque.

Marilyn was a founding member of the Ohio Watercolor Society and has been a board member for the past 34 years.  She recently decided to step down from that position, siting numerous personal reasons, among them, the desire to allow younger members to step in and add fresh ideas and energy to the organization.

During her long tenure with the society, Marilyn served for 6 years as its President.  One of her many accomplishments while leading the OWS was organizing a unique national seminar which attracted artists from 26 states and lasted for 7 sessions.  Of this seminar Marilyn says, “It was a great time of learning for all, and out of that, came some experiences which were times of growth for other state organizations and individual artists.”

Anyone who knows Marilyn knows that receiving such a prestigious award only begins to acknowledge the lifetime of contributions that she has made to the arts.  Congratulations Marilyn!  It is an honor to have you as a founding member of Artworks.


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November Gallery Hop to feature the works of George Kocar

“I think we are all bozos on this bus”.  Adopting a comedy album title from the 1970’s group, Firesign Theater, artist George Kocar cogently sums up his philosophy toward his art.  “It is satire; it is flippant; it is the way I deal with this crazy world through my paintings and drawings.  The red noses, the eye glasses, the bad teeth, and the flying bananas are all symbols that I use to portray my vision of the world.”

Kocar’s work will be exhibited in the Studio Gallery of Artworks Around Town during the month of November.  The opening gallery hop will be friday evening, November 3rd, from 5:00 to 8:00.  Artworks is located in the North end of the historic Centre Market at 2200 Market Street in Wheeling.

George Kocar began his art education at Cuyahoga Community College. He graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in Studio Art.  He began his professional career at a small screen print shop in the nearby town of Macedonia, Ohio.  While there, he created a kind of illustration/logo for the city of Cleveland with the slogan, “Cleveland, you’ve got to be tough!”, which he defines as his first real success.

About this same time, his work was accepted into his first May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art, arguably one of the most prestigious juried art shows in the country.  This led to invitations to participate in other group shows and to the commencement of his work toward his MFA degree at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY.  At this point his career took a sharp upward trajectory.  As he tells the story, “Part of that program involved trips to New York City.  As a result, I obtained illustration commissions from Esquire, the New York Times and numerous others.  My work gained national attention and I got commissions from publications around the country.  I also started getting into New York City gallery shows.  In 1984 I was hired as an illustrator for American Greetings where I worked for the next eighteen years.  I continued freelancing for newspapers,and  magazines as well as painting; entering and getting into many shows.”

Among his one man shows are the Montserrat Gallery in New York; The Trumbull Art gallery in Warren, Ohio; The Erie Art Museum in Erie, Pa; The 5700 Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio.  Juried exhibitions include: “All Ohio”, Zanesvile Art Museum, Zanesville, Ohio; The Butler mid-year Exhibition, Butler Institute for American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; Fantastic Visions, the Limner Gallery, Phoenicia, NY; and many years at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Cleveland May Show.

Area residents may recall that Kocar had a one-man show at the Nutting Gallery, West Liberty University in 2011, curated by Gallery Director, Art Professor and well known local artist Robert Villamagna.  He urges observers to look beyond the “cartoonish” surface of his work to its artistic elements of color, design and composition.  That Kocar is a very fine artist is an opinion echoed by Marilyn Phillis, Artworks Around Town member and curator for the Studio Gallery.

Commenting on  his work she says,”He makes social statements with a quirky sense of humor. His art causes one to think, and requires time to get to an understanding of his message.  It is confrontation rather than the lyricism we expect from a work of art.  One of his characters is named Pablo.  Does that remind you of anyone?”

Kocar concludes his artist statement saying,”My attitude toward life has not changed after all these years.  I have experimented with different styles, loose and expressive as well as hard-edge and divisionist.  I am influenced by Picasso, Van Gogh, Munch and scores of cartoonists and illustrators. In true post-modern  fashion.  I borrow from everyone.

I continue to paint, and I still think we are all bozos on this bus.  In keeping with its tradition of providing a venue for the art work of younger children, the North Gallery will feature work by the students of Union Local Elementary School.
Also in the North Gallery: new, old, big, small, with painted designs, photographs, ribbons, shells, etc.  They are all boxes, emerging from the talent and original thinking of the members of  Artworks Around Town.  The Holidays are traditionally a time for putting things into boxes, but when does a box itself become the gift?  When, like these boxes, it becomes a work of art.

The Gallery Hop is free and open to all.  Guests will enjoy refreshments and an opportunity to meet the visiting artist as well as Artworks member artists. For further information visit us on the web at or call (304)232-7540.


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October Gallery Hop to feature the wildlife collage of Sharon Stolzenberger

Lifelong Dayton, Ohio, resident, Sharon Stolzenberger, is a wildlife artist. This statement is true! This statement is false! On Friday, October 5th, visitors to the Artworks Around Town Gallery Hop, will find, upon viewing her paintings, an answer to this seeming paradox. The Hop runs from 5 to 8 PM.
Her inspiration, imagination and the variety of media and techniques she employs produce fascinating images, which go far beyond the mere depiction of a nature subject. At the same time, her extensive study via fieldwork, life drawing and photography guarantee the authenticity of the images. So, she might more accurately be called, “An artist who specializes in wildlife”.
Sharon’s interest in art commenced at an early age when she enjoyed drawing and working with her hands doing crafts. She studied art in high school and her work won a Scholastic Magazine award. Despite her artistic talent, however, she started college with plans to be a veterinarian. This changed when she discovered that, “Math and chemistry were not my strong subjects, and art seemed more natural for me” she explained. This revelation led to a degree from the Dayton Art Institute followed by a period of working for the Gibson Greeting Card Co., first as an illustrator, and finally as Art Director. It was during this time that she started painting animals and found her true calling. As she expresses it, “I always had an interest in nature and the outdoors, but it didn’t fully come to expression until I started painting wildlife.”
Leaving the Gibson Co., she turned her full time attention to her art, doing outdoor juried art shows and fairs, teaching, and doing workshops and demos for art groups. During these years, she also traveled to Peru, Africa, Nepal and India for creative inspiration.
Sharon’s work appears in numerous art publications, has been shown in many prestigious galleries and juried exhibitions, and has won many awards, including: The Ohio Watercolor Society Silver Medal Award, Award of Excellence and Award of Distinction; Middletown Art Center Regional Show, Best of Show and President’s Award; The National Geographic Explorer’s Gallery; National Zoo Wildlife Show; Society of Animal Artists Annual Exhibitions and Travel Shows.
Sharon uses watercolor extensively in her work explaining that she loves its spontaneity and prefers the loose wet-in-wet technique for expressing the essence of her wildlife subjects. Intrigued with shapes, patterns and textures in nature, she has begun experimenting with collage, image transfers, acrylic and pencil to further explore the boundaries of interpreting nature themes.
Visitors to a gallery observing the works of art usually have little understanding of the time, effort and creativity that go into the production of the piece. Sharon has drawn back the curtain and explained to her viewers some of this process. She describes the painting “Secrets and Symbols” thus: “The piece evolved from an overall texture pattern I had painted on watercolor board. I used opaque values to subdue the background while at the same time creating the bird and antelope shapes. The painting was finished by a push/pull technique of painting and lifting colors, shapes and patterns.”
While this gives us some understanding and appreciation of the complexity of the creative process, it may not be very meaningful to non-artists, however, visitors to the Gallery Hop will be enlightened as Sharon is giving a demonstration during the evening. Working in the Studio Gallery, where there is plenty of room for observers, she will do a painting incorporating drawing, acrylic, collage and image transfer.
The exhibit in the North Gallery will be presented by Marian House. Also in the North Gallery will be a new project presented by the members of Artworks Around Town. Building on the success of the summer’s watering cans, members will decorate boxes for the winter months. Webster’s Dictionary defines a box as, “A rigid typically rectangular container with or without a cover.” Thinking outside the box is probably a better way to describe the varied and various “containers” visitors will find at the October Hop.
Artworks Around Town is located at the North end of the historic Centre Market at 2200 Market Street. Guests at the Gallery Hop will enjoy refreshments and music and will have an opportunity to meet gallery members as well as the visiting artist. As always, the Hop is free and open to all. For further information, visit the website at, or phone (304) 232-7540.

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September Gallery Hop – “Vision and Expression – Art of Yan Sun and Hong Yin”

The distance from China to Ohio’s Muskingum University is great, but that is the path traveled by internationally acclaimed artists, Yan Sun and Hong Yin, whose work will be exhibited in the Studio gallery of Artworks Around Town and introduced to the public at the Gallery Hop Friday, September 7th from 5:00 to 8:00PM.
Yan_SunYan Sun grew up in an intellectual household in China at the time of the “Cultural Revolution”, and was sent at the age of 14 to the countryside, first to work on a farm, and then, for the next 7 years, to work in the coal mines. One of the custodians in the mine was the former Art Editor of a Chinese publishing house. Yan Sun wanted this gentleman to give him art lessons, which he was finally, after much coaxing, persuaded to do. So his first art education came at the end of long, arduous days digging coal. Some of his earliest paintings are representations of these years.
With the return of the universities in China, Yan Sun continued his education in a more formalized setting, earning degrees, first at Northwest Normal University in Lanzhou and then at the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts. His M.F.A. in painting and drawing was awarded by Texas A&M University.
Presently Professor of Art and Gallery Director at Muskingum University, Yan Sun has received numerous honors for his work and his devotion to the community including the William Oxley Thompson award for excellence in teaching and the William Rainey Harper award for outstanding scholarship. The Zanesville Museum of Art named its “Diverse Cultures” Gallery after him, and Cambridge Mayor, Tom Orr presented the “Key to the City” to him for his time and his artistic efforts on behalf of the city’s residents, civic groups and other organizations.
If a single word could sum up his work, it might be “eclectic”. Employing a wide variety of media, techniques, and subject matter, it is difficult to believe upon viewing that this is all the work of one supremely talented artist.generation after generation
His most recent solo shows include exhibitions in the Zanesville Museum of Art; The Tuscarawas Center for the Arts; Canton Museum of Art; Wright State University; Ohio University; The Hayden Museum of American Art and Kordey Gallerie, both in Texas.
He has earned awards in local, national and international exhibitions including Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional, Southeast Ohio Watermedia Society, Cathedral International Juried Exhibition, Best of Show in the International Touring Art Exhibition. The Hayden Museum published Yan Sun’s paintings in books: “Life. Time. Space” and “Cross Culture. Cross century”
In expressing some of his philosophy of painting, Yan Sun says, “The best paintings are visualizations of the artist’s subjective feelings. Each artwork may not describe a specific story, but rather should attempt to challenge the mind and soul of the beholder and direct him to reflect upon philosophical ideas about life itself, as well as time and space.”
Watching a distinguished artist at work is a privilege afforded to few people, but visitors to the Gallery Hop will have just that opportunity. A very fortunate Ohio Valley resident will have his or her portrait painted by Yan Sun during the course of the evening. The artist has also very generously offered to donate the proceeds from this project to Artworks Around Town.
Yan Sun’s portraits are beautiful and various, featuring such diverse subjects as dancers and musicians, cowboys (and girls), Chinese children and families, Muskingum University Professors, and American Indians, with whom he feels a strong cultural and spiritual connection.
Hong_Yin Born in an artist home that is of Tibetan descent, Hong Yin started painting and drawing when she was a little girl. Growing up to seek a formal art education, she first attended Northwest China Normal University. Continuing her work at Xi’an Academy of Fine Art, she earned a Master’s degree in Western Art History. She received both an M.A. and a D.Ed. degree from Texas A&M Univsity where she was named “Alumni Ambassador”.
Hong Yin is now Assistant Professor of Art at Muskingum University teaching Western Art History and Graphic Design.
Her work has been chosen for exhibition in many juried shows such as: Murphy Hill Gallery, Chicago; Southeast Ohio Watermedia Society; Annual Ohio Exhibition, Zanesville Museum of Art; Women Artists Show, Butler Museum of Art, Youngstown; Visions IX Cathedral International Juried Exhibition. She was awarded “Best of Show” in 2010 at the Southeast Ohio Watermedia Society Show.
Hong Yin is the author of several books, including: “An Exploration Into Graphic Design”, “The Old Silk Road”, “Contemporary Chinese Painting” and “The Unity of Nature and Humanity-Chinese Mausoleum Stone Sculptures in the Tang Dynasty”.
While she is interested in many subjects in her painting, her favorite is the Tibetan people and land. She has traveled to the Tibetan area many times and finds endless inspiration for her art creations.
Hong Yin believes the infinite beauty of art is achieved through the artist’s creative imagination, in the presence of which “The Noise of this world dims” and the “viewer” is moved by the artistic impact of forms and meanings.”
john annie castor glenngolden eagle

The North Gallery of Artworks will host a display of art created by plein air painters which curator Bob Sako, describes as “Painted in Oglebay Park and other places”.
Anne Foreman, Chairman of the Special Projects Committee of the gallery wants everyone to know that there are still a few watering cans for sale, and, when autumn comes, they can move into the house to water the indoor plants or simply to serve as artistic decorations.
As always, the Gallery Hop is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served, and gallery members will be on hand, as well as the exhibiting artists to greet and interact with visitors. The Gallery is located in the North end of the Historic Centre Market at 2200 Main Street in Wheeling.

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August Gallery Hop to feature the drawings of Doris Jones

Artworks Around Town eagerly awaits the return of one of its own, when artist Doris Jones’ work will be featured in the Studio Gallery during the month of August. The exhibit will be introduced Friday, August 3rd at the Gallery Hop. The opening starts at 5:00 and the evening concludes at 8:00. Artworks is located in the North end of the historic Centre Market at 2200 Market Street in Wheeling. The Hop is free and open to all, and visitors will be treated to refreshments and music, as well as the opportunity to meet the visiting artist.
Doris was a founding member of the Artworks Around Town Gallery and one of its most active participants, frequently offering classes and workshops as well as showcasing her own art in the member’s area of the Gallery. Unlike many of the other Gallery artists, Doris did not grow up in this area. She arrived in the Ohio Valley by a circuitous route. She was born and raised in England and received her art education at the Bromley Art College in Kent. Describing her schooling, she said that the first two years concentrated on drawing which she considers basic to all other forms and representations in art and which is featured in much of her work. The last two years included subjects which might not be so commonly taught at American art schools, such as anatomy and architecture. However, a careful viewing of her pictures might give the observer some idea as to how these disciplines influenced her work. Following her graduation she worked in London as a graphic artist/illustrator for department stores.
A vacation trip to El Paso, Texas to visit a sister proved to be a life changing experience as she never returned to England except to visit. She met and married her husband, moved to Pittsburgh, and subsequently to the Ohio Valley.
Although she identifies drawing as her first love as a medium, Doris also enjoys working in watercolor and pastel, both of which rely heavily on drawing. Describing her technique, she uses a drip pen and India ink and likes to work with different types of paper and pens which she says is, “All fun, to try and give a different look to my work”. She also frequently combines pen and ink with watercolor.
Her work has been exhibited in many local and regional juried shows and earned numerous awards. She was an instructor at Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Center and at Wheeling Jesuit University. Her work is in many private collections as well as permanent collections at Ohio University, Bethany College, Belmont Technical College, and Zanesville Art Museum. She is a member of the Ohio Watercolor Society, the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, and South East Ohio Watercolor Society.
Now a resident of Andover, Ohio, Doris lost no time in involving herself with the art community in that area. She has taught drawing classes in Andover and is currently exhibiting with the Ohio Watercolor Society in the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center.
The exhibit in the North Gallery will feature the work of the group “Artists With Disabilities”. It will be curated by Artworks Around Town member Greg Sigwart, who is also an instructor at the Gallery and at the Stifel Fine Arts Center.
Dry weather has caused many gardens, plants and shrubs to look rather wilted and dispirited, but Artworks has just what you need to solve the problem. There are still several of the beautiful, hand painted watering cans available at the Gallery.
Further information is available at the website: or (304)232-7540.

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June Gallery Hop features the watercolors of Janet Rodriguez and her students

Usually the venue for the artwork of local school children, a very different “student” show will grace the North gallery of Artworks Around Town for the month of June when the work of gallery member, Janet Rodriguez’ students will be introduced at the Gallery Hop, Friday evening, June 1st from 5:00 to 8:00.
One of the most highly respected and admired artists in our area, Janet’s talent and passion for watercolor painting will be displayed in the Studio Gallery. Describing her feelings about her art, she says, “For me, watercolor is a love affair that has lasted most of my adult life, since I first saw colors running together on wet paper – and it still excites me. Painting in watercolor is an adventure. You are never quite sure where or how you are going, but, if you are patient and willing, something wonderful may happen. The water flows freely, and may send you in a different direction. If you are willing to play with it, no other medium allows you so much freedom.”
As an instructor, she recognizes that this freedom may be intimidating to her beginning students until they learn how to use it to their advantage by understanding that the medium is a lesson in success and failure, and the most important thing is learning the process. Much of this happens as a result of the group working together, learning together and supporting and encouraging each other. Recognizing how each person approaches and paints a subject leads to an understanding that there are many ways to the same end and helps each student develop his or her own personal style.
Janet emphasizes that watercolor does different things with different processes and, “The secret is to take lessons learned and apply them to different processes creating completely original work.” Experimenting with a variety of ways to use watercolor might include using different kinds of paper, painting on dry gesso covered paper, using rice paper or doing batik on kozo paper. Whatever the process or the materials, sharing with others and having fun are the most important things, and Janet concludes, “When they frame their paintings, you know they are addicted.”
Janet Sheehan, one of the students whose work will be on display, had once considered art as a career. Though choosing other paths, over the years she often wished for an opportunity to return to her first love. For her, the class has been ,”Like finding my true self again.”
Maureen Barte describes herself as, “A blank canvas in artistic ability”, when she began her studies with Janet. She has found the class enjoyable and rewarding and has a strong sense of creativity and accomplishment.
Elaine Strauch has high praise for Janet as both artist and teacher noting that a lot of people have seen and appreciated her ability as an artist. “What they do not see is her ability to teach painting with heartfelt, positive encouragement.”
Student exhibitor, Stephanie Bloch, sums up some of the most important things she has learned as Janet’s student. “Love my subject. Use lots of pigment. Don’t worry about a dribble (or a mistake or two). Be loose and have fun!” She compliments Janet as, “An awesome teacher and an interesting person.”
The Hop will take place at Artworks Around Town Gallery in the North end of the historic Centre Market at 2200 Market Street in Wheeling. The affair is open to the public and guests will be treated to refreshments and music. The exhibiting artists and members of the Artworks Gallery will be present to meet with guests. For further information go to the website or phone (304)233-7540.

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April Gallery Hop features 12th Annual Student Art Show of Excellence

On Friday, April 6th, the 12th Annual Student Art Show of Excellence will open at Artworks in the Centre Market. The show opens at 5:30 and runs until 8PM with Awards being presented at 7PM. Refreshments will be available. Some of the artwork will be for sale. This is the only professionally presented show for children ages 8-14 in the tri-state area. Professional artist judges choose the winning entries from the various elementary, middle, and junior high school entries. Prizes are awarded for ecology reuse of items, watercolor, photography, and a variety of other categories.

Student Show of ExcellenceSince 2000, this show has showcased student artwork in the same manner that adult art shows are presented. Professional judges are used to pick the winners, money prizes are awarded to each winner along with a personalized certificate and a wonderfully gaudy ribbon to each young winning artist. This year’s judges are distinguished local artists, Janet Rodriquez and Cheryl Harshman.

A number of other prizes are picked by those persons interested in childrens’ art, and who are willing to promote young children’s art with their donations. Awards are given by a variety of patrons either to honor their profession or to memorialize relatives or friends who have been painters and creators, or who love beauty and children. Rarely do children in this age group receive such recognition or awards. This is the only venue showing this age group of artists and awarding them this level of prize money.

New donors this year include Alice McCoy, the Women’s Club of Wheeling, and Jeremy and Paula Larance. Continuing sponsors of ribbons include Artworks Around Town member artists sponsors for six ribbons, Bob Sako and Shauna Benson sponsors of the Art Teachers Creative Thinking Award, and interested individual awards sponsored for a variety of reasons and memorials which include: Liz Neumann, Mary Ann Lokmer, David Shaeffer, William Hooker, Kirsten Moller, Lisa Minder Liu, Michael Minder, Michael, Jean, and Jessie Bailey, Lynne and Jeff Mamone, Jay Stock, Andrea Cowan, Georgette Stock, Michael and Lenora Turbanic, Dick Taylor, Robin Rhodes, and Judy Minder.

Continuing this art show is a necessity. There is no art show like it in the area. Children’s art is often shown but rarely in a juried situation. Most children’s show are exhibitions, the art is merely shown not awarded prizes as in the Student Art Show of Excellence. This show has two important reasons behind it, one to show and reward young children’s art professionally and have those young artists understand how adult art shows work and what benefits and joy can come from artistic creation. The second reason is that this show promotes the idea that art is a lifelong interest. Other interests can fall by the wayside because of age or health reasons, but art can brings beauty and the satisfaction of creating something with personal ideas and processes for as long as someone cares to create art. Age, illness, or disability is no barrier to the creative process and the creation of art.

Interested in joining the sponsorship of the Student Art Show of Excellence? Call or email Judy Minder creator/coordinator of the show at 304-233-0780 or at

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March Gallery Hop to feature artist Bob Villamagna & his student, Victoria Lavorini

“Thought provoking, mysterious, and sometimes humorous.” These are the words that Bob Villamagna uses to describe his work. His assemblage and collage pieces will be displayed in the Studio Gallery of Artworks Around Town during the month of March, with the exhibit opening Friday, March 2nd, from 5:00 to 8:00 at the monthly Gallery Hop.

Artworks Around Town is located in the north end of the historic Centre Market at 2200 Market St., Wheeling. The Hop is free and open to all. Visitors will enjoy refreshments and music as well as the artwork, and have an opportunity to meet the visiting artist and the artist members of the Gallery.

Bob Villamagna grew up in the Ohio River rust belt, and the themes in his work come from his own life experience as well as from stories or feelings that the found objects he uses might suggest.

Assemblage and collage make up the majority of his works at present. In his words, ” I have been drawing and painting since age 5, but for the past 20 years I have focused on creating work using found objects and non-traditional materials. I love working with found materials, especially those items that show use, wear, rust; stuff with character. I wonder about the person who made these materials, who used them, who held them. I like to think that a part of the soul or energy of that person is still contained in these things and now is transferred into the artwork. I am giving that old piece of metal or that broken toy a new life, a different life. These various materials are every bit as much my palette as is a tray of oils for a painter. For me, walking through a flea market is like walking through a well stocked art materials store. The flea market is my palette.”

Bob Villamagna is an Asst. Professor of art at West Liberty University, and is also director of the University’s Nutting Gallery. He teaches workshops in assemblage and metal collage at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, and will be teaching a metals collage workshop at Touchstone Center for Crafts this coming spring.

His work is shown at the Gallery on 43rd St. and the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, and has also been displayed at the Carnegie Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, The Mattress Factory, The Erie Museum of Art, The Ohio Craft Museum and the ARC Gallery in Chicago, among others. Two of his works are presently on exhibition at the Dairy Barn Center in Athens, Ohio.

His awards and honors would be too extensive to list, but, when asked if anything very special came to mind, he recalled the Penn State University New Year’s Eve celebration. Each year, the University chooses an artist to produce a piece of installation art which will be set up on the campus the day of New Year’s Eve and will remain through New Year’s Day. It must be sturdy but easy to assemble and disassemble, and it must be interactive with the visiting public. Meeting all of these requirements was no small task, but being selected as the visiting artist was a high honor, so Bob agreed to undertake the project.

He came up with an inspired idea. Recalling the back yards of his childhood when people had clotheslines and billowing laundry drying in the wind and sun, he designed a miniature back yard. With solid stanchions to hold the clotheslines, he placed them at a reachable height and decorated the lines with small lights. Available nearby were note papers, white on one side for messages and silver on the back to catch the light as they moved in the wind. Holes were punched in the papers, and visitors were to write their New Year’s resolutions and attach the note to the clotheslines. The messages were anonymous, so not only did people have the pleasure of writing their own messages but the fun of reading others’ notes.

Upon removal, the pieces are stored, and each one is reassembled for 2 more years, so there are always 3 installations, one new and 2 from previous years . . . except for Bob’s! His display was so popular that it has been reassembled for 5 years. This year, he was asked to do the new installation for the celebration. He reluctantly declined due to other commitments, so the clothes line may wave again in 2012.

One of Bob’s art students, Victoria Lavorini, has discovered her own passion for assemblage art as well as absorbing some of his philosophy. She will be joining him in the Studio Gallery with a display of some of her pieces. Speaking of her work, she said, “Growing up in the small traditional town of St. Clairsville, I have always been surrounded by antiques and objects with rich histories, but it wasn’t until I studied with Robert Villamagna that I realized that I could turn these items into meaningful artworks of my own. Unlike other art forms, assemblages provide a way for the artist to give objects a second chance at life. Some items have a well understood past, while others possess a past that has been lost throughout its journey to my hands. Either way, I make it my personal goal to place these wonderful objects together in a way that asks viewers to look upon them with a newfound reverence.”

Artwork in the North Gallery will come from the Sexual Assault Help Group.

For further information, go to or call (304)232-7540.

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Marilyn Hughey Phillis, AWS, NWS,  Artworks Around Town  and Studio Gallery Director  has been elected by the American Watercolor Society to Jury their 145th International Exhibition held at the Salmagundi Club on Fifth Avenue.  She is chairman of a three man jury consisting of herself,  Henry Casselli, AWS-D.F.  internationally known portrait painter;  George James, AWS-D.F, Professor Emeritus from California State University and innovative contemporary painter.

A Jury of Selection chose from over 1200 international entries approximately 120 works for this long time exhibition.   In the past AWS has included such renowned names as John James Audubon, George Innes, James Whistler, Winslow Homer, Thomas Moran, John Singer Sargeant, Maurice Prendergast, John Marin, Arthur Dove, Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper,  Georgia O’Keeffe, Mark Tobey, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollack, Helen Frankenthaler,  Adolph Dehn, Barse Miller, Milford Zornes, Ogden Pleissner,  Chen Chi,  Mario Cooper,  Robert Laessig,  Edward Betts,  Andrew Wyeth,  and many other notables respected in the use of watermedia painting.  Starting as a society for painters of watercolor, and progressing as advancements in materials were made, the society expanded its accepted media to include gouache,  inks, egg tempera, casein, and acrylics.   The 100th Anniversary Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1966.

Marilyn Hughey Phillis, recipient of many national and state awards,  has served as an AWS  Board of Directors member as well as on previous AWS selection and awards juries along with juries of other major national and regional exhibitions.    This year she will be co-juror of the West Virginia Allied Artists Exhibition.  She received her art training from The Ohio State University,  The  Toledo Museum of Art, and under a series of master watermedia teachers.   Phillis is listed in  Who’s Who of American Art, Who’s  Who in America, and was elected to the Wheeling Hall of Fame and the Kent, Ohio Hall of Fame in 2000.

She states,  “As a Juror, one has a tremendous responsibility to choose award winners that depict the high points of creativity and artistic excellence along with memorable expressions of personal input.  Works must go beyond technical excellence to profound statements of the soul of the artist.   AWS awards range from nearly $4000 for the top award to $500 for the lowest.   The Exhibition is open to the public at 47 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY daily at 1:00  to 5:00 PM except on Monday’s.   Two Demonstrations will be held  Tuesday evenings at 6:00 to 8:00 PM on April  10,  with nationally known artists , Professor Lilit K. Masih, AWS,  landscape,  and on April 17 with Roberta Carter Clark, AWS, portrait.


February Gallery Hop to feature 1st Annual Flower Show

Gardens and flowers of every kind will grace all 4 walls of the Studio Gallery as Artworks Around Town introduces its FIRST ANNUAL WINTER FLOWER SHOW. Leaving behind the blustery cold of February, visitors can bask in an atmosphere of warm and sunny mid-summer, if only briefly.  The show will open at the regular monthly Gallery Hop, Friday, February 3rd from 5:00 to 8:00.  Gallery members will have their finest examples of everything floral on display.  Not only the painters and photographers but the 3 dimensional artists including jewelers and potters will display pieces carrying out the theme.

The Gallery Hop is free and open to all.  Artworks is located in the North end of the historic Centre Market at 2200 Market St. in Wheeling. Visitors will also enjoy refreshments and music.

Well known artist, Marilyn Phillis, who is a  member of Artworks Around Town and the curator of the Studio Gallery, had some interesting information and comments about the history of floral painting, “Going back to the great masters of Renaissance painting, artists combined representational painting of flowers with still lifes, landscapes, and figurative  works.  Flowers were seldom the main subject but a natural part of the environment depicted within the context of the subject.

In the 20th and 21st centuries great changes took place in the art world and the sociological world. It was a time of experimentation and new thinking.

In our own time, most of us were students whose teachers set still lifes of flowers before us or took us outside to paint the beauties of gardens. Flowers were popular subjects for clients purchasing art, and the advent of competitive art exhibitions also offered venues for display, comparison and evaluation. Florals were IN!

Few serious artists of modern times paint floral subjects exclusively but use them in a general approach to form and concept. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, for example, shine today as just one example of his approach to painting his world.  Charles Demuth captured the lushness of floral exotics while illustrator, Charles Reid, is captivated by the fragility and place in design of ordinary flowers. The growing understanding of Zen made a huge impact on flower arranging which affected floral design in painting. There is no end to using flowers as a conceptual element in painting.

Flowers are not just a feminine subject, but an element of color, shape and beauty that can be expressed in many different forms. Photographers have long relished the formal beauty of gardens or the color added to landscape forms by flowers. Artists are learning to look at a flower in a new way through design, color, space and placement. Floral painting is here to  continue challenging today’s artists.”

Janet Rodriguez, Artworks member and watercolor painting instructor, loves to paint flowers and shares this enthusiasm in  her teaching. She cites Art Nouveau artist,  Louis Comfort Tiffany who once said that one can learn everything one needed to know about  painting by painting flowers.

This is how Janet describes the watercolor process. “Flowers are simply fun to paint – the use of all the many colors in nature(nothing has ‘to match’) or the use of wet on wet techniques in watercolor that allow the paint to run, blending together forming unplanned leaves and flowers. This technique is both exciting and challenging. All of these painting experiences are creative enough to encourage the painter to continue, hopefully with success. If not, the artist can turn the page over and try, try again.

Sometimes success comes without planning-often after several hours of no success. Flowers may appear with a few splashes of color, guiding the artist to a completely new composition. That is when painting flowers is really fun and rewarding, and, without being trite, flowers make people happy, the artist as well as the viewer.”

The North Gallery will host the work of Shadyside High School students. Their instructor, Jeff Mamone, is also a member of Artworks Around Town.

For further information, visit the website, or call (304)232-7540.


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