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Youth art show highlights visual, performing arts

March 21, 2006

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - To mark the ninth year of the Youth Art Month special exhibit at the Ice House, the gala opening event Friday at 7 p.m. adds student music and poetry to the visual art.

The Youth Art exhibit at the Ice House Gallery displays hundreds of works of two- and three-dimensional art produced by students in every Morgan County school and homeschoolers. The entertainment and gala opening are free and open to the public.

The Youth Art Month show is staged by the Morgan Arts Council (MAC.) "We initiated this art show in 1995 as part of the Goals 2000 grant," said Sandra Earls, who organizes the event for MAC.

"The first couple were held at Widmyer (Elementary School). Until MAC created this event, there was no countywide art show for students," she said. "Now art teachers have grown to expect it as a way to provide public exposure for their students," said Earls. "We appreciate the art teachers' support and could not collect and hang the art without their help."

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So much art is generated by students for the show that it overflows the gallery space into surrounding hall areas. "We don't see the art until we begin to hang it so the show is always a delightful surprise," Earls said.

Seven county art teachers, homeschool teacher Leslie Milbourne and Advanced Placement art students from Berkeley Springs High School helped Earls and MAC artists to hang the art and host the gala.

Colleen Anderson, artist in residence in county schools this week, will bring students from her classes to share their poetry with the audience during the performance part of the evening. Anderson is one of West Virginia's most-notable performers and writers with numerous literary awards and several CDs and albums of her music.

Matt Hahn serves as emcee of the performance, which includes songs from the Berkeley Springs High School vocal ensemble directed by Kathy Seager and music from members of the high school and middle school bands directed by Lee Cheek. Homeschoolers Robbie Mann and Chenaya Milbourne are also performing.

"Doing the Youth Art Show every year represents the commitment MAC has to the future artists of our community," said Wendy Wells, Executive Director of MAC.

The graphic design used on the art show flier was done by Amanda Carder, a 10th-grader at Paw Paw High School.

Refreshments will be served at the opening reception to which parents, fellow students and the public are invited. The Youth Art Show can be seen at the Ice House Gallery every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 16.

The Ice House is on Independence and Mercer streets downtown. For more information on other MAC activities, call 304-258-2300 or check online at www.macicehouse.org.

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