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Eastern Panhandle of W.Va. to host biennial exhibition of arts and crafts

June 02, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • This image by Frank Ceravalo of Martinsburg, W.Va., was included in the 2011 West Virginia Juried Exhibition.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Eastern Panhandle is slated to host the state’s biennial exhibition of art and crafts for the first time in the juried show’s history.

The 2013 West Virginia Juried Exhibition is slated to open Nov. 24 in Martinsburg at the historic Dunn mill building at 400 W. Stephen St., which now houses many of Berkeley County’s government offices.

“This will be the fourth city, outside of Charleston, in which the exhibition has opened,” said Caryn S. Gresham, deputy commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

From its inception in 1979 until 2005, the exhibition of work by West Virginia artists and craftspeople was presented every two years at the Culture Center at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, Gresham said.

Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of the Division of Culture and History, began the practice of opening the juried exhibitions around West Virginia to further the agency’s mission to promote the arts statewide, Gresham said.

The exhibition will remain on display at the county’s administration building until February 2014. The Berkeley County Council unanimously agreed to host the exhibition during its May 16 meeting.

“Elakala Panorama,” an image of a Tucker County, W.Va., stream by Frank Ceravalo of Martinsburg, was among 72 works that were selected from more than 400 submissions for the 2011 exhibition. 

“It was a big honor,” said Ceravalo, who is a landscape photographer.

His panoramic image of the Blackwater Canyon stream was comprised of about 35 frames, Ceravalo said.

Ceravalo’s work has been selected for prior biennial exhibitions, but he said he has yet to win one of the show’s top awards, which came with a $5,000 prize two years ago.

“That’s another level,” Ceravalo said.

In 2011, 18 awards totaling $33,000 were presented to 60 artists and craftspeople from 23 counties, according to the Division of Culture and History.

The awards constitute one of the largest endowments for any single juried exhibition in the country, according to the state agency.

Joining Ceravalo’s work at the 2011 exhibition were works by Michael C. Mendez and Sterling “Rip” Smith, both of Martinsburg, and merit award winner Dave Barnes of Shepherdstown, W.Va., according to the Division of Culture and History.

Laura Gassler, director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said she anticipates the exhibition will attract visitors from the four-state area.

“We have a very active arts community here,” Gassler said.

The exhibition was held at the Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling in 2011. Before that, it was held at the Huntington (W.Va.) Museum of Art and Parkersburg (W.Va.) Art Center.

“The juried exhibition is biennial to give state artists time to create new pieces,” Gresham said. “A statewide exhibition of this size (also) takes time to put together and exhibit.”

The exhibition is open to entries that have been created in the past two years in the areas of painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, mixed media and crafts.

Entrants must be older than 18 and must maintain a permanent residence in West Virginia.

Entries will be accepted beginning July 1, Gresham said. The deadline for submissions has not yet been set.

The prospectus for the exhibition will be posted this month on the Division of Culture and History’s website at www.wvculture.org.

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