WEIRTON - The first community arts gallery in the region, Summit Gallery, will open April 4 in Weirton, thanks to the combined efforts of the Hancock County Arts Council and the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A reception celebrating the regional art community and the four opening artists will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 4 at the Gallery, which is located in the CVB offices at 3393 Main St., Weirton. Following the grand opening, Summit Gallery will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.
"The Hancock County Arts Council's mission when we first met approximately five years ago was to develop and encourage an appreciation for the arts in Hancock County," said Nancy Wright, HCAC chair. "Today, the council, along with (CVB Executive Director) Danny Greathouse and the CVB, has made it a reality for local artists to display their work in this beautiful facility of the Summit Gallery."
ON DISPLAY — This original artwork by Mary Ann Reese of Weirton will be part of the local artwork on display at the Summit Gallery located in the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau at 3393 Main St. in Weirton beginning April 4. -- Contributed
The opening exhibit will highlight the works of four regional artists: Mary Ann Reese of Weirton, Greg Starr of Follansbee, Diana Holcombe of Smithfield and Deb Strunk of Follansbee. Each of the artists chosen for the inaugural installation will exhibit original works ranging from wildlife and exotic animal paintings to abstract works and acrylic-paint pieces inspired by the Arizona desert. The artists will be present at the April 4 opening reception.
Under the guidance of the HCAC, the installations at Summit Gallery will change each quarter, primarily showcasing works from noted Tri-State Area artists in a variety of mediums. Each new grouping of artist and artworks will be celebrated with an evening artists' reception.
The original vision for the gallery was conceived by Greathouse. In preparation for the gallery opening, Greathouse and the CVB had a structural and painting renovation of the office space done, inviting Kenneth L. Morgan, chair and professor of fine arts and curator of permanent art collections at Bethany College, to advise on wall colors and display options.
"We need to invest in ways to bring visitors to the Top of West Virginia," Greathouse said. " Summit Gallery will draw (visitors to the CVB) along with the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, and visitors now have two must-stops in downtown Weirton before lunch or dinner at area restaurants."
Created in 2008, the Hancock County Arts Council sponsors a number of art events, including the annual Holiday Home Tour in November, the New Cumberland Fall River Fest in September, and, as a part of the Homer Laughlin Tent Sale, a Children's Plate Painting Event that draws approximately 250 children each year.
The HCAC also works with the Hancock County Courier to offer "Poets Out Loud," which encourages local poets and artists to publish their works to share them with the public.
The HCAC meets monthly. Anyone interested in promoting the arts is welcome to attend.