"Art at the Library" in Hillsboro
"To lose the art of a people is to lose the people themselves" - Bruce McGee, Heard Museum
The Hillsboro Library is more than a building containing lots of books. It is a hub of community activity for the town, nurtured by Librarians Elwood Groves, Ginger Must, Nancy Egan, and countless volunteers. Groups as diverse as the Town Council and "Use Your Noodle" school children utilize the facility. Quilters meet and quilt, and Extension Homemakers hear lessons and plan service projects. Poetry is read. Local foods are shared. A wide array of educational events take place, informing area residents about topics from environmental issues to West Virginia authors. Covered dish dinners and social events are well attended. WVMR Radio Hillsboro plans a production studio at the Library. Some art is already on display, most notably photographs by Hillsboro resident Laurie Cameron and quilts by Pocahontas county native Norma Mikesell.
Now the Hillsboro Library Friends have added "Art at the Library."
Following the offer of her paintings by Wannabe Farm Artist Cyla Allison, the Library Friends decided to sponsor at the Library exhibits of the creations of local artists. "We want these displays to showcase the artistic talent in Pocahantas County," says Library Friends President Bonnie Gifford. "Art is an integral part of community and place," she continues. "We hope these exhibits entice people to come to the Library to learn more about the arts and the artists."
The debut exhibit features the watercolors of Allison and the pottery of her husband, fellow Wannabe Farm Artist Eric Stahl. Both retirees from Long Island, New York, Allison and Stahl became interested in their respective arts four years ago while taking classes at the Pocahontas Arts Guild.
Stahl, a career Navy man, tried a pottery wheel in a studio on a Navy base about 25 years ago. "It was a disaster," he recalls. Though somewhat reluctant to try again, he went to the Arts Guild with the encouragement of his wife. "She dragged me there," he admits. This time "something clicked" as he worked with the clay, then a pottery classmate offered her wheel for sale, and he was hooked.
Allison explains her attraction to her medium: "The Pocahontas Art Guild encouraged me to use their materials to experiment with oil, acrylic and watercolor. Only watercolor was full of surprise, had an element of unpredictability--and edginess. I saw that watercolor could be bold as well as subtle and I figured I would aim for that."
The Wannabe Farm Artists exhibit will continue at the Hillsboro Library through the end of February. For more information about "Art at the Library," call 304-653-4936.