Portals: Paintings by Kara Ruth Snyder

West Liberty University’s Nutting Gallery welcomes its next exhibition, Portals: Paintings by Kara Ruth Snyder, this week. Featuring abstract acrylic and mixed media paintings, it will open with a public reception from 5:30 – 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2 and remains on display through Oct. 24. The paintings in this exhibition are inspired by meditation and are presented as potential doorways into (or out of) the consciousness of both artist and viewer, according to Robert Villamagna, director of the Nutting Gallery. Snyder’s artist’s statement explains further: A portal is a doorway, an access, an exit or an entrance, a gate. In this collection of recent work, the artist shares the artistic results of her disciplined practice of meditation. Her art process is a challenge to lose the ego by manipulating the physical elements that make up the painting and then letting the materials speak for themselves. Striving to create from a more universal consciousness, the painting then becomes a record of her meditative experiences. The painting continues to do its work by acting as a possible portal. The borders of the painting itself mimic a window of some sort…a two-way street where the art is a “snapshot” from the mind of the artist and the viewer gazes upon this and is invited to try to see “something.” The materials themselves and their physical characteristics will have an energetic impact. The size and orientation of the work, the pigment, the gestural direction of the various brushstrokes and markings, and the placement of compositional elements all meld together to form an impression, conscious or not, upon the viewer. The artwork/portal beckons the viewer...

Bachelor of Science in Creative Arts Therapy Now Approved and Enrolling Students

Art therapy is a field of psychology that relies on art and creativity to explore trauma and seek healing for a wide range of individuals. West Liberty University recognized the importance of this growing profession and has successfully created a program that is attracting attention, the Bachelor of Science in Creative Arts Therapy degree. It is now approved by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. From left, creative arts therapy students, Azia Goolie, Megan Adams and Megan Velas, meet with Professor Brian Fencl in the art department. “West Liberty University is the only institution of higher education in the state to offer the undergraduate degree in creative arts therapy. I thank the faculty and administrators who worked very hard to make this signature program a reality,” said President Robin C. Capehart. The Dean of the College of Arts and Communication Dr. William Baronak guided the academic plan through the WVHEPC approval stage. “We anticipate great interest in the program and have had many student inquiries into this major,” Baronak said. The new program wouldn’t have come to fruition without the support of the Schenk Foundation, which provided the grant that fueled the new degree. “The Schenk Foundation, along with an academic planning team worked together to make the degree a reality and we are grateful for their support of higher education and West Liberty University,” said Angela Zambito-Hill, who is director of development at WLU. Art Professor Brian Fencl also was involved from the early stages of the new degree development. He provided curriculum guidance and recruited for the new major. “We are excited to reach full degree status...

Nutting Gallery Season Opens with 5 x 6 Exhibition

Nutting Gallery at West Liberty University proudly presents 5×6, the gallery’s first exhibition of the 2013-14 season, featuring five different artists, each showing six pieces of work. Participating artists are Ron Copeland, Kyle Hallam, Jeff Pierson, Eric Price and Randie Snow. The opening reception for 5×6 is from 5:30 – 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 4. Ron Copeland is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh. He’s a photographer and graphic designer who turned to silk screening and stenciling. His interests in recent years have focused on exploring abandoned spaces of the city. Taking fragments of what remains of houses or buildings, he recreates the space of a life left behind, using remnants of human activity in areas now fallen into decay. Pennsylvania artist Kyle Hallam worked predominantly in clay for about 25 years, creating brightly colored terra cotta hand-built pots and wall assemblages. Five years ago, he began incorporating clay elements into wall assemblages that he created from recycled materials such as cardboard, tin cans, fabric, rope, etc. During the past 18 months (with support of grants from the Sprout Fund and the Community Foundation of Greene County, and private donations) he designed and implemented an Arts & Crafts program to work with the mentally and physically challenged clients at Greene ARC in Ruff Creek, Pa. Randie Snow is an assemblage artist based in Pittsburgh. Drawing themes from her everyday life, her work explores the natural balance of the human existence and often strives to find harmony amongst seemingly contradictory ideas. Influenced by her background as a commercial graphic designer, Snow’s assemblages integrate a balanced visual aesthetic, frequently by contrasting color, shape, and texture. Individual found...

Art Students Study in Budapest and Gain Life Changing Education

Three West Liberty University students received a chance to travel to the heart of Europe and work on their printmaking skills in what turned out to be a life changing experience recently. From left, Amanda Carney, Emily Hastings and Abbie Merryman, enjoy a fun moment in Budapest. Faculty member and visual artist Martyna Matusiak escorted Amanda Carney, Emily Hastings, and Abbie Merryman, and coordinated their activities during the trip, June 16 – July 5, 2013. The group stayed in what is known as the Hungarian Multi-Cultural Center and worked in the art studio, enjoyed sight seeing, sketched outside and visited museums and art galleries during their stay. The busy center is located in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary and one of the largest cities in the European Union. “The experience was quite an eye opener for my students. We lived and made art for about three weeks. We were immersed in new language, art life, lifestyle and culture. There were moments where we felt uncomfortable – but that’s essential for visual artists,” Matusiak said. “We want to get stimulated and everything around us was new and unknown. It provoked us to try new things not only in life, but also in our artistic practice.” The work that the students made is now in Budapest and was exhibited at the Barnabas Villa Gallery, where it hung for several weeks in a public display. “I thought the trip was life altering as an artist. I left as a student, and came back an entrepreneur. Not only did I have a new thirst to learn, but also the need. It helped...

Graphic Design Students Offer Community Service, Via Professional Design Work

Senior graphic design majors at West Liberty University are once again offering their skills and talents as a service to non-profit groups in the Ohio Valley. For the past 14 years, WLU students have designed community projects ranging from logos, posters, brochures, and billboards, to book covers, presentations, signage and websites. Associate Professor James Haizlett coordinates the program. “This as an outreach to the community, helping organizations with limited budgets receive the services of our highly motivated, energetic, and creative students,” he said. Haizlett is primarily interested in helping non-profit organizations and groups who do not have the funds to hire professional design services. The students form design “companies” and learn how to deal with clients on a professional level, setting budgets, timelines and following a design brief to completion. “The experience is invaluable to the students because they learn how to deal with “real world” clients. In turn, organizations throughout the Ohio Valley receive excellent design work to help market their organizations,” Haizlett added. The program depends on local involvement and Professor Haizlett is asking that interested organizations contact him to receive an application via email at, [email protected] Project applications must be received by Sept. 8, 2013. For more information on the graphic arts program, please visit the College of Arts and Communication webpage. AUGUST 26,...

Arts and Communication Graduate Jessica Crighton picked for position at British University

West Liberty University graduate Jessica Crighton ‘13, was selected as digital media assistant at the University of Hertfordshire, England recently. Crighton, who’s from Chester, W.Va., earned her WLU degree in digital media with the College of Arts and Communications. She now lives in London and commutes by train to her position at the University of Hertfordshire, which is about 30 miles out of London. “I work on the website (herts.ac.uk) and my job entails pretty much everything that I learned in my digital media degree: graphic design, video production, online marketing, web, etc. I’m so happy with where I am and enjoy what I’m doing! I know my internships through the Washington Center and skills I learned in my degree helped me out immensely! “I’m also happy I attended West Liberty. It allowed me to go to D.C. and London through The Washington Center which I think is one of the best programs West Liberty offers it’s students.” West Liberty offers its students opportunities to work and study abroad through the Washington Center and is the largest internship placement organization in Washington, D.C. “Jessica was a great student and one of many from her family to graduate from WLU. It’s not a surprise she is finding success right after graduation. She’s smart, creative, driven and very sincere. She was able to take the high tech skills she learned in college and package that with excellent creative and story telling skills,” said one of her instructors here at WLU, Brian Fencl. Fencl is professor of art and chair of the department of communications studies and visual art. “All of the teachers I had at...