By Jessica Broverman, Editor
West Liberty University’s Assistant Professor of Art, Robert Villamagna, was recently awarded 2016 Artist of the Year by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, at this year’s Governors Awards for the Arts event.
“His creative work stands the test of time,” said Commissioner Reid-Smith. “At the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, we are proud to have your award winning art in our state art collection.”
“I was surprised and pleased to receive the phone call informing me of my selection,” said Villamagna on his selection for this year’s award.
Art was not always Villamagna’s job, but it was always the main priority. After a trip as a child to the Carnegie Museum, he realized his passion for the arts. He came over many hardships such as his father passing away and not having funds to attend art school when he aspired to, Villamagna knew it was up to him to make his dream of becoming an artist as a profession a reality.
“I got a little misty, because ever since I was a kid I wanted to be involved in the arts, but I had to go through a backward approach to get there,” Villamagna said in an interview with WTRF news. “Art has always been a big part of my life.”
The Artist of the Year award is based off of groups served, the length and time of dedication to the arts, and level of excellence. Once these factors are taken into account, a panel of commission members and representatives from across the state select a winner. Villamagna’s art may be viewed in The Gallery on 43rd Street and Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, the state collection in Charleston, in addition to many events within the Ohio Valley. To learn more about Robert Villamagna and his courses you may visit his website for more information.