Arts council presents 19th exhibition at SAMA |

Arts council presents 19th exhibition at SAMA

In the past nine years alone, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Council for the Arts has made it possible for 550 artists to share their work with the community.

The council will present its 19th annual regional juried art exhibition at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley tomorrow with an opening reception to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday. The exhibition, featuring works from more than 60 artists, will be displayed through Feb. 8.

“Our mission statement is to try and facilitate the arts in the area,” said treasurer and website administrator Bonnie Hoffman, 66, of Ligonier. “We sponsor the annual exhibition to give regional artists a chance to exhibit their work.”

The council solicits artwork from 19 counties in Pennsylvania.

“Each exhibition has its own flavor,” Hoffman said. “You have a different juror for each show. This juror, her work is a little whimsical, and I think her selections indicate that.”

Artist Susan B. Howard, a Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts alumna, served as this year’s juror. Howard, 56, of Villanova evaluated 227 pieces of work from 87 artists based on mastery of technique, originality of expression and the spirit of the artist within the work.

“I had the biggest problem eliminating anything from the show,” she said.

The public can expect to see a diverse show, Howard said. Almost every art medium, from recycled glass to traditional oil paintings, is featured in the exhibition, she said.

Howard feels it is vital for the community, especially young people, to be exposed to art.

“I think art is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom,” she said.

To engage young artists, the council offers four $250 travel grants to schools to bring in students to see the show.

“One of the unique things (about this show) is that it’s outside of a major city,” Hoffman said. “It brings arts to the rural community out here.”

President Janet Bucciarelli, 56, of Cranberry said this year’s show is dedicated to longtime council supporters Anne and Jack Robertshaw.

Monetary prizes are awarded to artists in categories like critic’s choice and best impressionistic painting, in addition to first, second and third place.

“The artists like that competition,” Bucciarelli said. “They like to know that they’re being judged by someone that is well-credentialed and well-respected in the art field. It validates their work and their growth as an artist.”

Hoffman’s husband William Hoffman, 80, is about to wrap up his own exhibition at the Ligonier Valley museum. His painting of the St. Stephen’s Catholic Church will be featured in the council’s show.

“It always has a good variety of styles,” he said of the exhibition. “There are new people every year, too. You never know what it will contain.”

The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit or call the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley at 724-238-6015.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or [email protected].

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