Hats On For Spring Event

Watching the British royal wedding on Friday may have inspired some women to don elegant hats for their next social outings.

Elaborate chapeaus are expected to be highly visible when area women gather for the Spring Spirits event at Oglebay Institute’s Mansion Museum in Oglebay Park from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 4. Guests are encouraged to wear hats and gloves to the women-only event.

One lucky lady will have the opportunity to go home with a hat fashioned by a milliner who designed headwear for royal wedding guests. A drawing will be held during Spring Spirits for a hat designed and donated by Amy Hamilton, founder of the Granville Millinery Co. in central Ohio.

Hamilton, who has lectured and presented programs for Oglebay Institute on millinery and “repurposing” of old hats, has been especially busy in recent weeks. She has designed hats for guests attending the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, as well as several hats to be worn by women attending the Kentucky Derby next weekend.

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A Wheeling native who gained international recognition as an artist has died.

Ana Maria “Carmona” Cusick, known professionally as Carmona, died at age 76 after undergoing heart surgery earlier this year. She had resided in Madison Township in northeastern Pennsylvania.

She is survived by her husband, Daniel Cusick, a retired journalist who worked for the News-Register many years ago and later worked for newspapers in Pennsylvania.

Carmona was born in Wheeling in 1934, a daughter of Anna Saverino and Francesco Baller Impallari. She graduated from Triadelphia High School and was an alumna of the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University.

She came to prominence in the arts world first as a singer, but later developed her talents in the fine arts, specializing in art pottery and later Chinese-style watercolor paintings.

A lyric coloratura soprano, she appeared with several American and European opera companies in the 1960s and 1970s. She toured throughout the United States in opera productions and recitals, her husband said.

While singing in Rome, Italy, she became fascinated with blue and white Persian and Chinese pottery.

Her husband said she studied with potters and became a master of ceramic chemistry and design.

She was commissioned to create special pieces or to restore rare items. She designed a commemorative tile that the College of William and Mary presented to British royalty during a celebration of the college’s 300th anniversary.

During her career, Carmona designed dinner service patterns for stores in Japan. She also designed dinnerware and luxury gift items for the Lord & Taylor and Nieman-Marcus department stores in the United States.

Her work was commissioned and included in the collections of the White House, Smithsonian Institution, National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Pennsylvania governor’s residence. She restored a rare 18th-century tile mural in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Continuing her interest in Chinese art, she did research in the Far East and studied painting with a Chinese master, the legendary Chinese scholar-painter C.C. Wang, in New York City for five years. Carmona used watercolors to paint on rare handmade papers and silks. She specialized in painting classical landscapes, waterfalls, flowers and birds; her preferred style was that of the Ming Dynasty.

Her paintings were featured in two exhibitions at the Center for International Art and Culture in New York City. At the time of her death, a solo exhibition in China was being considered.

Carmona’s ashes are to be interred, in one of her own Ming Dynasty-style vases, at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Wheeling this spring, her husband related.

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We enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner at the Wheeling Odd Fellows hall Wednesday, April 27. The Odd Fellows, an organization of men and women dedicated to charitable efforts, held the spaghetti dinner to raise funds for Blow Away Cystic Fibrosis 2011, a walk starting at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 21. Registration begins at 10 a.m. that day.

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A firm believer in the power of prayer and the healing miracles of modern medicine, I rejoice that today marks the one-year anniversary of my best friend’s successful liver transplant. Thanks be to God, life-saving miracles do happen!

Thanks to the generosity of strangers, life-restoring organ transplantation takes place every hour, every day, of the year. I encourage area residents to sign up as potential organ donors. Every donor can change the lives of many people. Give the gift of life!

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net