Artworks to Honor Three New Juried Members Dec. 7

Each December, Artworks Around Town presents works by artists who were juried into membership during the current year. Mike Swartzmiller, Diana Wagner and Laura Bitely will be honored during the Dec. 7 Gallery Hop in the Studio Gallery from 5:30-8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

Artworks Around Town is a non profit gallery dedicated to promoting artwork and providing on going community education. Located in historic Centre Wheeling Market at 2200 Market St. hours are 10 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Friday when closing is at 6 p.m.

Diana Wagner makes luscious soaps and creams that come in a variety of scents and have multiple uses. There are goat milk based soaps infused with green tea, lemon grass and spearmint and eucalyptus among other ingredients. There are some made just for dogs, even one called “smelly dog soap.” There is one for poison ivy and one for acne. The lotions are also made with a variety of herbs and are packaged in handy round tin containers. Wagner lives on a small family farm in southeast Ohio and has been making her products since 2014. She is proud to have established a following of happy, repeat customers.

Mike Swartzmiller is a life-long resident of Hancock County in West Virginia. He is a self-proclaimed “painterly Impressionist.” He concentrates more on the application of the medium and color rather than the realism and discipline of dost painting styles. Most of his work is in acrylic paint on canvas although he experiments with rice paper, cardboard and up-scaled items.

Swartzmiller is dedicated to community service on a personal level. He has donated works of art and provided free classes for non profit fundraisers. He acted as an educational consultant on the establishment of an “arts infused” charter school in his area.

Laura Bietly is Artworks’s Youth Artist. This is a category open to up-and-coming artists between 18 and 30 years of age. The work they submit is juried. If accepted, they exhibit and sell for a period of six months with an option of becoming a permanent member after that time.

Bitely’s work is fresh and colorful. She plans her work digitally, allowing her to “play with bright color and crisp patterns that add a cartoon like feel to her work.” She goes on to say that her work tends toward “the surreal, with disparate elements being combined or taken out of context.”

In the North Gallery, Martins Ferry Middle and High School will exhibit work. The students are under the guidance of Natalie Zambori. The North Corner shop has works and jewelry for sale.

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