Gallery At Towngate Hosts First Friday Events

Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre is hosting several free programs today, March 2, as part of Wheeling’s monthly First Fridays event. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Attendees can view the exhibit “Sacred and Profane: Paintings, Prints and Drawings from the Past and Present” by Kenn Morgan. Upstairs in the theater, a series of short films by independent filmmakers from will be playing on a loop. Guests can also enjoy a glass of wine, craft beer and light refreshments. Afterwards at 8 p.m., Towngate’s improvisational comedy troupe “The Crazy 8s” will perform in the theater.

Sponsored by Main Street Bank, all Towngate First Friday programs are free and open to the public.

Featured artist Kenn Morgan is professor of fine arts at Bethany College, where he teaches two-dimensional art and art history. Born in Portsmouth, Va., he came to Bethany College to study biology and chemistry in 1967. After a long freshman year of that, he met his mentor, Wes Wagner, who changed his major and his life. After graduating from Bethany, he studied at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh before earning a masters degree in art in painting and printmaking at West Virginia University.

Morgan moved to Wheeling in 1974 and was employed by Ogden Newspapers as an assistance art director, Gutman Advertising as copywriter and billboard designer, Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center as an art specialist, Wheeling College as assistant professor of art and college activities director and the owner of Art in Wheeling Gallery before returning to Bethany, where he has taught for 28 years.

He has exhibited his work regionally, nationally and internationally and is included in many private collections.

Oglebay Institute director of performing arts Tim Thompson said stopping at Towngate for First Friday is a great way to start off your weekend.

“See some great art by a local artist, watch some thought-provoking shorts films and finish it out with an improv performance. All events are free, and the first drink is on the house,” he said.

He said visitors are welcome to stay for 30 minutes or all evening. “All the events are finished by 9 p.m. Perfect for those who want to get home at an earlier hour. For those planning to stay out later, Towngate is the first stop before hitting other First Friday events, bars and concerts taking place in Centre Market and throughout Wheeling.”

For more information about Towngate Theatre, visit