Arts Fest Engages Imagination
By SHELLEY HANSON
WHEELING – Looking out across the crowd during Squonk Opera’s performance Saturday, a variety of emotions could be seen appearing on people’s faces: confusion, bewilderment, happiness and skepticism, to name a few.
There was no shortage of wonderment at the show, which was part of the fourth annual Wheeling Arts Fest held on 16th Street and the campus of West Virginia Northern Community College in the downtown. Squonk’s show, titled Pneumatica, was set to music with a variety of air-blown figures, arms, smoke, confetti and other things mixed in to keep the audience guessing. The backdrop included a large blue figure standing several feet above the stage.
In addition to musical performances, tents filled with artists’ wares dotted the Northern campus. Artist Cecy Rose of Benwood said she had a good day, noting she sold some pieces.
“I would encourage any artist to be a part of this. It’s like being in Santa Fe,” Rose said. “Every year it improves.”
Wheeling resident Kevin Duffin was browsing the artworks while pushing his 8-month-old grandson Benjamin in a stroller.
“I think this is wonderful,” Duffin said, noting he appreciated the activities for children as well.
Wheeling resident Jan Dijkstkra was watching as his daughter Lilly, 4, got her face painted.
“I wanted to check out the crafts and vendors. It’s nice to support the arts,” he said.