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Stunning student art show at Stifel

Regional High School Exhibit Features 160 Works

Morgan Edwards of Union Local High School won first place in the painting category of the Oglebay Institute Regional High School Student Art Exhibition at the Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling for her acrylic piece, “My Poured Pond.” Photo Provided

If art is an imitation of life, one might conclude that the tri-state teenagers whose art is now on display at the Stifel Fine Arts Center lead lives that are diverse, adventurous, vibrant, stunning, complex, quirky, beautiful, introspective and compassionate.

The 28th annual Regional High School Student Art Exhibition opened Thursday with 160 pieces created by art students at 14 high schools in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, including public, private, parochial and home schools.

In addition to the best of show and other prizes, one student was awarded a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to West Virginia University, and two others received $2,000 scholarships to West Liberty University.

The show has grown so large that for the first time, Stifel staff limited each school to 25 entries. Also for the first time, the 220 submitted pieces were then whittled to 160 by jurists. Husband-and-wife artist team, Jason and Nina Sauer, owner-operators of Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery and members of the Penn Arts Collective in Pittsburgh, made the selections and also chose the show’s winning pieces.

“I think they picked a really, really diverse show,” said Michael    McKowen, Oglebay Institute curator of exhibits.

The pieces include creative depictions of a variety of animals — elephants appeared to be the most popular but there also are horses, cats (big and domestic), dogs, a zebra, birds and several monsters.

There are pencil self-portraits, a ceramic boot with real laces; close-ups of joy-filled children’s faces; still-life watercolors; photos in color and black-and-white; large and colorful pieces in acrylic and Prismacolor (art markers); and fun 3D pieces including two scenes of artists at work, with one artist an octopus and the other a monster named Oogie.

Stifel director Rick Morgan said the fewer number of pieces on exhibit — down from almost 300 in the recent past — gives each piece more space to be appreciated and has resulted in a professional quality show.

“It really has a good feel of our Crosscurrents collection, which is really great that we have that kind of talent at our high school level,” said Morgan, referring to the annual regional juried show.

The scaled-back show still includes a wealth of talent, but “this way you really get to see the strength of each student’s work,” McKowen said.

Oglebay Institute, which owns the Stifel Center, has sponsored the Regional Student Art Exhibit for 28 years to provide “high school students the opportunity to display their work in a professional gallery, see what other students are doing in the world of art and collaborate and get feedback from art teachers, college professors and other students from throughout the region,” according to an OI press release. The show is part of Oglebay Institute’s art exhibition season, which is sponsored by United Bank.

For the past three years, WVU has sent a representative to the show to scout out young talent and provide a full ride to the College of Creative Arts. This year’s winner, chosen by Dr. Teri Giobbia, is Samantha Shipley, a senior at Speiro Academy in Martins Ferry, who entered a mixed media sculpture of a full-length magenta ball gown titled “Come Dance With Me,” which also took first place in the show’s 3D category.

Brian Fencl, chair of West Liberty University’s art department, also picked two $2,000 scholarship winners: Annabella Paree of Wheeling Park High School and Briaunna Harlan of Monroe Central High School.

The Sauers chose the winners in four categories, who received cash prizes. Best of show was awarded to Ally Perkins of Union Local High School for her piece “Memories of Epworth,” a watercolor depicting an Epworth Park cottage.

Other awards included:

— Painting: First place, Morgan Edwards, Union Local; second place, Macey Graham, Monroe Central; third place, Sarah Maidment, Avella High School.

— Drawing: First place, Summer Emory, Union Local; second place Hannah Kemp, Union Local; third place, Alyssa Morrison, Union Local.

— Photography: First place, Derek Dearth, Wheeling Central Catholic High School; second place, Ellie Porbin, Avella; third place, Madison Dagan, St. Clairsville High School.

— 3D: First place, Samantha Shipley, Speiro Academy; second place, Hannah Lingenfelter, home schooled; third place, Jeno Dusci, Buckeye Local High School.

— Honorable mentions:  Alyssa Morrison, Union Local; Braden Robinson, Union Local and Marisa Hall, River High School.

Students in grades nine through 12 within a 50-mile radius were invited to enter the show.

The exhibit will be up through Feb. 17. Stifel Center hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturdays. Evening hours are available depending on Stifel class schedules.

For information, visit www.oionline. com or call 304-242-7700.

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