“Sunburst” by Patricia Bolton

Beginning Thursday, Nov. 7, the Montgomery Museum of Art and History will open its Member Artist Exhibit. This exhibit will feature a variety of art created by 24 of the museum’s talented member artists.

This is a record number of artists presenting at the bi-annual member art show, representing not only the growing art culture of the New River Valley, but the growth of the Montgomery Museum. Each artist has a story to tell, and the exhibit offers audiences the opportunity to explore the NRV’s art culture through many artist perspectives.

One of the artists participating in the show is Gerri Young. She has been the president of the Blacksburg Regional Artists Association for the last six years and is displaying her watercolor painting: “Spanish Dancers.” To create this piece, she used the skills she acquired while studying watercolor under a “brilliant artist in France.”
While she attributes much inspiration to her two European watercolor teachers, her art also features local influence. Young said, “Joining the Blacksburg Regional Art Association brought me lots of talented friends who inspire and teach me every day.”

Retired kindergarten teacher, Ruth Lefko also finds inspiration in the local environment. “Living in the heart of the NRV, we are surrounded by beautiful mountain vistas, rivers, and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, there is always something to inspire and paint,” she said.

Surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty, Lefko said, “Ideas pop into my head, forcing me to stop one project and rush to solidify the new idea.” The piece she is displaying, called “Leftovers” was created in such a manner.

While working on an acrylic painting, she was moved by the colors on her pallet, so she used gel to transfer the leftover paint to the canvas, and “the brilliant pallet colors led [me] to the flower blooms and shapes you see in the painting.” Lefko credits her ability to bounce around on projects to her teaching experience. Other artists also draw from their profession to create art, such as Donald Sunshine, a Professor Emeritus of Architecture, who documents local historic buildings in his nationally exhibited paintings.

Sue Hossack and Steve Jacobs are among the artists who draw from the places they’ve been to create their unique artworks. Hossack, working with paint, said, “Most of my art is based on my travels, although I don’t usually do landscapes.”

Instead, she chooses a specific building or object to be the focus and uses that to tell the story about her travels. Her featured piece, “Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortuga” is no exception.

Jacobs’ preferred medium is photography. He said, “I love how photos freeze time.” He said he is “sensitive to natural serenity” and focuses on details as a result. Jacobs said, “Finding a unique viewpoint evinces individuality for the finder and the findee.”

The exhibit will feature works by Nancy Norton, Betty Moore, Jenny Akers, Patricia Bolton, Donald Sunshine, Carl Pfeiffer, Gerri Young, Larry Mitchell, Tom Jenssen, Ruth Lefko, Susan Lockwood, Teri Hoover, Sue Hossack, Steve Jacobs, Jean Galloway, Sandy Whitt, Pam Goff, Michele Walter, Sally Mook, Judy Crowgey, Joanna Sunshine, Marie Collier, Patricia Bevan and RobiSallee.

The museum will host commemorate the exhibit’s opening with a free reception that is open to the public on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. The exhibit will be in place through December.

For further information, contact Sue Farrar at 382-5644. The Museum is located at 300 S. Pepper Street in Christiansburg.

–Submitted by Katie Hibner