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Fall Juried Art Exhibit set at The Arts Center

Submitted photo Volunteer and former Board of Directors President Mike Kerns helps hang the exhibit

ELKINS — The Arts Center will host an opening reception for this year’s Fall Juried Art Exhibit on Friday from 6-8 p.m. This reception is free and open to the public.

Arts Center Executive Director, Kurt Barkley said he is very excited about this exhibit, as it is always one of the most popular of the year.

“The Arts Center has been slowly adding things to our schedule as we try to work around the COVID-19 situation of the past 18 months,” he said. “Even though the Forest Festival was canceled for this year, we decided to go forward with the Fall art exhibit, just to give the community a really beautiful show featuring 29 artists, and student artwork from four schools in the region.”

This year’s juror is artist Laurie Goldstein-Warren. She lives in West Virginia, and has been painting watercolors for more than 19 years.

“Art has always been a part of my life. When I was young, ballet, tap and jazz dancing was my creative outlet. I was a dancer in the Rochester Academy of Performing Arts dance troupe until the age of 18.

“Later on, my creative path took me to hair styling. I opened my own salon in New York and competed in fantasy hair competitions. I loved these particular shows because you had to create something never seen before, more avante garde than styles you would see on the street. When I moved to West Virginia in 1998 and found myself in the countryside, I went back to one of my first creative loves, art,” said Goldstein-Warren.

“After many years of studying the art of watercolor with some fantastic teachers and mentors, I have been so fortunate to have found success in this field. My artwork has been shown all over this country and has been exhibited in Canada, China and Japan. I now enjoy teaching my workshops and jurying exhibits around the country.”

Also opening on Friday night is a solo exhibit in The Arts Center’s Maxwell Gallery featuring works by artist Karen Ensor Brown. Raised by her mother after her father’s passing at age 10, her mother and sister were very supportive of her creative spirit. She liked working with pen and ink, and then decided to give color a try. She developed a love for watercolors.

“Sometimes you control it and other times, it controls you,” she said, adding she loves surprises. She is inspired to “capture the sweetness of life.” No matter how grand or simple the subject, it’s the “moment” when something catches her eye and speaks to her, she knows she must capture it on paper.

She prefers her subjects to be up close and personal. She hopes it will soak to others and bring a little joy to their heart. Her work is signed ENSORBROWN, which was her husband Ron’s idea, to include her maiden name in honor of her father.

She grew up in Upshur County, graduating from Buckhannon-Upshur High School. She is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College with a teaching degree in art and physical education.

For almost 35 years, she taught art — 25 years in elementary schools and the other nine years at the high school level. Her focus was to give an art education to the elementary level, something she did not have as an elementary student.

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