Out & About: Westmoreland Art Nationals return live after 2 years of virtual shows

The Westmoreland Art Nationals lives up to its name, with exhibiting artists from as close as Greensburg and as far as Florida, Massachusetts and Alaska.

The first of two annual jury exhibitions associated with the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival opened with a Saturday night reception at Westmoreland County Community College in Hempfield.

“The outstanding talent in this area and beyond is simply amazing,” said the festival’s executive director Diane Shradernoting that there were a total of 501 submissions, of which 106 were accepted.

“We’re thankful for that person who gave us over 500,” she joked.

Shirley McMarlin | Tribune Review

Elizabeth’s Best in Show Award winner Cindy Morris (center) with Erin Shrader, Assistant Executive Director of the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival, and the artist’s husband, Mace Morris, at the May 21 opening of the Westmoreland Art Nationals at Westmoreland County Community College.

Artists and art lovers gathered to hear the following awards announced:

Best in Show: “Skizzy’s Dream”, stained glass by Cindy Morris from Elizabeth

Curator’s Choice Award: “A Saucer of Loneliness”, digital art by Keith Bastianini from Bethel Park

WCCC President’s Choice Award: “Bella Terra Part Deux”, Infrared Photography by Alexis Dillon from Greensburg

Painting prize: “Joy”, by Richard Harydzak from Murrysville

Graphics Award: “Lake Ladder”, by Lauren Scavo-Fulk from Jeannette

Craft Award: “Oval Pitcher”, by Stephen Heywood of Hollywood, Florida.

Sculpture Prize: “Goddess of the Morning”, by Bryon Draper from Springville, Utah

Photography Award: “Foggy Morning at the Lake”, by James Murphy from Greensburg

Mixed Media Award: “Sun”, by black rum from Trafford

Digital Media/Digital Art Award: “Wait a minute”, by Lynda Kirby from Baden

New Entrant Award: “Intellectual Jousting”, acrylic and ink by Annabelle Tarr from Greensburg.

Shrader noted that the festival always selects an out-of-state juror, identifying entries by number only.

This year’s judge was an artist Mary Ellen Wherlic of Lewisville, Texas. Wherli has exhibited in jury shows in Texas and California and her work is exhibited in many public buildings and museums.

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Shirley McMarlin | Tribune Review

Curator Nick Silvis (center) with curatorial assistants Suzie Bergman and Eric Kim at the May 21 opening of the Westmoreland Art Nationals at Westmoreland County Community College.

Curator for WCCC exhibition was artist Nick Silvis from Greensburg, a graduate of WCCC and Seton Hill University with an interest in large-scale sculpture, installation art, and jewelry design. He was both curator and curatorial assistant for previous Art Nationals.

His curatorial assistants were: Suzie Bergman and Eric Kim

Due to the pandemic, the Art Nationals were presented online in 2020 and 2021.

“It was nice to be able to do it digitally, but we’re happy to be back in person,” Shrader said.

The exhibition will run until June 8 in Commissioners Hall. Visitors can vote for a favorite piece for the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced at the opening reception of the second exhibit, taking place June 25 from 6-8pm at the activity center in Twin Lakes Park east of Greensburg.

The second exhibition curated by local artist Jeff Donatoruns concurrently with the festival, from June 30 to July 3. The prices will be announced during the reception at 19:00.

Seen at WCCC: Erin Shrader, Snooky Williams, Jennifer Benford, Paul and Mandy Sirofchuck, Mace Morris, Tamara DiBartola, Candace Haffinger, Nancy Rusbosin, Scott and Janet Anderson, Sean Gallagher and Sherrie Dunlap Gallagher, Bethany Gary, Teresa Olivo, Amanda Olivo, Chloe Walls, Tsamara Roberts, Andrew Hazelton and Camille Valenza-Hazelton, Eileen Yeager, Fredo and Cathy Silvis, Barbara Ferrier, Brandon Fiume and Jessica Schulte, Jon Mullin and Devon Frohnhofer

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter

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