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Crosscurrents 2024 Art Exhibit Open at Stifel

Picture, from left, are third place winner William Gene Kuhn; Dai Morgan, honorable mention; Oglebay Institute curator of exhibitions Kevin Clancy; honorable mention Jesse Baggett, and second place winner Jade-Lynn Lewis. (Photo Provided)

WHEELING — Creative freedom, diverse perspectives, talent, camaraderie and recognition are hallmarks of the annual Crosscurrents art exhibition at Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling.

A staple in OI’s exhibition season for 45 years, Crosscurrents is a unique blend of styles, techniques, mediums and subject matter that collectively reflects the creative energy in the community and beyond. Each year, dozens of artists vie for the opportunity to be showcased in this prestigious exhibition. Artists in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia are eligible to enter new work for consideration. A guest juror selects the works for the exhibit and cash prizes are awarded to winning artists.

Crosscurrents 2024 is on display now through June 14. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Evening hours are dependent on classes and special events. Admission is free.

Oglebay Institute curator of exhibitions Kevin Clancy curated the exhibition. Michael Dixon, professor of art at Albion College in Michigan, served as juror.

The Crosscurrents exhibition, as its name suggests, is a place where various artists working across all mediums gather to share their differing thoughts, beliefs and experiences. Although certain topics can sometimes be derived within the exhibit, there is no single theme for Crosscurrents.

More than 250 pieces by 93 artists were submitted for entry into Crosscurrents 2024. Entries came from West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dixon selected 91 pieces for the exhibition and chose first, second and third place along with two honorable mentions. The winners were announced during the opening reception and awards ceremony April 11.

Winners of Crosscurrents 2024 are:

First place: Gary Henzler Allen, Homestead, Pa. — “Night Visions 4”

Second place: Jade-Lynn Lewis, Huntsville, Ohio — “One of the Guys”

Third place: William Gene Kuhn, Wheeling — “Vic’s Charge”

Honorable Mentions:

Jesse Baggett, Morgantown — “Piano Recital”

Dai Morgan, Pittsburgh — “The Elephant of Shamrock Island”

In his juror’s statement, Dixon said it was an honor to serve as juror and thanked the artists that applied for the opportunity to be in the show.

“It was a joy to see your work, and it is never easy to make decisions that limit participation,” he said.

Regarding his jurying process he said, “I looked for artwork that was aesthetically pleasing to me. These criteria included any of the following observations: the work was well-crafted; there were interesting compositional choices; there was strong use of color theory; the work had challenging content; and/or the work had strong conceptual ideas. I was also very aware of trying to select a variety of different mediums to be included because it is easy for me to favor 2D work as an oil painter.”

He congratulated those artists selected for the exhibition and offered encouragement to those who were not chosen for this highly competitive show.

“If your work was not invited this year, please keep making and continue to apply for opportunities,” he said. “Rejection is baked into our lives as artists. There will be more rejections and other opportunities to show your work. If you aren’t being told ‘no,’ then you aren’t trying hard enough. Good luck.”

Opportunities for artistic expression and personal growth at Stifel Fine Arts Center are made possible, in part, through generous corporate support. United Bank is the corporate sponsor for the Stifel Center’s 2023-24 art exhibition season and has served as the season sponsor for many years.

“United Bank’s longtime support of the annual exhibition season makes it possible for Stifel Fine Arts Center to thrive,” said Oglebay Institute development director Micah Underwood. “Their generosity creates opportunities for local artists to share their work in shows like Crosscurrents and for our community to enjoy the pleasure of touring the galleries, meeting artists, and even adding new pieces to their own collections. We are proud to count United Bank among our dedicated community partners.”

Located at 1330 National Road in Wheeling, Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center is conveniently located just off exit 2B of Interstate 70.

Housed in the historic Edemar Mansion and part of the nonprofit Oglebay Institute, Stifel Fine Arts Center is a public arts center with galleries, classrooms and performance space. It serves as a gathering place for artists, emerging artists, art lovers, students, educators and families – connecting and engaging the community in creative pursuits.

Crosscurrents 2024 was also made possible through the generous support of the members of the Institute as well as with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

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