Amy Higgins//The Crown Senior Gina Davis created an acrylic piece entitled “Dog-Tier” in honor of her dog, Mugsy.
Amy Higgins//The Crown
Senior Gina Davis created an acrylic piece entitled “Dog-Tier” in honor of her dog, Mugsy.

Friends, family, artists and art enthusiasts gathered inside King’s College’s Widmann Gallery for the Twelfth Annual Emerging Artists Invitational Exhibition.

An invitational exhibit is a great honor.  As the name suggests, entrance is by invitation only.  In order to be eligible artists must be experienced in the local art community and produce an original art piece.

All of the art exhibited in the show was produced by art students of Sue Hand Imagery Studio, located in Dallas, Pa.  This year’s show featured 36 student artists, some of which who are homeschooled, representing 10 area schools and ranging from grades 9 through 12.

To kick off the evening the artists collectively extended their gratitude to Judy Palmer, “whose idea it was to start the show thirteen years ago,” and to Michelle Leonard, Director of the Widmann Gallery, “for her belief in young local artists.”

“This is the biggest show of the year, biggest in attendance,” Leonard said.  A crowd of over 100 attendees packed the small venue and filled the adjacent hallways.

Among the crowd was Ralph Fraley, retired General Hospital computer technician, and art student of Sue Hand, who turned out in support of his fellow student artists.

“I take classes with most of these kids,” Fraley said. “One girl nicknamed me the dinosaur. I just came down to antagonize everyone,” he joked.

King’s alumnus Ed Sichler, class of 1970, showed up to support his great-niece, Allison Stallard. Sichler was impressed by the work exhibited among all of the young artists.

“It’s amazing the level of talent (exhibited) here,” Sichler said.

Amy Higgins//The Crown “Market Street Bridge,” a watercolor, by Coughlin High School junior Emily Andrews (left) and a watercolor entitled “Pittsburgh” by homeschool senior Caroline Majeski are two of the many artworks displayed in the Widmann Gallery as part of the Emerging Artists Exhibit.
Amy Higgins//The Crown
“Market Street Bridge,” a watercolor, by Coughlin High School junior Emily Andrews (left) and a watercolor entitled “Pittsburgh” by homeschool senior Caroline Majeski are two of the many artworks displayed in the Widmann Gallery as part of the Emerging Artists Exhibit.

Stallard, an eleventh grader at Dallas High School, received an invitation to the exhibition for her work entitled, “Watch Your Children,” a beach scene rendered in colored pencil.

During the course of the evening artists were given the chance to address the audience of supporters, and speak about their individual pieces. Many explained where their inspiration came from.

Nicole Jacobs, a ninth grader at Dallas High School recalled how her watercolor painting, entitled “Sunset, Cape May,” was inspired by a vacation photo.

“As soon as I saw it, I loved it, and knew I wanted to paint it,” Jacobs said.

Madison Strambaugh, a senior from Lake-Lehman High School, found inspiration in her backyard, and crafted it into an oil painting.  The wintery scene, playfully entitled “Next Year We’re Flying South,” depicts some of the winged wildlife that visits her mother’s birdbath.

“She was always hinting around, I’d really like you to paint those,” Strambaugh said.

Wilkes-Barre area residents should find one of this year’s creations easily recognizable. “Market Street Bridge,” painted by Emily Andrews, an eleventh grader at James M. Coughlin High School, said she was participating for her fifth year in the Emerging Artists Exhibit. Andrews said she appreciated the opportunity provided by the venue.

”It’s so awesome,” Andrews said. “They do such a nice job setting this whole show up.  It’s amazing to see all the work they do to create this specifically for us.”

Gina Davis, a senior at West Side Career and Technology Center conveyed her gratitude for the public showing.

“I think a lot of people that do art don’t have anywhere to show it off, to get recognition for it,” Davis said. “I think it’s really awesome that Sue and King’s give us a place to display our art, and give a chance for each of us to shine.”

Davis’s piece, “The New Dog-Tier,” is a portrait of her beloved pet, Mugsy.

“She’s getting old, so I wanted to do something to honor her and keep her with me forever,” Davis said.

Sue Hand expressed her enthusiasm for the evening’s event, and her gratitude for the opportunity that allowed these young artists to have their work viewed in the very public venue.

“This gallery is so beautiful, and the kids are so excited, and they’re all dressed up,” Hand said. “It’s a special evening for them.  These kids worked hard to get ready for this show.  I tell them Christmas is my favorite night of the year, and this is my second favorite.”

The Emerging Artists Invitational Exhibition will be available to the public until Oct. 26 in the Widmann Gallery located on the first floor of the Sheehy-Farmer Campus Center.  Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m to 4 p.m.