Art celebrates past, looks to future

Originally published by the Weirton Daily Times
January 21, 2018
By Craig Howell, Managing Editor
chowell@weirtondailytimes.com

WEIRTON — It was a celebration of art and the history of the community at the Summit Art Gallery Saturday, with the opening reception and awards ceremony for the “Weirton — The City Forged by Steel” art competition.

More than 20 artists answered the call, entering pieces in a variety of media to pay tribute to the former Weirton Steel Corp. and its impact on the community. Much of the work focused on the basic oxygen plant which, for years, has been a focal point of the Weirton skyline.

Event Chair Alecia Ford expressed her appreciation to all who participated, and thanked those who offered their support for the competition, in particular David Franjoine, chief executive officer of the Frontier Group of Companies, which contributed $1,000 toward the prize money for the show.

“He literally came on board from minute one,” Ford said. “He was such a blessing.”

The Frontier Group purchased much of the former steel making properties in Weirton, and is in the process of demolishing the structures.

Support also was provided by ArcelorMittal Steel, Go Green Recycling, Amerilube, Renaissance Weirton Corp. and the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle.

Weirton City Manager Travis Blosser thanked Ford for her work in putting the show together, noting it helps to preserve the past and celebrate the future.

“Art is very important to this community,” Blosser said.

According to Ford, the artwork will be on display at the Summit Art Gallery until March 23, and prints of the work will be available for purchase, as will a book collecting all of the entries.

Best in show was awarded to Stephen Opet, of Fayetteville, N.C., for his work “BOP Shop Welders,” which had been entered in the mixed media category.

First- and second-place awards were presented in several categories, including:

Mixed media: Elissa Greathouse, of Chester, first place; Rich Pantaleo, of Monongahela, Pa., second place

Pastels: Jeanne D’Anniballe, of Steubenville, first place; Sara Cottingham, of Morgantown, second place

Watercolor: Jes Reger, of Wheeling, first place; Gina Judy, of Richmond, second place

Oil: Gerald Van Scyoc, of Steubenville, first place; Greg Siegwart, of Wheeling, second place

Acrylic: Jaci Rice, of Weirton, first place; Gina Judy, of Richmond, second place

Drawing: Michael Swartzmiller, of New Cumberland, first place; Bernard “Fritz” Hartman, of Industry, Pa., second place

Other participating artists were Dale Biesecker, of Follansbee; William Dailey, of Weirton; Scott Dalrymple, of Manchester, N.Y.; Lindsey Fair, of Weirton; Brian Fencl, of Wheeling; Stephen Glykas, of Weirton; Kimberly Heubel, of Weirton; Debra Tobin, of Ambridge, Pa.; James Tobin, of Ambridge, Pa.; and Jim Watson, of Steubenville.

Jurists for the competition were Michael McKowan, curator of exhibits at the Stifel Fine Arts Center, and Rick Morgan, director of the Stifel Fine Arts Center.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)