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WSO auction:

Hand-painted violins on the block

May 1, 2010
Times Leader

WHEELING - Back by popular demand, the Wheeling Symphony Board of Directors' bi-annual auction will feature unique, beautiful and whimsical violins hand-painted by local artists.

The auction, a fundraiser of the board, will be held Saturday, May 8 at Ohio Valley Medical Center's Nurses Residence. From spa packages, private dinner parties, artwork, to entertainment and sports tickets, this event has it all including the always popular hand-painted violins.

With the theme "Some Enchanted Auction," preview of items begins at 5 p.m. followed by the auction at 6 p.m. The auction will be conducted through the generosity of Behm's Auction and Real Estate Service. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Symphony at 304-232-6191 or at the door the day of the auction.

One of the auction's highlights is always the violins hand painted by local artists. "The Art of the Violin" is a fund-raising project of the Wheeling Symphony Auxiliary. This year nine artists contributed their works.

Greg Basil has been doing artwork most of his life, starting in grade school. He studied oil painting, ceramics, and airbrushing at Brooke High School. A few years after graduation, he opened an airbrush T-shirt shop at the Ohio Valley Mall. For 13 years, he has owned and run Greg's Tattooing in Wheeling, drawing on 18 years of experience as a tattoo artist. Basil's violin is named "A dedication to the symphony men who served in the war."

Bobbi Priebe studied oil painting while in school and recently expanded to watercolors and acrylics. She received an honorable mention in the Crosscurrents exhibit at the Stifel Fine Arts Center and is a member of Artworks Around Town. Priebe calls her violin "Study in Gold."

Sharon Harkness says artistic expression has always been one of her top priorities and has taken many different forms, including sculpture, jewelry making, photography, interior design, and watercolor painting. In college, she had done some watercolor painting but started taking formal lessons five years ago with Kathy Thompson. Harkness is presently studying with Bill Rettig at the Artisan Center in Wheeling. In addition to showing her work at Artworks Around Town and The Wheeling Artisan Center, she has won awards at Stifel Fine Arts Center and the Steubenville Art Association show. Of her violin, she says, "Painting the violin was great fun. I used my three dimensional background and incorporated watercolor and jewelry making techniques to bring out the theme of 'Vivaldi's Spring' for which it is titled."

Robert Sako has been an artist and art instructor for most of his adult life. He has taught kindergarten through middle school Art in Martins Ferry since 1980 and is also an adjunct instructor at West Virginia Northern Community College, where he has taught photography, drawing, design and creative expression. He has given solo shows and participated in group exhibits at Ohio University Eastern, Grave Creek Mound State Park in Moundsville, Wheeling Artisan Center, West Virginia Northern Community College, Oglebay Institute's Stifel Fine Arts Center, and Artworks Around Town Gallery and Arts center. Sako holds a Bachelor's Degree in Art and Art Education from West Liberty State College. He also has a Master's Degree in Education with an Art specialization from Muskingum College. He has won awards for his work in drawing, painting, photography, and digital imagery. He has also been awarded the Ohio Art Education Association Outstanding Art Teacher Award for 2009 for the East Region in the State of Ohio. The title of Sako's violin is "Ruby Breasted Song Bird."

Susan Tracy Maness holds a B.S. in Graphic Design from West Liberty State College and has over 20 years' experience painting functional furniture pieces with a style that uses whimsy, color and design sense, evoking an emotional response to the artwork. Maness achieves this look by combining acrylic paints and markers with recycled furniture, sealing wood pieces with protective clear acrylic top coat. Additional work has included painted canvas upholstery. Her work is represented in private collections through the USA. She brings her unique style to her violin "Spring String March."

Jeri DeLong, the artist behind "Iridescence Aloft," discovered her love for art is her high school art class and planned to major in art at Kent State University. Although she studied teaching instead, she vowed to keep her art as a hobby, which she didn't do during her children's younger years and her teaching career. As her family grew up, she picked up those brushes again and moved from oils on canvas to acrylics on anything slate, milk cans, saws, etc. until she discovered her one true artistic love Gourd Art. She has no formal art training but has taught herself to carve, woodburn, and bead gourds. The painting has always been second nature, even on the gourds. Since becoming a member of Artworks Around Town, her interest in gourd art and many of forms of art has grown. Her hope it to retire soon and become a full-time gourd artist.

Michelle Gorby has always had an interest in art. She remembers that at a very young age, she wanted to grow up to be an artist. Through the years, she has worked at a comic book company and a glass factory. She owns her own business, "Custom Painting by Shell," and works in several different mediums. Her projects include glass engraving and painting, vinyl for windows and cars, and hand-painted Christmas ornaments. She is best known for painting houses and other buildings on large Christmas ornaments. Gorby's violin is called "Wheeling Symphony: The Beginning."

Judith D. Minder has been an art teacher for over 30 years. Although she taught at Oglebay Institute early in her career most of her art teaching experience has been at the middle school level. Otherwise she has taught language arts and history at the middle school, high school, and college levels. Minder is the founder and curator of the Student Art Show of Excellence for children 10 to 14 years of age. The show, which is in its 10th year of existence, has expanded to encompass 21 schools with over 200 student artists participating. The 2010 show awarded student artists $1,765 in prize money. Minder also curates "We'll Show Them, Those That Teach CAN," the art teacher's show at Artworks Around Town at the Centre Market. This show is designed to show that teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools are excellent artists who are rarely able to do their own art work because of their teaching schedules. As a board member of Artworks Around Town, she is enjoying curating and hanging some of the guest artists' shows at the gallery and helping with the student shows and the coffeehouse. Judy has attempted almost all mediums. Recently she has been creating oil paintings again. Until lately, she has worked mostly in watercolor and pencil. Minder is trying to work in pastels as well. She is a member of the The Independent Artists Group drawing together at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. She has won a number of prizes for her work, including at the Annual Bethany College Exhibit and the Steubenville Art Association Annual show. She attributes her interest in art to her father, who has painted for years, and to a long line of ancestors who were painters as well. This year, Minder contributes "I Love Paris" to the Art of the Violin.

Barbara Bonenberger has been painting seriously for nearly seven years, mostly in watercolor. She finds it a great joy and challenge. She has studied under Karl Jacobson, Kathy Thompson, and Bill Rettig and has attended many workshops, including those given by Liz Newman. Her works were accepted at Oglebay Institute's Crosscurrents Art Show 2008 and 2010 and the Steubenville Art Association's Show 2009. These are juried shows. She has also shown at Artworks Around Town and the Artisan Center in Wheeling. She is blessed to have a wonderful group of women, "The Broad Spectrum," with whom to paint every week at the Artisan Center. Bonenberger says, "We are now considered their resident artists! We are so grateful to Heidi and Chris." She is delighted to donate her violin, "Peridot Melody," to support the Wheeling Symphony Society.



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