MAC Art Show moves to Monroeville Convention Center
By Natalie Beneviat
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
More than 70 artists will be displaying a variety of works at this year's 24th Monroeville Arts Council Art Show from Friday through Sunday, with works ranging from paintings, photography and mixed media to a miniature roller coaster.
The exhibit will be accompanied by artist demonstrations and even entertainment at the Monroeville Convention Center, the show's spacious new venue.
Show visitors can browse work featured by the artists in one or more of six different categories: oil/acrylic, watercolor, mixed media, fiber arts, photography and 3-D. The last category includes ceramics, wood, metal, sculpture and or jewelry, said Marilyn Wempa, president of the Monroeville Arts Council, or MAC.
The free exhibition will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
“It's a really interesting show. It wouldn't have been going on for 30 years if (not),” said Wempa, 78, who expects a bigger crowd this year. “I think we're going to have a lot more people coming to this show.”
The arts council is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that presents a variety of fine art, musical and educational events throughout the year.
Previous MAC show award winner Rita Spalding of Penn Hills has entered her work again this year. She specializes in watercolors, as well as collages, or mixed media. This year, she'll be displaying a watercolor of cactus, as well as one of butterflies. She also will display a collage titled “On the Boardwalk.”
Active in the local art community, Spalding belongs to the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society and the Pittsburgh Society of Artists. She won the Judge's Award for a watercolor at the Penn Hills Arts Festival in July. Working professionally as an artist in various positions, she now is retired but hasn't stopped creating.
“I'm still painting. It keeps you young,” said Spalding, who also is a founding member of the Penn Art Association.
Spalding encourages people of all ages to become involved in the arts.
“I think it's a great way to make people look at things. When you're going to paint … you see things differently. You're more observant,” Spalding said.
Bob and Christine Patterson of North Braddock will display their photography at the show. With a penchant for photographing nature images and wildlife, the Pattersons travel to national parks as far as North Dakota, Florida, and Maine to get their best shots.
The Pattersons own Patterson Images, also based North Braddock.
Bob Patterson said he likes to photograph wolves, bears and cougars. He usually does that at a nature a preserve where the animals are accustomed to seeing people.
“You stay clear of them. They stay clear of you,” he said.
Another exhibitor is Peg Caine of Monroeville, who focuses on landscape and still-life watercolors.
She has been painting for about 40 years and enjoys the results of working with watercolors.
“It's very transparent. Colors tend to be bright, and I like bright colors,” said Caine, 83.
The secretary for the Monroeville Arts Council for eight years now, she doesn't enter her work into the awards portion of the show but still enjoys the event and the diversity of the artists.
“It's not just painted art. There's something for everyone,” Caine said.
For example, Paul Brozda of Monroeville designs and builds roller coaster models by hand. He stresses that he uses no pre-made or pre-designed models bought from stores.
A lover of everything coasters since he was a child, Brozda said, he started designing them with toothpicks when he was a teen. Now he makes roller coaster models ranging in platform length from 5 to 25 feet.
A member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, a group with 5,000 members from various countries who visit parks everywhere to test and rate rides, Brozda said there's nothing that scares him about coasters. He just loves everything about them.
“The smell of the grease, the clink of the chains — anyone who's a coaster enthusiast can relate,” said Brozda, 47, who eventually wants to teach others how to design and build coasters.
Brozda will have a few pieces in this year's show, including a small coaster he calls “Whip the Dips.” He said it will be lit up and running with a coaster car, which always seems to result in a rewarding reaction from children.
“I like to see that glow on kids' faces,” he said.
Wempa said she is excited about holding the event at the convention center for the first time.
It previously was held at the Community College of Allegheny County's Boyce Campus in Monroeville. Organizers had to find a new venue because of remodeling at the college and had to skip the show last year.
The convention center provides additional space.
“We're really excited about it because we have a nice amount of room. I said,‘Let's have some entertainment, and let's have some musical groups,'” Wempa said.
The art show, sponsored by UPMC East and Visit Monroeville, will have a “Canine Companions” demonstration at 2 p.m. Friday. The dogs help people with physical disabilities.
Saturday's events include artist Norma Rowley giving a demonstration of the scratchboard/etching technique, Beth De Maagd discussing creative writing and acting, and Rose Hastings demonstrating tole painting. Tole painting is acrylic painting using patterns and can be done on a variety of items, including fabric, wood and ceramics.
Also Saturday, Larry Cervi's East End Kids teen song-and-dance ensemble will perform songs from movie musicals, and Kim Sauers will do free face painting for children and adults.
Sunday's schedule includes Jonesse Davis doing demonstrations of life casting, sculpting and special effects; Ron D'Amico singing show tunes and old favorites; and Dave Salera performing “A Tribute to Frank Sinatra.”
Wempa, of Monroeville and a MAC member for 11 years, said the show gives artists a chance to demonstrate their talent.
“It's to show what they've been working on and how they have progressed from the year before,” she said.
“I like people to be able to express themselves and get away from their cares.”
Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
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