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Board member's passion leads to West Overton club for artists

| Saturday, July 27, 2013, 1:31 a.m.

A lifelong love of art has led a board member of West Overton Village & Museums to create a new club for artists in the area in its historic distillery building.

“I can't remember ever not being an artist and having art in my life. It is so vital to my happiness and peace of mind, that I have always felt the need to share my passion for everything art. I feel that we artists have so much to share with each other and the community; we just need an outlet to jump-start events for our work,” said Dianne Pyda, founder of the art club and a member of the board of directors, West Overton Village & Museums.

Pyda plans for the new West Overton Art Club to have a relaxing atmosphere that will allow artists to shine, while providing a place to meet other artists and super-charge their creativity.

“I want to start a community of artists who would like to get together and let their creativity flow while socializing with other like-minded people. We can get together and share ideas, learn techniques, and network in the field of art,” Pyda said.

The club's first meeting will be on Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. The club will meet monthly and offer three hours of networking with fellow artists, sharing ideas and working on new masterpieces.

Pyda said she sees West Overton Museum as a perfect location for this venture.

“It is a wonderful location with ample space and beautiful scenery. My dream would be to see this simple art club thrive and grow into an artist community,” she said. “West Overton has the space where we can have a yearly exhibit of the work we create during the art club meetings. That can grow into other local art shows for traveling artists, local art clubs and local high school art programs. We could offer workshops, create art festivals and host art camps for the kids. The possibilities are endless and very exciting.”

The club would not only provide an outlet for artists, but help West Overton create stronger community ties.

“The West Overton Art Club is just another way to get area residents familiar with the village and our museums,” said Jessica Barclay, director, West Overton Village & Museums. “Members will be able to ‘create' during meetings, which is quite unique for art clubs.”

Pyda said the club is open to all artists. “It is our hope that artists and [aspiring] artists will come to learn and network in this casual and relaxed atmosphere. Anyone can join. They just need to show up with their supplies and be willing to mingle and share ideas,” she said.

Pyda said a dozen artists have said they will be attending the first meeting, which she plans to be very informal.

One of those artists is Heidi Herholz of Penn Township. Herholz creates art through photography, painting, drawing and clay. The 2005 Seton Hill University graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in art education said she is looking forward to the social aspect of the club.

“Once you are out of school you no longer have the artistic community to share your ideas and gain inspiration from. The West Overton Art Club provides a venue for artists to share and get feedback,” Herholz said.

A still life will be set up for sketching with some background music to set the mood. There will also be some light snacks on hand.

“I'd like to get a feel for how the artists would like to see the gatherings happen. This isn't about what I want; it's about what we, the artists, want,” Pyda said.

The meetings will be the last Tuesday of every month from 6-9 p.m. in the bottom of the distillery building. Advance registration is not required. There is no fee to participate, but donations are welcome.

For information, contact Pyda at 724-423-5013.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.

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