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Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art hosts 'Paint Out'

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, Sept. 20, 2010

There is no better way to pack the house than scenery on canvas at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley. Fifty artists had two days to capture the Ligonier countryside. Sunday they put up their freshly painted art for a one-time-only sale at the second annual "Paint Out."

Sisters Leslie Serenyi and Holly Barry invited artists to their farm in Rector. In a matter of hours, Rita Haldeman brought their streams, pond and tree formations to life in an oil on canvas called "Weaver Mill Road." The sisters were thrilled with the painting, and snapped it up before anyone else did.

The painting started Friday morning. Artist Bonnie Hoffman said she felt the pressure to have her oil on canvas of the Miller/Marker Farm in Ligonier finished by Saturday. But she did! A portion of the "Paint Out" proceeds and an artist fee help support the museum, according to coordinator Sommer Toffle.

-- Jennifer Miele

Learning about La Cultura

The sights, sounds and smells of India filled Ferguson Hall at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg on Thursday, at the kick-off event for the 2010 La Cultura Lecture Series.

A colorful, passionate performance by the Steel City Bhangra Dance Troupe had the crowd cheering and clapping.

The traditional Indian dance celebrates the harvest, but the group sprinkled in plenty of modern flare. Neha Mehta, 21, a senior at main campus, leads the group while juggling three majors and three minors. Her co-captain, Ram Mahalingam, 21, also a senior, has two majors of his own.

Their energy inspired UPG freshmen Brandon Lemanski and Shawnee Fereydouni to try a few steps themselves. President Sharon Smith was beaming as the students shared their cultures on campus.

Following a lecture and slide show by Dr. Lipika Mazumdar , assistant professor of anthropology at UPG, committee Chair Dr. Bill Pamerleau invited everyone to taste some traditional cuisine. Head Chef Richard McMahon 's vegetable fritters, made with besan (chickpea flour) were a hit!

-- Jennifer Miele

Watershed Art Auction

The Loyalhanna Watershed Association's 26th Annual Dinner and Benefit Auction was a feast for the eyes. The scenery at Joshua and Marion Whetzel 's Laurel Valley Farm was picture-perfect. That's probably why artists Dix Baines, Ron Donoughe and Bud Gibbons had no problem bringing their blank canvases alive in about an hour for the first-ever "Quick Draw" event. Those paintings and two dozen other artworks were auctioned by S teve Yilit, and proceeds benefit conservation efforts.

More than 170 guests spent an evening beneath the trees, a tribute to the late artist Charles Pitcher. Ron McIntosh transformed the barn with birch and harvest fruits and flowers, before guests dined family style on a meal by Chef Dato's Catering.

Emcee Wink Knowles thanked the underwriters: Armstrong/McKay Foundation, McFeely-Rogers Foundation and Whetzel Family Charitable Trust, and the Auction Committee, chaired by Janet Winters. Seen at the event: Dan and Nancy Crozier, Drew and Doris Banas, Lewis and Kate Lobdell, Peggy Palmer, Bill and Margot Woodwell, Max and Peggy King, Jim and Ellen Walton, Nancy and Henry Armstrong, Betty Rahsman, Carl and Beth Campbell, Steven and Susan Huba, Ronald Virag, Tom Saunders and Lisa Auel.

-- Jennifer Miele

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