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Beaver County seniors find artistic inspiration in Civil War

| Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, 12:00 p.m.

The Civil War is inspiring young artists in Beaver County.

Madison Weyman, 17, of the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland, is combining illustration and photography to portray the roles of women during the war.

"I'm focusing on nursing and housework," she said. "It's taken a lot of research. I've probably spent nearly as much time on the research as the art. My teacher is always handing me a book or something that she thinks will be helpful."

Weyman is among the students who are preparing for the 15th student art exhibit, to be held March 4-18 at the Merrick Art Gallery in New Brighton.

For the first time, the exhibit will have a theme, "Art in the American Civil War," suggested by gallery intern Anna Freeman, 22, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the war. Previously, students chose their topics.

Seniors at all Beaver County high schools have been invited to participate using any medium. Entries will be displayed and judged, with the top three finishers splitting $500 in prize money.

For the third year, the student giving the best poetry, short story, one-act play or musical interpretation will receive $100.

The deadline for entries is Feb. 29. Eight students have entered so far.

As projects shape up

Megan Sebroski, 18, of Lincoln Park, is ensuring the uniforms on the soldiers in her clay sculpture are historically accurate.

Hopewell Area High School student Kerry Parks, 18, found history classes helpful for a painting about slavery.

"The war wasn't new to me," she said. "I knew how (people) dressed."

Karissa Parsons, 18, of Hopewell Area, has enjoyed making a clay sculpture of two ships in battle.

"This is the fourth year I've taken an art class," she said. "I love working with clay, and I love the sea. I was born in the South; the Civil War has special significance to me."

In the performance art category, Central Valley High School student Andrew Clark, 18, plans a skit about a man leaving his family to go to war.

"The theme is a good fit for us," gallery Director Cynthia Kundar said. "Our founder was a Civil War veteran; we have some Civil War artifacts."

Edward Dempster Merrick established the gallery in 1880 as a teaching and exhibiting museum. It features French, German, English and American paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Merrick was co-founder of the Standard Horse Nail Corp. of New Brighton, which manufactures machine tool accessories.

Additional Information:

If you go

What : 'Art in the American Civil War' student exhibit.

When : 1 to 4 p.m. March 4, 11 and 18; 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 6-10 and March 13-17. Closed Mondays. A reception featuring re-enactors from the 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry Company C is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. March 4.

Where : Merrick Art Gallery, 1100 Fifth Ave., New Brighton, Beaver County.

Cost : Admission is free to the exhibit and reception.

Details : Call the gallery at 724-846-1130.

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