OUS opens #039;Winter Perspectives#039; show

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 17, 2003

Margaret Vance always knew the Tri-State produced a score of musical acts - she's a musician herself.

However, when the Ashland, Ky., resident was asked to play the harp at a Saturday night art show in Ironton, she was amazed to discover how much visual art talent the Tri-State had.

"It's beautiful. This is gorgeous," she said. "This is just a God-given gift."

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"Winter Perspectives" a collaborative exhibit sponsored by Ohio University Southern in conjunction with the Ironton Artists Association, Kentucky Creative Arts Club and the Tri-State Arts Association opened to the public Saturday night. The exhibit, complete with live music and food in each building, included winter- and fall-themed artwork from artists who are members of the three clubs. The exhibit will remain on display in all three campus buildings until Jan. 17, 2004.

Gary Tillis, art coordinator for OUS, said because of the surprising amount of traffic at the exhibit's opening, the university will definitely try to make it an annual event. The exhibit has also been a great opportunity, he said, to unite members of the three clubs in three states.

"Ashland, Ironton and Huntington are not separate, but they are all one big community under one umbrella," he said. "They are only separated by bodies of water. This is a way to bring West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky together, culturally speaking."

Even though the exhibit could have been placed in only one building, organizers decided to spread it out because this would be the first time many people would be seeing the campus, Tillis said.

"We have a fantastic campus here in Ironton. People may know about us through TV or the newspaper, but this gives them the chance to go through it," he said.

Ironton resident Pati Payne, a member of all three clubs, was beaming as she was on her way home.

"We're all thrilled," she said. "People were impressed by the university, the food was fantastic and the music was out of this world. It's been a wonderful evening."

A woman who was a member of the Tri-State and Ironton clubs, Payne said, networked in a big way. A member of the Kentucky club she had never met ran up and hugged her.

"Now they're friends," Payne said.