Life & Leisure

‘Saturday Evening Cartoons’ exhibit influenced by favorite childhood characters

MORGANTOWN — On April 7, those checking out the upcoming exhibit at Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) are welcome to peruse the works in their pajamas, grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich in hand.
“Saturday Evening Cartoons” gives artists a chance to create pieces inspired by the characters that influenced them growing up, whether that’s cartoons, comics, illustrations or toys.
The exhibit — put on by Artist Collective of West Virginia (ACWV), MAC, Morgantown Art Record Studio (MARS), Retro-tique and Alien Gold — will be filled with sculptures, paintings, video projects and mixed-media works from more than 30 artists.
“Maybe the loss of Toys R Us had something to do with it,” said John Michael Barone, ACWV executive director, of the impetus for the show. “We all took a vow as kids not to grow up, and now we’re kicking and screaming not to.”
He will have a few pieces in the show, including carvings based on early Nickelodeon cartoons and cel-style animation, and added that there will be plenty of “strange, surreal stuff to see.”
“I think this really catches people,” said Jillian Kelly, ACWV assistant director, of the exhibit’s theme. “Everyone remembers growing up watching cartoons on Saturdays. … And a lot of it is still stuff we all love.”
The show will be on display April 7-21 at MAC, with an opening reception April 7, featuring Culture Thief. The Morgantown-based band, which recently released the EP “Doorways,” will play two sets.
“Their music has got a psychedelic, youthful tendency to it,” Barone said. “So it just seems like the perfect fit.”
“It’s two fantastic things mixed together,” Kelly added. “We love having as much as we can for as many people as possible. You get people maybe coming for the music or coming for the artwork, and then being exposed to both. I think it’s nice when you go somewhere and there’s variety.”
There will be food and drinks at the reception, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches, donated by Cheese Louise. Kelly said there will be alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
The reception will also feature drawings and games, such as tournament-style Bop It. Those interested are welcome to dress for the occasion.
“If you want to wear pajamas or any kind of Cosplay, it’s all a go,” Kelly said. “We always encourage people to dress up for shows. It makes it even more fun.”