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Art at the Airport program promotes local artists to travelers

MORGANTOWN — A new partnership between the City of Morgantown Arts & Cultural Development Department, the Morgantown Art Association and the Morgantown Municipal Airport has yielded a new program to showcase local artists in the airport terminal.

The Art at the Airport program presents local artists’ work in an exhibition near the gate and baggage claim areas. Artists are also able to sell their work through the program if they wish. The Morgantown Art Association will choose the artists and the exhibition will change throughout the year.

“It’s great that we can support local artists and provide a space where they can showcase and sell their artwork while enhancing the airport experience for travelers,” Director of Arts & Cultural Development Vincent Kitch said.

Susan Dotson, a member of the Morgantown Art Association and exhibit coordinator for Art at the Airport’s inaugural exhibition, said that the program was conceived when Kitch visited the gallery in the winter of 2020.

Vince Cardi looks at the paintings during the Art at the Airport showcase on Wednesday.

According to Dotson, Kitch approached Morgantown Art Association staff about a partnership between the three aforementioned entities.

Dotson and Kitch have worked together to plan the program and its exhibitions, particularly its very first one, over the past several months.

About 40 paintings, along with pottery pieces and stained glass art, were set to be displayed at the inaugural exhibition, said Dotson.

 Dotson said staff at the Morgantown Art Association enjoy creating and displaying art, which makes the Art at the Airport program especially exciting for them.

“We’ve got a more public venue to display our art in addition to the gallery that is open to the public at the Mountaineer Mall,” she said.

Jascenna Haislet (left) and Becky Turton look at the pieces on display during the Art at the Airport showcase on Wednesday.

But, Dotson said, the program isn’t just valuable to the associations involved — it’s valuable to the entire Morgantown community.

She said the program presents an opportunity for Morgantown residents to view work created by others from the area, while also generating interest in the airport itself.

“I think it’ll be interesting to people who come into the airport, maybe fly in from somewhere else. It gives them an opportunity to see what some of our community members have been able to create,” she said.

Dotson described herself as a “rookie” at coordinating exhibitions and said she had help from others at the Morgantown Art Association when planning this one — both in figuring out how to display the art and in providing art to be exhibited.

“It’s created a lot of interest among members of the group,” she said, again because of the chance to display artwork in an entirely new venue.

“I think we’re all quite excited about it.”

Dotson said the agreement that Morgantown Art Association has with the city and the airport states the association will provide four art exhibitions at the airport in the next year.

The next exhibition will take place in October and will have a theme of “Autumn in West Virginia.” Another show will take place in December, followed by a fourth in the spring. Themes for the latter two shows have not yet been decided, Dotson said.

“We reached this agreement for the year and if we’re all happy with how it goes, then we’ll exhibit here for some time in the future,” she said.

Dotson said to participate in future Art at the Airport exhibitions, one must be a member of the Morgantown Art Association. Membership is open to any and all community members with an interest in art.

Art at the Airport’s inaugural exhibition and an opening reception featuring light refreshments took place Wednesday. The event was open to the public. The theme of the exhibition is “Artist’s Choice.”

Masks were required at the event except when attendees were actively eating or drinking.

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A sign near the entrance during the Art at the Airport showcase on Wednesday.