Greenbrier Valley Theatre is exhibiting the art and photography of Genevieve Sowards Gillen during April. Her pieces are on display in the theatre foyer: three pastel, four acrylic, and a number of photographs on stretch canvas.
Gillen is a member of Greenbrier Artists, the West Virginia Watercolor Society, and the Monroe County Fine Artists. She is presently Vice President of Monroe County Arts Alliance, having been President twice before. Since retiring to Swopes Knobs in Monroe County, Gillen has spent the past fourteen years pursuing painting, paper- making, sculpture, ceramics, and photography. She has enjoyed studying with diverse artist-teachers in six states.
As a painter, Gillen likes watercolor, oil, pastels, and colored pencil. Several dozen art workshops have been held in her gallery on Swopes Knobs, five miles from Union. These workshops were activities of the Monroe Arts Alliance, a non-profit, member-supported community organization.
Gillen taught 50 years, pre-school to graduate university, including five years at University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla., and six years at the Greenbrier Valley Campus of New River Technical and Community College in Lewisburg. She was in the Pilot for the National Board Certified Teachers in the United States. Coaching debate at Miami Beach High School (FL), she was awarded in Montana the title National Speech and Debate Coach when her students took first place in the U. S.
Gillen was awarded three Fulbright Scholarships (India, England, Pakistan) and four National Endowment for the Humanities grants in nineteenth century literature.
She taught a year in the United Kingdom on the English-Scottish border. She is involved in mission and relief work in Burma (Myanmar) in Southeast Asia, the country where she was born.