Area art-lovers still have the opportunity to view the BAG Members’ Exhibit, which is ongoing through Sept. 24 at the Cynthia Bickey Art Gallery on Johnstown Road in Beckley.

Forty-seven Beckley Art Group members are participating in the exhibit, which is sponsored by Mabscott Supply Co. and Piney Land Co.

The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. for the public to visit the show at no charge.

JoAnn Byron’s watercolor painting, “After the Rain,” was chosen as Best of Show by art judge Lauri Reidmiller of Concord University.

Byron has been painting about five years and has entered several shows and won ribbons.

So far, she has worked only in watercolor and enjoys this medium.

Byron is a graduate of WVU with a B.S. degree in home economics and science. She and her husband, local attorney Buck Byron, moved to Beckley in 1970. She taught in Raleigh County Schools for 22 years before retiring five years ago.

Her goal when she retired was to paint and draw, and she says she is proud that  Beckley Art Group furnishes her that opportunity. She says she finds painting very relaxing and, at the same time, quite stimulating.

Byron is the current Beckley Art Group president.

The second-place award went to Sarah Hampton for her photograph “Changing Seasons.” Hampton’s passion is photography, and she says she tries to get as much beauty as she can in her pictures to share with others. She has a love for all the beauty in West Virginia and hopes others can see it in her photography and perhaps grow to love the state as well.

John Coffey, who resides in Elgood, was the third-place winner with his watercolor, “If I Only Had A Few More Boards.” John majored in art at Concord in the mid-1960s, but he is self-taught in watercolor.

Judged Overall Honorable Mention was Debbie Lester’s “West Virginia Splendor.” Lester says she considers herself a self-taught artist — using her own method after attending a variety of painting workshops.

Debbie has been painting since 1983 and is a member of the West Virginia Watercolor Society and a past president of the Beckley Art Group.

These artists comprise only a small number of the works on display at the Cynthia Bickey Art Gallery.

Every member of Beckley Art Group had the opportunity to display several arts and crafts items in this show. The gallery is full of unique and beautiful items by local artists and crafters.

Membership in Beckley Art Group is open to anyone interested in arts and crafts by paying the membership dues of $30.

Meetings are held the last Tuesday of each month, at which time details of shows, classes and other functions are discussed and scheduled. All members are not practicing artists; some wish to support the programs and work by offering their expertise in other ways that are valuable to the overall success of Beckley Art Group.

Upcoming classes at the gallery include:

- Barbara Delligatti Watercolor Workshop, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; cost is $50; register by calling 304 663-4401.

- Photography Workshop, Sept. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; cost: $55

- Felting, Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; cost $60

- Acrylic Workshop by Addison Palmer, Sept. 30- Oct. 1; cost $100. Call the gallery to register.

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