Art show for WVU alumna Karri Roberts a success
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 10:07
Saturday, Jay’s Getaway hosted an art opening to spotlight local artist and West Virginia University alumna Karri Roberts.
The event, titled "HomeSpun," showcased a variety of Roberts’ own brand of folk art and celebrated her down-to-Earth creative process.
In Roberts’ own words, "It took months of work and some stress, but I really enjoyed it and am very glad it came to be."
Stepping into Jay’s, it quickly became apparent that the venue was the right type of place for a feature named “HomeSpun.”
The entrance quickly pushed you into a warm, home-like setting where at first glance you could sign your name within a guest book, noting your existence in that spot. Though, to complete the home thought, you would have to accept the full bar, tall stools and echoes of Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” playing overhead. But, really, who wouldn’t?
A lounge area held most of the artwork – paintings and portraits carefully applied to canvases not even a foot in width – along slim, wooden shelves fixed in various spots of its dark red walls.
Below, odd lamps with multiple, small light fixtures that remind one of Medusa’s head cast light upward and illuminated what the eyes were supposed to see; candles provided extra light while setting a comforting mood.
Various examples of furniture completed the set: leather couches, a glass-top coffee table and small plants.
The lounge, just away from the excitement of the bar, sits up on its own level, inches off of the main floor.
If you wanted, you could step up there, take a seat and feel as if you were less in a public spot than a private area of your own liking.
A total of 50 people appeared and took part in "HomeSpun," but the number was stretched throughout the evening. Various clusters of people would stroll in, grab a drink and eventually stroll out, but not before Roberts had entertained her guests.
At various points she would happily explain her work, and at times she would even make a sale. Roberts later explained these interactions to be the highlight of her night.
"Every person (who) bought art wanted to hear the story behind the artwork, which meant a great deal to me since most of my art does mean something more than the eye can see," said Roberts. "The most memorable moment was a patron saying she wanted to write a poem about the drawing she was purchasing. She and I talked about the symbolism at length."
Roberts never appeared nervous. She was in her element and comforted by the fact people were paying attention to what she had made. She was friendly as well as welcoming, and only expressed stress in the setup.
There was confidence about her, though, that cemented the entire event. Later, Roberts would label "HomeSpun" a success, but if she could have changed one thing, it would have been the effort she put into promotion.
"I would have probably tried to get the word out there a bit better than I did," said Roberts.
"Morgantown can be slow in the summer months, but I relied heavily on word of mouth, Facebook and 100 postcards to reach people."
Roberts would certainly like to host a showing again and see the greater Morgantown community commit to this sort of thing.
"I would like to have art shows more often and in many different places," said Roberts. "The next step is to keep producing artwork and look into venues that might be interested. It all requires work, and I hope that more artists and venues in the area get involved in making art shows, art crawls and the like a common occurrence in Morgantown."