Bob Sako is featured artist for May Gallery Hop



The May art show “Freehand, A Journey in Color and Dust” at ARTWORKS Around Town is featuring the almost all new pastel work of Artworks member artist, Robert (Bob) Sako. Featured in the North Gallery will be the students of Jeff Mamone from Shadyside High School in Shadyside, Ohio. The North Nook will also have new work displayed. All openings at ARTWORKS Around Town at the Centre Market, 2200 Market St, Wheeling on First Fridays are open to the public from 5:30 to 8PM. A buffet of finger foods is always part of each Artworks opening.



Robert Sako is an award winning artist in acrylic, photography, digital imagery, and drawing. His art work has been in a number of either one person shows or group exhibitions at OUE, the Mound Museum and Exhibition space in Moundsville, WV, and in Wheeling at The Wheeling Artisan Center, West Virginia Northern Community College, Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Center, and at ARTWORKS Around Town Gallery.

Sako is an Ohio Valley native from Rayland, Ohio, living and teaching in the Ohio Valley throughout his teaching career. He taught art formally for thirty years both in the Martins Ferry School District for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade and as an adjunct instructor for West Virginia Northern Community College. He instructed college students in photography, drawing, design, and creative expression at WVNCC. He still tutors students privately at his studio in St. Clairsville.

Bob retired from formal teaching five years ago to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a full-time artist. When the opportunity to travel to Europe to paint with the Journees de Peinture group of European and American artists became possible, Sako needed a lightweight artistic medium for air travel. He decided on pastels. Pastels vary in many ways and grades of quality. Purchasing some better than “student grade” pastels he had used previously, Bob discovered that good quality pastels are much different and produce much more luscious paintings than he ever imagined. Love of a new medium began.

Below the water tower - Oglebay

Below the water tower – Oglebay

Bob has a past history of producing hard edged acrylics of bright primary colors, photographs which are almost abstract in design, and collages which combine a variety of materials that vary from religious imagery to children’s games combined in painting designs.

But with his pastels he has stuck to nature and natural subjects of organic objects such as fruits and vegetables and landscapes. His landscapes are almost dream-like with soft subtle highlights. There is a school of pastel painting which creates almost identical landscapes. Only the most trained eye can separate the artists by technique and use of color. Bob Sako is NOT one of those artists, he has gone a step further. His landscapes are far from traditional. There is always a “twist” in each painting, the one green apple in the pile of red ones, the red apple in the pile of lemons or the half hidden squash in the leaves. There are hidden roots or animals and streams barely discernible. His shading is almost invisible but lends just the right touch to highlight what needs to be seen and important in each painting.

While painting with pastels under the Blaine Bridge, Bob was approached by a woman walking her dog, who asked after looking at his work, “Did you do that freehand?” thus the name of the show. Whether you are partial to pastel paintings or not, Bob Sako’s new medium deserves a look. He handles his medium with skill and a delicate hand. His work is not of the ordinary variety and yet it is entirely relatable and has that “I’ve been there” quality that the viewer can easily imagine. Bob has always been a master of his chosen mediums, but this time he has not only mastered the medium, he has conquered it.

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Sandi Z. shines as featured artist at February Artworks Gallery Hop

Sandi 1It isn’t an uncommon story, but the outcome can be very UNCOMMON. Sandi Ziolkowski, in the past, often thought of herself as a misfit. She wasn’t happy in her corporate life, and she wasn’t happy in her profession. She felt unfulfilled. The odd twist is that she didn’t seek professional vocational help or a psychologist to find peace with her present life. This searching artist has produced another unique and fascinating show for Artworks around town at the Centre Market Gallery at 2200 Market Street for the First Friday Opening on Feb. 6, 2015, from 5:00 to 8:00PM. The show is free and open to the public. Refreshments are provided. Come see some unique items produced by an artist who is always searching to fulfill her desire to create more objects with more texture and more color and more “Sandi Z.” design.

Sandi Ziolkowski searched within herself and her heritage and found the answer withinSandi 4 the life she already was living. She wasn’t a misfit. She fit perfectly into her own family, just in a different way. Sandi comes from a lineage which includes many crafts people, not always in the arts, but people who worked with their hands in crafts as designers but not in the artistic fields. The quality of working with hands came from her ancestors. There was a rich heritage to draw from. Sandi knew that she loved color and texture. Looking for a craft that combined all these loves and interests, Sandi came upon jewelry making. And the story moves on.

Sandi 6Sandi has long been known in the local area for her jewelry. Her silver jewelry with its unusual designs and combinations with semi-precious stones, glass, leather and wood are well know and easily recognized. Still following her love of color and particularly texture, Sandi is working with her hands, expanding into the even more tactile art of pottery. Using much of the knowledge she has gained through years of working with jewelry making, Sandi has created striking pieces of pottery. Her love of texture is readily apparent as part of herSandi 5 pottery designs. Sandi has expanded her range and production of art in another medium. She is an intelligent and talented woman who has achieved success through her own search of her own personality. People who achieve creative art can sometimes be perceived as misfits. They don’t follow the usual paths, but that’s where misfits and creative artists meet and produce unusual and fascinatingly original work. Sandi’s original and fascinating work will be on display at Artworks around town as the February show in the Studio Gallery.

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The New Year Gallery Hop is “Scripted”

Sharon Hanse beautifully practices what is considered a lost and/or dying art form, CALLIGRAPHY. Her new show opens at Artworks Around Town on First Friday, January 2, 2015, at the Centre Market, 2200 Market from 5:00 to 8:00PM. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Sharon Hanse

Sharon Hanse

Calligraphy is the art of handwriting in varying forms or fonts. It is an ancient art form whose origins are rooted in the copying of manuscripts of the Bible and in the text written by ancients. Writing was a rare talent acquired and practiced by only a privileged few until the modern era. The average person did not write their own language until the beginning of public schools, which eventually introduced the art of “penmanship”.

Sharon Hanse’s calligraphy is incorporated into beautifully constructed works of art including her own paper marbling, illuminating, and gilding. Writing letters and words in careful fanciful script is only part of the creating of Sharon’s work. Her artwork includes quotes from the Bible and a variety of philosophies and philosophers. Each piece of work has some wonderfully designed background to add to the illustration of the carefully crafted letters. Her backgrounds and added embellishments are lovingly thought out and executed. Watercolor, acrylics, gouache, pastels, and inks are used to illuminate each piece of artwork. Art forms such as collage, etching, gilding, embossing, paper cutting, marbling and hand made paper add to the beauty of each of Sharon’s creations. Each piece of work is carefully laid out and all designs are specifically created to enhance the meaning of the works and increase the visual impact. Each of the letter styles or fonts that Sharon uses creates a particular feeling and is chosen carefully by this artist to interpret the text.

"Great Spirit"

“Great Spirit”

The craft of calligraphy requires practice over and over. Years of practice results in a flowing confidence found in Mrs. Hanse’s work. Her interest in calligraphy began in high school as it does for many of us who are fascinated with the flowing of ink onto paper and the formation of letters. Studying at Cleveland Community College and the Cleveland Art Institute renewed her interest in calligraphy at the age of 35. Then she became a banker for the next 22 years.

Since 1978 Sharon has studied a variety of lettering arts and subjects related to art of working with paper including paper marbling, papermaking, paste paper technique (a creating of permanent design on paper with pigment mixed with paste), bookmaking of all types, illuminating, and gilding. Bookmaking includes tiny few page books that can be used as Christmas ornaments to larger books that can be created as private journals all self-created. Illuminating is the embellishment of letters that are characteristic of manuscript pages beginning with a large single letter or word, highly decorated as an illustration to highlight the remaining text on the page. Think of books of the Middle Ages. Gilding is the art of using gold pigment or gold leaf in illustration work.

Using many different letter styles and art forms, Sharon began to create broadsides of poetry and quotations. This study led to participation in art fairs and exhibits. Her artwork lead to meeting her husband, fellow artist Richard Hanse. Two years later they were married and moved to Barnesville where they now reside with their two cats.

"Connected" - Chief Seattle

“Connected” – Chief Seattle

Sharon gives workshops through Artworks and other art centers, which are highly constructive (and fun) for both adults and children. Participants often take her same workshops over and over because the finished products are beautiful, fun to create, practical to use in other art forms, and unusual.

Calligraphy is a satisfying and beautiful art form rarely seen in large amounts or displayed for the public as it will be for this opening at Artworks on January 2, 2015. This is a rare opportunity to see and appreciate a rare art form.

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New Members Show comes to ARTWORKS in December

What do a lawyer, a computer/math professor and a potter all have in common? They are all artist members of ARTWORKS around town at the Centre Market in Wheeling. They are this year’s new members and an exhibit of their marvelous artworks will be opening on Dec. 5th in the Studio Gallery of Artworks from 5:00 to 8PM. As always the public is invited to this free gallery hop at the Centre Market, 2200 Market Street. In the North Gallery will be the work of Martins Ferry Elementary and Middle Schools.


Janet Sheehan has always been an artist. As a young child and teenage, she dabbled in art, taking some classes but never taking art seriously until her youngest son left “the nest”. Now Janet is a watercolor teacher at Artworks. She has developed proficiency in watercolor with the guidance of Janet Rodriguez, the former watercolor instructor at Artworks, and local watercolorist, Bill Rettig.


Honored this year with a merit award in the West Virginia Watercolor Society’s show, Janet is always exploring and adding to her artistic knowledge in drawing as well. Yes, she is a lawyer and graduate of Duquesne University and West Virginia University and has been a hearing lawyer for 26 years but her artistic career has become a wonderful addition to all her other skills.


Paul Latos has been a potter since being introduced to the skill at Brooke High School. Further study at Glenville State and WVU added to his skill with the completion of a Master in Fine Arts. Starting his career as a potter in rural WV, Paul quickly progressed from his two car garage studio to a newly built facility to now residing in a three story building in historic North Wheeling. Along with his working studio, he has a first floor showroom of his work, which has been sold in numerous galleries across the country. He has exhibited at the Renwick Gallery in DC and the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulfur Springs.


Pottery produced in the Linn Pottery Studio has been collected by art patrons in Canada, Japan, China, Korea, Ireland and across the US. He has been honored by receiving both the Best of West Virginia Award from Gov. Gaston Caperton and the Top Producer Award by Tamarack in Beckley, WV. His utilitarian stoneware, elegant porcelain and specialty works of low fired earthenware will be on display at this new members opening.


Then there is the computer science/mathematics professor who has always been interested in art. Margaret Gerosh has been taking a variety of classes at Artworks and the Stifel Art Center and now private lessons with Mark Fleming in acrylic and oil. Using many of her memories from her numerous trips all over the world, Meg has created new and fresh works of art. For a college graduate who started out with a degree in French, Meg has certainly strayed far from all her academic roots.


Meg is a member of the Independent Artists Group, which meets to do figure drawing at the Stifel Center. Along with her lessons from various local teachers, Meg believes she has developed some of her art from her study of computer graphics and what can be done artistically with computers. Meg’s work is not computer-like or abstract or even geometric. Her paintings are lovely recreations of many of her adventures in a varied life far from her Akron, Ohio roots.


Anyone who views this exhibit of New Members at Artworks will be treated to an interesting and arresting exhibit of beautifully crafted work by dedicated artists who are following a love of creating their own beauty in this work.

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Small Business Saturday – November 29th

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Father and Son Show Highlight October Gallery Opening

Another unique show is coming to ARTWORKS around town. This time it is a “family affair”. Artworks member, Ed Doughty, artist, wood carver, and miniature wood craftsman and his son, David Doughty, a painter, will be showing their work for the month of October. Their exhibition will open Friday, October 3rd at ARTWORKS around town in Wheeling’s Centre Market, 2200 Market Street, Wheeling from 5:30 to 8PM.

Ed Doughty

Ed Doughty

Ed Doughty is a meticulous craftsman in everything he does, and he pretty much does everything. He is one of those curious people who, when challenged by something he sees or learns about, is fascinated enough to figure “it” out and try to craft it himself. A self-taught craftsman who became a carpenter and cabinetmaker, Ed has perfected the art of miniature wood models, from the 14’ long replica of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge to the minute detail on his many carvings of early fire engines and the tiny trappings of the horses pulling the many carriages he has carved. Ed carves horses with saddles and without. He has carved Queen Elizabeth’s coronation carriage, American Civil War cannons and caissons, covered bridges, locomotives, stagecoaches and the Oglebay Mansion Museum.

David Doughty

David Doughty

This retired artist never stops. He built his studio, a complete house. He remodeled and redesigned ARTWORKS’ storage room. Ed rarely sleeps, and when he does he probably dreams up projects in his sleep.

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Paint Historic Wheeling opens for August Gallery Hop

Liz Neumann paints in Centre Market

Liz Neumann paints in Centre Market

Area residents have an opportunity to see the beauty of our city through the eyes of talented artists during the Paint Historic Wheeling exhibit, which is the August Gallery Hop at ARTWORKS around town, opening Friday, August 8th.

This event brought together dozens of artists from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania to paint “en plein air” – a French expression for painting “in the open air.” Artists set up their paint boxes and easels throughout the city, capturing Wheeling’s charming neighborhoods on canvas.

Paintings created during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August will be on exhibit and for sale throughout the month of August at the gallery. The hop is held at ARTWORKS around town, which is located in the Centre Market. The public is always welcome to attend the Gallery Hop openings, which start at 5 o’clock and run until 8. Light refreshments will be served.

Janet Sheehan prepares canvas for paint

Janet Sheehan prepares canvas for paint

This year’s Paint Historic Wheeling event marked the ninth annual plein air event to take place in the Wheeling area. Artists chose to create their paintings anywhere around the city including Victorian Old Town, the Historic Centre Market District and along the waterfront with beautiful views of the Ohio River and the historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge.

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“Interlocking Threads” weaves through ARTWORKS for June Gallery Hop

“Interlocking Threads” featuring the artwork of Christie Wilfong, is one of the most unique shows that has ever been shown by the ARTWORKS around town gallery in it’s 15 year history. The gallery hop is on First Friday, June 6TH, from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. Christie Wilfong 1Wilfong’s fabric art work is an awesome display of the human tenacity of a determined artisan. As always, accompanying the Studio Gallery display of Wilfong’s fabric art, the North Gallery will feature the work of the Children’s Home of Wheeling. All gallery hop openings at ARTWORKS around town are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available.

As and additional attraction, the June opening will also include author Alan Fitzpatrick’s presentation and signing of his third and newest local history book, “PLACE OF THE SKULL.” Make sure you attend in order to get your very own signed copy!

Christie Wilfong, ARTWORKS around town’s June featured artist, has been involved in artistic endeavors since childhood. She is currently finishing her 15th quilt. This ARTWORKS show will be her first showing of nothing but her textile pieces, including quilts, jackets, wall hangings, scarves, and handbags.Wilfong 2

During her early childhood in Weston, West Virginia, Christie began imitating local artists, weavers, and glass artists. Weaving at an early age, Christie worked on a frame loom designed and built by her brother from a recycled window frame. Later, during her high school years, Christie trained as a dressmaker and upholsterer.

Then in 2001, a mild stroke occurred as the result of post radiotherapy syndrome from treatment for a brain tumor. Christie’s computer and mathematic studies at Glenville State College were interrupted by medical treatments. She then turned to quilting to retrain herself in her skills of sewing. Becoming an accomplished and skilled quilter, Christie’s “Grandma’s Quilt Pieces” was selected for display in the 2006 ROMPP show.

Although Christie has many craft skills, her first love is weaving. Her only formal training in weaving was spending a year weaving with Julia Bragg at the Heritage Craft Guild in Jackson’s Mill, West Virginia. Other than that, Christie is a self-taught quilter and weaver. Her specialty is creating traditional or “tabby” woven pieces, “paintings in fabric” using vivid colors and textures.

Wilfong 3A second stroke temporarily halted Christie from weaving on a large loom. That’s when the weaver became a teacher as well. Christie taught her mother Donna to weave the designs that she created for shows. Christie is constantly learning new techniques and investigating new media. Christie has since been able to resume her weaving with the help of a special bench, built by friends, for the large loom.

Between 2006 and 2010, Christie has exhibited her creations in over 30 different venues in West Virginia, including arts and craft fairs, galleries, and while giving special demonstrations. A dream of Christie’s was to have her own studio space to create her works of art. In 2012, that dream came true. Christie now has a newly built studio where she is able to weave, quilt, and live, in a space customized for her. As her mother and creative partner says, “Art is good therapy.” Christie Wilfong has created a marvelous, all textile show for the patrons of ARTWORKS, a unique and inventive display by a hard working inventive artisan.

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Beyond Boundaries Opens As May Gallery Hop

“Watermedia to the MAX” should be the title of the newest show at Artworks Around Town opening Friday, May 2, 2014, for the newest gallery hop from 5:30-8PM at the Centre Market. Trish McKinney, Karen Becker Benedetti, and Rose Huart are amazing Ohio artists working in watermedia. In the North Gallery will be the art work of Union Local High School. These students are exemplary artists and crafts persons. All gallery hops are free and open to the public. Light refreshments are provided.

Benedetti Caressing_The_Shore

Benedetti Caressing_The_Shore

Trish McKinney, Karen Becker Benedetti and Rosie Huart are watermedia artists to the “enth” degree. These women are working in any and all watermedias with their many chosen techniques that can be used. They draw inspiration from life around them and translate it for the viewer.

Watermedia can mean any media using water as a basis including watercolor in tubes, liquids, and pans as well as acrylic, acrylic inks, gouache, casein, and fluid acrylic. These water mediums are manipulated using a variety of tools from brushes to using water itself. Working on handmade and self-made papers, including collage, these women push themselves to explore new textures and strive for unpredictable results.

Karen specializes in creating work with layers on watercolor paper, boards, or canvases. Trish uses the colors of her childhood and her relationships with the human spirit to create mixed watermedia pieces which are poured using no brushes but are created in color manipulated by water. Rosie’s works include techniques using calligraphy, papermaking combined with bookmaking, creative writing, and poetry.

Huart Mystical_Forest

Huart Mystical_Forest

These women take their inspiration from a variety of experiences. Rosie uses Eastern spirituality. Trish’s fascination with color has always inspired her since a child, colors’ spontaneity and vibrancy aid in her creating her vibrant artwork. Karen’s work is nature oriented centering on landscapes using earth forms as her primary focus.

Trish and Rosie have conducted workshops in France, Greece, and Italy. Along with Karen these women have written many publications (their own books) and have been the subject of published articles about their creations in numerous artistic magazines. Trish has also been an illustrator.

All three members of this fascinating group have won a LARGE variety of awards from local, regional, as well as national watercolor and watermedia shows. These amazing women have taught workshops, seminars, and given demonstrations both in the United States and in Europe. They have won prizes in shows across the United States and their works are part of numerous private and corporate collections.

McKinney Gossamer

McKinney Gossamer

Wheeling area art patrons are in for a special treat for the month of May. The fascinating works created by these three unique artists will be displayed at Artworks until May 27th. As always, Artworks strives to bring the public the best and most unique art experiences in the area. Visit our gallery at the Centre Market, 2200 Market Street, Wheeling.

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Francisco Amaya Featured Artist at March Gallery Hop

Francisco Amaya 1

“Local Painter Captures Lost Wheeling Architecture” should read the headline for the newest show at Artworks around town opening on First Friday, March 7, 2014, from 5:30 to 8:00PM at the Studio Gallery at 2200 Market St, Centre Market.  Francisco Amaya, born and raised in Wheeling, returns with his wonderful paintings and some drawings, many of buildings of Wheeling’s past that no longer exist.

Francisco Amaya

Francisco Amaya

The Sexual Assault Help Center displays their art work in the North Gallery.  Art therapy for these victims of abuse results in the creation of some very intriguing artwork. These two shows will open with a reception of light refreshments and an opportunity to meet Francisco Amaya and many Artworks’ artists, as well.

Francisco Amaya, a Wheeling native, returns to delight us with paintings and drawings of nature as well as technology.  Lines, created by the commonplace in our visual lives, become important in Francisco’s work.  The ubiquitous tree branches, power lines, streetlights and signage take on an importance in Amaya’s work.  “I find an element of the sublime in these street corner images.  When the sun spectacularly backlights the branches of a tree, there is breathtaking abundance that I try to capture in some of my paintings,” explains Amaya.

Some of Amaya’s drawings have captured images of demolished architecture, which has been lost to all of us.  Since 2008, he has created a collection of fuzzy drawings commemorating buildings no longer with us, an important part of our lost urban landscape.  After earlier art projects had Francisco creating drawings of lost building in Buffalo, NY and Richmond, VA, Amaya was excited to make similar drawings of lost urban architecture in the area where he was born and raised.

Francisco Amaya 2

Some lost architecture of Wheeling that is included in this local project is the Eoff Street Temple, Mt deChantal Academy, and the Old Main Linsly building at Thedah Place (Kroger’s).  Amaya had also created drawings of some lost Pittsburgh architecture such as Three Rivers Stadium and the Syria Mosque.  Using a fuzzy “shady hand” technique, Amaya feels this scribbled method allows for a less distinct outline and emphasizes, “the quality of memories, fading and just out of reach. What remains is a floating and unanchored mass of lines that resolves itself into a pen and ink version of a building long gone.”

Amaya works predominantly in the areas of painting and drawing, but has also produced hand-printed editions of work as a printmaker.  He holds a BFA from WVU and a MFA from the University at Buffalo.  His work has been exhibited nationally for over 15 years in solo and group shows.  He has worked as a college instructor of studio art, art history, and the humanities at WVU, the University at Buffalo and Villa Maria College.  Currently he teaches at Fairmont State University.


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