Bethany’s PICTURES & POETRY’ Art Exhibition to Feature Alumni

BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College’s Invited Alumni Art Exhibition 2014, “PICTURES & POETRY,” will be held September 8 to October 16 in Renner Art Gallery.

The exhibition will feature art by Bethany alumni Cheryl Ryan Harshman '74 and poetry by her husband Marc Harshman '73, West Virginia’s Poet Laureate.

Cheryl’s work in this exhibit will include two-dimensional visual art including mixed water media, clay monoprint, and encaustic (hot wax) painting.

“I feel as if the particular poems and art work which have been chosen are ones that set up a resonance with each other,” Marc said of the upcoming show. “(The pieces) help amplify the spirit within each, help point to other layers of meaning within the poem or the painting.”

Regarding working together on this exhibition, Cheryl said it’s nothing new for the couple. They’ve been working together since their undergraduate years at Bethany four decades ago.

 “At first it was over term papers and class projects,” Cheryl said. “Next it was about building a home (and a couple of houses), then our collaboration centered on creating a family. Always, though, our collaborations have been based on conversations about ideas and work and finding/speaking truth. I hope it is clear that in our case, art imitates life.”

Marc’s 11 children’s books include “THE STORM,” a Smithsonian Notable Book. His children's titles have also been published in Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Danish, and Swedish. Marc has three new children’s books forthcoming.  His full-length poetry collection, “GREEN-SILVER AND SILENT,” was recently published and his fourth chapbook, “ALL THAT FEEDS US: THE WEST VIRGINIA POEMS,” came out from Quarrier Press just last year.

Marc holds degrees from Bethany College, Yale University Divinity School, and the University of Pittsburgh. He has also recently received an honorary doctorate from Bethany College.

Cheryl is also an accomplished author, having written multiple publications and co-authored a book with Marc. She received the Christine Burleson Award for Excellence at Bethany College, and the WV Literary Merit Award from the West Virginia Library Association. She’s also participated in multiple art exhibitions, including the West Virginia Biennial Juried Exhibition and the Tamarack Best of West Virginia Juried Exhibition.

Cheryl is a graduate of Bethany College and the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Library and Information Sciences.

The two reside in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Professor of Fine Arts Professor Kenn Morgan, Gallery Director, anticipates that this year's unique collaboration will be another successful event.

The Artists' and Alumni Homecoming Reception will be held Friday, October 10, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. These receptions have drawn crowds of more than one hundred people in recent years, Morgan said.

For more than 20 years, art exhibits featuring alumni have been a focal point of Bethany College Homecoming celebrations. Invited group shows, one person shows and Triennial Alumni Shows open to all Bethanians have become a part of the fall semester Renner Art Gallery schedule.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the oldest college in West Virginia.