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Artview Impresses With Variety of Exhibits

South Korean potter Kuk-Hyun Park “threw clay” on site.

The event wasn’t as widely attended as hoped for, but The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge organizers were pleased that Artview: Visions & Voices once again put a spotlight on the creative forces in the Roanoke Valley.

International and regional artists created installation pieces – on site – at the Roanoke Civic Center’s special events hall, some with the help of local high school students. Artview also promoted Roanoke’s sister cities, since artists that represented many of the sister cities – from Brazil, Korea, France, Poland and Russian – were on hand.

Rhonda Hale, artist services & education director for the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, said less than 1000 paid their way in for the three-day showing at the Civic Center. Nevertheless said Hale, “everyone who has come has been impressed, and really enjoyed it. They’re very accomplished artists.”

Added Hale, now “they get what an installation [art piece] is.” Hale liked the exchange between the artists and students at local high schools and colleges, including Virginia Tech, during workshops in a two week period leading up to Artview.

Through an interpreter, South Korean potter Kuk-Hyun Park, representing Roanoke’s sister city of Wonju, said he liked the Star City “very much … very impressed.” Park noted how similar Roanoke and Wonju were in population, their proximity to mountains and other characteristics. Park said the level of artist activity in Roanoke was also “very good.”

Pearl Fu, head of the Local Colors organization and chair of the Sister Cities subcommittee for its counterpart in China, also helped stage international cooking demonstrations during Artview.

“It’s a wonderful concept but I’m so sorry some of the artists from [every Sister City] couldn’t come,” said Fu. “But it’s a wonderful idea. Having the local and regional artists all come together [with the international guest artists] to show the diversity. It’s very innovative and very creative. I think it’s done really well.”

She hopes the word gets out about Artview, so if it is repeated more people will show up. Fu and a friend were visiting with Russian-born artist Grigory Gurevich, who was showing off his patented “Magic Book,” where paper photo strips of people’s portraits can be configured in many different variations, perhaps hundreds.

Katie Domlenson, a Northside High School student, helped paint a paper tree and arrange newsprint leaves all around it. She also assisted local artist John Wilson with his installation piece, which involved circuit boards. “It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun. I love art.” She also hopes Artview returns. “Roanoke is a beautiful place; we should keep art in it.”

In keeping with the theme of installation art, pieces created on site, Hale said they would probably all be dismantled last Sunday night, as Artview made room for another event at the Civic Center – this weekend’s Stocked Market.

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