Local centers showcase art, performance and more

March 8, 2012 12:00 am
  • A portraiture class at The Associated Artists of Butler County Art Center in Butler.
    A portraiture class at The Associated Artists of Butler County Art Center in Butler.
  • Mary Kay Richardson prepares for a show at The Associated Artists of Butler County Art Center.
    Mary Kay Richardson prepares for a show at The Associated Artists of Butler County Art Center.
  • Lynn Lynch, left, 49, of Latrobe, and Kathy Hochard, 56 of Homer City, share a laugh while taking painting class at Latrobe Art Center.
    Lynn Lynch, left, 49, of Latrobe, and Kathy Hochard, 56 of Homer City, share a laugh while taking painting class at Latrobe Art Center.
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"Those nights you can hardly move in here," Mr. Scanlon said.

Future plans, he said, include taking exhibitions to other local venues and expanding the center's annual invitational exhibition to include West Virginia and Ohio artists.

Art in Latrobe

Director Gabrielle "Gabi" Nastuck became involved with the Latrobe Art Center a little more than a year after its 2002 opening by teaching Saturday drawing classes for children, then doing website development. A Vandergrift native who lives in Latrobe, Ms. Nastuck, 33, earned a bachelor's degree from Saint Vincent College and studied digital design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

"I love my job," she said. "I get to teach, create programs, hang shows, fundraise ..."

That range of responsibility might not appeal to everyone, but it's typical of those working at art nonprofits. And it's typical that people are involved because they are passionate about the work they do.

The center was co-founded by Nancy Rogers Crozier, sister of Fred Rogers, and the late Elizabeth Ogden Hazlett. Ms. Crozier -- who regularly exhibits her watercolor paintings of landscapes, animals and still lifes -- is among more than 90 member artists. Their work, displayed in six exhibitions a year, includes painting, jewelry, fiber, clay, wood and stained glass. All is for sale.

The year-old Coffee Bean Neighborhood Cafe in the center, where the soup is served in "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" mugs, is integral to two popular evening programs. The monthly Cafe Nite, which showcases one invited act, will move into the adjacent Fred Rogers Park when the weather warms. Each event has a basket raffle with varying themes.

Weekly Open Mic Nights, which began in October, are equally well attended.

"Anybody can come in and play, anybody can come in and listen, have a coffee, have a dinner, just come and relax. It's been very successful," Ms. Nastuck said.

Some two dozen play weekly, and the audience ranges from high school students to retirees. Performers have included a poet but are mostly musicians.


First Published 2012-03-07 23:13:53

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