After a long four year “struggle” to find someone to assist with establishing a viable art community in Cranberry Township, the Cranberry Township Community Chest (CTCC) has created a partnership with the Associated Artists of Butler County, AABC, to launch a township- wide art endeavor.
A new Cranberry Township Chapter of the AABC has been founded to organize art exhibits and sales, programming and art classes in the community.
“We had a void and it was our four-year mission to fill that need. I am happy to say that the void has been filled and mission accomplished,” said Bruce Mazzoni, treasurer for CTCC.
The partnership was officially launched during the recent Community Days according to Mazzoni, beginning on July 11th with “Martinis with Monet,” an art reception held at Cranberry Highlands.
“This informal get-together was a way to kick-off our program and allow some people to see some of the art that is created in our community,” said Mazzoni. Over 175 attended the event.
According to Mazzoni, two donated pieces of art by nationally-recognized artists Fred Graff and William Vrscak were sold at a live auction with the proceeds benefitting AABC and two other works, by artists Damian Mark Cassano and Mary Key Richardson, were sold as part of a silent auction at the reception. As a feature of the reception, Best-in-Show awards were established with a total of $1,000 cash prizes awarded. (Winners are listed below.)
“We also had 100 children work together to create a 16-by-20 foot mural made out of individual panels. It is now hanging at the Rotary Amphitheatre will it will be used as a backdrop for our community concerts all summer,” said Mazzoni.
“It is really a beautiful piece of artwork that we are thrilled about,” he said.
The children were enrolled in Camp Cranberry and created the mural under the guidance of AABC Board member Terry Hagen with assistance from six other AABC artists.
The Cranberry AABC also created an exhibit currently on display at the Cranberry Township Municipal Center. The exhibit features more than 70 original oils, watercolors, pastels and art photographs.
“It is there for the public to see and enjoy and many pieces are also for sale,” said Mazzoni.
The exhibit is open during regular hours at the Center. Artwork for sale may be purchased at the Customer Service Desk. The exhibit runs through August 10.
The artwork is on display at the Community Center on special panels that can display over 100 pieces without interfering in regular walls and displays in the Center.
“CCTC made a commitment by purchasing the exhibit panels and raising the money for the awards to show that we are serious about attracting good art work to Cranberry,” explained Mazzoni.
The projects are just the beginning to a new, vital arts community in Cranberry said Mazzoni. “We are looking for new members – not only artists, but those who want to assist with exhibits and those who are interested in the arts,” he said.
“Martinis with Monet” winners - Judges Richard and Jane Rittelmann
Best of Show: Lisa Sten, Prospect, pastel painting titled “Abi”
1st Place: Bill Perry, Harmony, watercolor “Winter Pears”
2nd Place: Pat Patterson, Pittsburgh, oil and polyurethane painting “Extreme nature: Lemon & Slice”
3rd Place: Butler artist Tom Sheehan, watercolor painting “Mitchell Hill”
Honorable Mention: William Vrscak, Pittsburgh, watercolor “Lyme Regis Bowling Club”
Honorable Mention: Jason Shorr, Avalon, abstract acrylic painting “To Put the Past Behind You”
Corporate purchase awards: Cassandra Crocker, New Brighton, watercolor “Misty Morning,” and Debra Kuminkoski, Butler, photograph “Inspired by Ansel”