At The Crary

The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society’s 34th Annual International Juried Exhibition will be held at the Crary Art Gallery, 511 Market St., Warren, Oct. 5 through Nov. 15.

A “very good selection” of watercolor art is hung and awaiting the appreciation of art enthusiasts.

“I’m a huge fan” of watercolor, said Crary board of directors co-vice president Robert Anderson. “I like watercolor more the more I am exposed to it.”

Anderson, who has attended art festivals for many years, met and became friends with John Walker, now president of the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society (PWS). He started to follow the annual PWS show and spearheaded efforts to get the show to Warren in 2010.

Although the PWS annual show has been held in many venues over the years, Walker finds the Crary Gallery is on par or above, Anderson shared.

A place in the show is highly coveted. Between 500 and 600 pieces of art are screened, but only 120 are chosen for the show.

“We take all the rooms in the gallery and make them available for this show,” Anderson explained, and use “freestanding screens in the larger exhibition rooms to maximize the space.”

More than $10,000 in awards will be presented at the opening reception on Oct. 5. Visitors to the gallery will have the opportunity to bestow the final award – The People’s Choice Award – by popular vote. Viewers are allowed to cast one vote each time they visit the gallery, indicating their choice for best work in the show. Voting will end Oct. 27, and results will be published immediately after that.

The PWS annual show always has a “very good selection,” Anderson said. “I think it’s a wonderful show.”

The artwork, which is already hung and was judged for awards on Sept. 25, was shipped during the last few weeks, and Anderson had the pleasure to uncrate each work.

“It’s like Christmas for me,” Anderson said, “to open each package. The styles and techniques amaze you, that it can be watercolor.”

Anderson explained that other media can be used in creating the work, as long as water is involved.

Coordinators predict the show will be well attended in Warren.

“I think Warren is fairly conservative and enjoys traditional art,” Anderson said. “We try to bring a lot of different subjects to the Crary … photo, sculpture, different styles of art that not everyone appreciates. We let them decide for themselves.”

But, “people in Warren love good art,” Anderson added, “good watercolor, things they recognize. There’ll be a complete variety … from the very abstract to scenes you instantly recognize.”

An earlier watercolor show this year, and the PWS show in 2010 sold well, Anderson said, which helps the Crary keep its doors open (they get a commission from each sale).

Prices for art at a PWS show typically range from the low hundreds to several thousand dollars.

For this exceptional show, the Crary will have open hours six days a week, all but Monday, Anderson said. The gallery will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. each Sunday.

“It is truly remarkable all the work that goes into these shows, but for this show in particular, from Bob’s giant unpacking extravaganza – and believe me, it really is an amazing bunch of boxes he had to coordinate for this show – to the hundreds of volunteer hours that go into making quality graphics, hanging and preparing the galleries, social media, coordinating and proctoring. We are grateful and hope the community will come to see what’s up – literally – at the Crary,” added co-vice president Thomas Paquette.

DVDs will be for sale as well as full-size posters of all the work with comprehensive lists, PWS and Crary information on back of the poster.

An opening reception- which is open to the public – is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, with awards at 3 p.m. Following the reception, a dinner and artist’s demo by Daniel Vangeli – who won first place prize in the 2010 show at the Crary – will be held in at the Conewango Club in Warren at 5:30 p.m.

Juror of selection for this show was Pat Dews AWS, NWS, and juror of awards was Frank Webb AWSdf, NWS.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, including a list of the accepted artists for this show, visit www.pawcs.com.