Southern Alleghenies Museum of Arts exhibitions

"Something 4 Everyone" and "The Found Voice in Art" are on display at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto.

LORETTO, Pa. – A showcase of artists capturing the world as they see it is being featured at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto.

The “Something 4 Everyone” exhibition is on display through June 5 in the Sullivan Gallery, and “The Found Voice in Art” is on display through June 3 in the Margery Wolf-Kuhn Gallery at SAMA-Loretto, St. Francis University campus, 112 Franciscan Way.

Works of art by Stacy Datsko, Dan Helsel, Diana Williams and Kim Williams are highlighted in “Something 4 Everyone.”

“The show is three painters and one potter,” said Beverlie Hartnett, SAMA’s registrar.

“What’s interesting about all four artists is they specialize in interpreting what they see into a work of art, and they’re focused on how they apply their particular approaches to art.”

Datsko, a teacher at Northern Cambria Elementary/Middle School, fell in love with wheel-thrown pottery in high school.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with an emphasis in ceramics from Slippery Rock University, a teaching certificate from Carlow University and a master’s degree in education from St. Francis University.

Datsko creates functional and decorative pottery often marked with influences from faith, nature and outdoor adventures with her husband and two children.

When not teaching, she is pursuing her artistic passion, pottery, at her home studio.

“She is focused on how the work of pottery – whether it’s a punch bowl, a mug, drink dispenser or tea or coffee sets – suits its purpose and how this well-crafted item creates a moment between people,” Hartnett said.

Helsel started painting in 1995 after retiring from business.

He enjoys painting in the Old Masters style of artists such as Chardin, Vermeer, Rembrandt and Velazquez, and believes that style has a long-lasting quality and beauty.

Helsel works with real objects in the studio, rather than from photographs.

His paintings can be found throughout the United States and have been purchased by Mount Aloysius College, the Community Arts Center of Cambria County and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.

Helsel studied at the Sulkowski Academy of Fine Art.

“His work is about observation and seeing something special in what might be an every-day object,” Hartnett said.

Diana Williams is captivated by faces, personalities and the spirit of individuals.

As an artist who specializes in portrait and figure paintings, her work showcases her ability to capture a likeness, tell a story and present a vivid representation of the true essence of the subject.

Diana Williams enjoys the time-consuming and specialized efforts that are required to create heirloom-quality portraits, which have the potential to become conversation pieces of value and investments toward an archival record of family genealogy.

“Her work is figurative studies and portraits, and she tries to capture the likeness and convey personality in the moment that’s being portrayed,” Hartnett said.

Kim Williams started creating at age 8 when her parents and a teacher recognized her proclivity toward drawing and painting.

She attended Lock Haven University and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, working toward a degree in illustration.

Kim Williams pursued a career as a designer at The Tribune-Democrat and design editor for Johnstown Magazine.

With her ArtWorks 2015 exhibition “365 Inspired Art,” she launched her new path of painting fine art and mixed-media pieces.

Kim Williams’ work is often nature-themed, featuring strong layout skills, and has been described as honest, exuberant, full of integrity, spirituality and joy.

“She focuses on wildlife and landscapes, and paints what she observes,” Hartnett said.

“There are 119 pieces arranged in a grid format, and each of the paintings are made to look like a piece of a mosaic, so when you stand back, it looks like a blue heron in flight.

“There’s fascinating layers in her work.”

A reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. May 14, and artists will be on hand to speak.

“By having the artists there to discuss their works, it helps folks understand art and why it’s important,” Hartnett said.

Refreshments will be served.

The reception is free and open to the public.

Registration is suggested and can be made online at www.sama-art.org.

“The Found Voice in Art” exhibition features 70 works from SAMA’s permanent collection and presents a full spectrum of unique voices.

The show is curated by painter and collector Fred Danziger and includes pieces from American artists such as Charles Burchfield, Alice Neel, George Bellows, Jacob Lawrence and Ben Shahn.

“He (Danziger) made selections of paintings and assemblages,” Hartnett said.

“His philosophy is answering the questions of, “What is art? How do individual artists interpret what their art is? And how did the artists find their voice?’ ”

The works were created between 1900 and 2018 and includes, landscapes, still lifes, surreal dreams, social critiques and abstract contemplations.

“Each work says something the artist was committed to expressing,” Hartnett said.

“They’re using different ways of the artistic method to communicate to the viewer.”

She said viewers will see a variety of art and it will feel like a survey of an art history class.

“Often, permanent collection shows are one theme, artist or movement, but this introduces people to something they might not have regarded as artistically significant,” Hartnett said.

“They can see why people do still lifes or abstract art, and there’s still technique and decisions made for composition to make something harmonious, clashing or dynamic.”

Danziger will offer a virtual tour and discussion of the exhibit at 5 p.m. May 14.

“He’ll speak on why he selected what he did and offer information on the artists featured in the exhibit,” Hartnett said.

Registration for the free event is required at www.sama-art.org/event-list to receive the Zoom link.

A recording will be provided to registered guests following the event.

Gallery hours are noon to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

The museum is open to the public free of charge.

For more information, call 814-472-3920 or visit www.sama-art.org.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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