River Art Works seeks artists and volunteers for Ligonier Summer Paintings

Professional artists and volunteers are sought for a monthly series of summer paintings planned in Ligonier by river art works.

The first of the second Saturday sessions will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on June 12 at Ligonier Diamond Park. The other dates are July 10, August 14 and September 11.

Interested artists will be invited to submit samples of their work for approval, said Jane Altman, founder and executive director of River Art Works. They will be able to bring up to six pieces to sell while working on site during the painting work.

The volunteers would host the event, check in the performers, and help with crowd control and selling the artwork.

The outdoor sessions are the first post-pandemic public events for the non-profit organization whose mission is to create an artists’ retreat in Westmoreland County.

River Art Works is currently looking for a property to build the retreat on, Altman said. The vision is for the retreat to include workspaces, sleeping quarters, dining rooms, an amphitheater and smaller performance spaces.

“We are looking for approximately 35 acres that would feel like a retreat but also have the potential to be used by tourists,” she said.

Organizers also want River Art Works to foster the professional development of young artists in the region, Altman said.

“Our colleges do an amazing job of educating students in the arts, but there’s no follow through,” she said. “They graduate, then they continue.

“Westmoreland County complete plan puts an exclamation mark on why we need an artistic retreat here. The big concern is the loss of our youth population. We want to find better ways to keep them here,” she said.

To that end, River Art Works is working to develop follow-on educational opportunities, such as an ArtTECH pilot program that will introduce students at four area high schools to what Altman calls the future of art, including the basics of holograms and animatronics, as well as with the business side of art.

“What’s happening digitally is going to blow your mind,” Altman said, pointing to immersive sensory experiences like the Immersive Van Gogh traveling exhibit coming to Pittsburgh in September.

“Things will happen in the art world that we can’t even imagine,” she said. “We want to work with people who can work with our good artists and push them into another area.”

For more information about participating in Ligonier’s paintings and other opportunities for volunteering or financial support, call 724-547-4121, email [email protected] or visit riverartworks.org.

Shirley McMarlin is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Christopher S. Washington