Westmoreland Museum seeks patrons in its drive to refurbish damaged or worn paintings, sculptures

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For a novel holiday gift or end-of-year tax deduction, consider adopting a painting or sculpture in need of tidying. No matter how well they're cared for, age catches up with artworks. And sometimes they arrive at a museum or other institution showing wear and tear whether donation or purchase.

Westmoreland Museum of American Art opened an exhibition Friday that comprises 179 works of art that include a wooden carousel pig, Scalp Level painter George Hetzel's "Still Life of Watermelon, Grapes and Apples," and Samuel Rosenberg's genre painting "God's Chillun."

"Your Art Needs You!" exudes, because of its diversity, the charm of a grandparent's attic, and is fun to visit on its own. This is a particularly relevant time for the museum to show these works, some of which have not been on recent display. As it prepares to close during an expansion project, the public will be left with a sweet reminder of the collection's breadth. And artworks that find a sponsor may be sent during the museum's down time to be conserved and readied for installation in the new galleries.

Items requiring conservation include paintings, sculptures and frames, at costs ranging from $275 to $16,000. Individuals or groups may adopt a work, or may give to the conservation fund. Each patron who adopts a work will be credited on a wall label during the year following the collection's re-installation, receive a certificate of adoption, and be recognized in the annual report.

"Your Art" continues through Feb. 17 at 221 N. Main St., Greensburg. Hours are 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, until 8 p.m. Friday (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission is $5 suggested donation, children under 12 and students free. Information: 724-837-1500; to see more of the works, visit www.wmuseumaa.org.

Using an exhibition to showcase the upkeep requirements of an art collection was initiated in the region by Brother Nathan Cochran, curator and director of The Saint Vincent Gallery, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe. In 2011, he exhibited several paintings from the college collection dating from the 17th through the past century that required the attentions of a conservator, from varnish replacement to more extensive work.

He says some of those are still available for adoption and that the gallery continues to accept contributions for specific artworks (ranging from $500 to $10,000) or, as with The Westmoreland, to a general conservation fund. For information, visit http://gallery.stvincent.edu or call 724-805-2107.

SAMA Biennial

The reception for the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, Biennial 2012, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 1. The juried exhibition accepts submissions from artists who reside in Southwestern Pennsylvania and work in an array of art and craft media. Reception admission is $25, members $20, and reservations are required by Nov. 28 at 814-472-3920. The show, comprising 131 works by almost 100 artists, remains up through Jan. 25 (www.sama-art.org).

Shiner at Armory

Eric Shiner has been named curator of Armory Focus: USA, the curated component of next year's centennial edition of the venerable Armory Show, which raised hackles as a saucy newcomer in 1913 when it introduced America to avant-garde art. The Andy Warhol Museum director is tasked with representing the state of contemporary expression in the U.S.

"Although it will certainly be challenging to give a barometer of what contemporary art from America has become, I hope to put together a witty and far-sweeping Focus section that makes visitors stop and think about America, art, and ultimately their place within it," Mr. Shiner said in a prepared statement.

Armory Focus was begun in 2010 to feature specific geographic regions and has to date focused on Berlin, Latin America and the Nordic countries. The 2013 show will take place March 7-10 in New York.

Craft book finalist

"Humor in Craft" by Brigitte Martin was chosen as a finalist in the "Crafts/Hobbies/How-To" category of the 2012 USA Best Book Awards. Ms. Martin was guest curator of an exhibition by the same title which recently closed at the Society for Contemporary Craft, Strip District, and is editor of the online site Crafthaus. (Available at crafthaus.ning.com, $53.50 plus shipping, or at bookstores.)


Post-Gazette art critic Mary Thomas: mthomas@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1925.


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