Commemorating the Clarion River, designated as Pennsylvania’s River of the Year for 2019, regional artists & poets are coming together in a community art event on Sunday, July 14 from 4 to 6 PM in Foxburg’s Red Brick Gallery to celebrate the scenic beauty of the Clarion River, revitalized by the dedicated conservation efforts of many hearts and hands over the past fifty years.

The Red Brick Gallery is mounting the Clarion River Art Exhibit from July 12 through August 18 on the second floor of the Gallery and Gift Shop at 17 Main Street in Foxburg – a mile north of the mouth of the Clarion River. The exhibit – the vision of Red Brick Gallery art curator and painter, Jason Floyd Lewis – will feature several regional artists whose work has been inspired by the serene, serpentine beauty of the River – its steep forested hillsides, dramatic rock outcrops and reflections of misty morning light. Among the work to be shown is photography by Kyle Yates and Tom DiStefano and digital art by Carolyn Schiffhouer. The show also will feature works in wood, clay, drawing and painting.

RBG exhibit curator, Jason Floyd Lewis said, “I think all of us who live in this region have personal, meaningful memories of the river – whether we have seen the sun drenched valley walls from inside a car on a winter evening, or we have waded in the water with our feet in the mud. This exhibit is a way for us to share those memories and celebrate the Clarion River.”

Sunday, July 14 will be a day of music, Clarion River art and poetry in Foxburg: Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts presents internationally acclaimed pianist Gayle Martin performing Chopin, Beethoven and Grieg and joined by pianist Ted Barr in four hand Schubert at 2 PM in Lincoln Hall and from 4 to 6 PM in the Red Brick Gallery a wine and cheese opening reception for the Clarion River Art Exhibit with poetry readings curated by Clarion University English Professor and poet, Philip Terman. The reception and literary readings are free and open to the public.

The Red Brick Gallery in Foxburg has been operating as an artist’s co-op since 2011. It exhibits the work of its fifteen cooperative members continuously, but also has a second floor gallery for rotating guest artist exhibitions. This is the first Red Brick Gallery guest show generated by an open call for entries. Jason Floyd Lewis spoke of his impetus in creating the exhibit, ”The current popularity and recognition the Clarion River is receiving, along with our gallery’s unique location at the mouth of the river, presented a great opportunity for a community art event. I am excited by the entries we have received from all around the area. The artists range from students to retirees, some professional award-winning artists and some amateurs. One painting will be completed as a group effort by the Creative HeARTs art class for adults with disabilities at the Sawmill Center in Cook Forest. I am very pleased that Phil Terman, English Professor at Clarion University, has curated a group of poets to share readings at our reception.”

Poet Philip Terman, who also will be reading from his work, shared his insights on rivers. “Rivers flow out of one source and into another, are boundaries and gatherings. Rivers are what we share across time, though never the same river twice. Rivers have inspired poets from the Euphrates—Langston Hughes “bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young”– to the Clarion, as Mary Oliver wrote: “And still, pressed deep into my mind, the river/keeps coming, touching me, passing by on its/long journey, its pale, infallible/ voice/singing.” We’ll hear from poets who live near the Clarion, and whose souls, as Langston Hughes also said, “run deep like the river.” They will share what it calls them to sing.”

Clarion area writers reading their work will include Byron Hoot, Co-founder of The Tamarack Writer’s Group and co-founder of The Fern Wood Writer’s Retreat; J.V. Miller, proprietor of the anti-business establishment Artfunkle in Clarion, PA and author of a collection of autobiographical stories, What Else Do You Want?; Judy Rock, who helped found the Theodore Roethke Poetry Festival at Lafayette College and is author of the poetry collection, Ark Before Dove; Patricia Thrushart, who’s written two books, Little Girl Against the Wall, and Yin and Yang and has work published regularly in many journals, including, The Watershed Journal, Tobeco, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Feminine Collective; and Girard Tournesol, who has published two books of poetry and appears as a regular contributor in regional literary magazines, The Watershed Journal and The Pennsylvania Poet’s Society magazine, PENNESSENCE. Philip Terman’s recent books of poetry are Our Portion: New and Selected Poems and The Four Seasons, a collaboration with an artist and bookbinder. He teaches creative writing at Clarion University, where he founded the journal, Tobeco, and directs the Bridge Literary Arts Center in Franklin, PA.

Designated as “Pennsylvania’s 2019 River of the Year”, the Clarion River is truly a conservation success story. With more than half of its 110 miles protected as a Wild and Scenic River, the Clarion River survived nearly two centuries of deforestation and industrial activity; it was according to zoologist Dr. Arnold Ortmann in early 1900s “one of the worst in the state” with water running “as black as ink”. Fifty years after being basically considered “dead”, its revitalization is a success story that includes the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and many other local organizations, transforming it into what PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources Cindy Adams Dunn called an “icon of our Pennsylvania Wilds… a wilderness of clean water and healthy forests that draws back visitors again and again.” The peaceful beauty of the Clarion River is well known as a recreation destination for its scenic beauty, diversity of wildlife and its calm waters – and its inspiration to artists, poets and writers.

The Clarion River Art exhibit will be open weekends at the Red Brick Gallery through August 18: Friday 1 – 5 pm, Saturday 11 – 7 pm and Sunday 12 noon – 4 pm. Foxburg also offers the Allegheny Grille restaurant with outside seating on the river, Foxburg Pizza Shop, Divani’s – gourmet coffee and ice cream shop, Foxburg Wine Cellars, Foxburg Golf Course, Foxburg Inn hotel and a bike trail that crosses the mouth of the Clarion River. For more information: www.alleghenyriverstone.org

For more information on the Clarion River and all of the PA Great Outdoors region, go to VisitPAGO.com

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