The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 14, 2012

Expressing themselves | Allied Artists setting up 80th annual exhibition

Johnstown — A local arts organization is continuing to practice its mission.

The 80th annual Allied Artists of Johnstown Juried Exhibition will be on display through Jan. 5 at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Johnstown, Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the campus of Pitt-Johnstown in Richland Township.

This year’s exhibit features 70 works from 32 artists.

“(This year) marks the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Allied Artists of Johnstown,” said Diane M. Safko, the group’s president.

“We are proud to be one of the area’s oldest and most respected arts organizations that promotes and supports the visual arts through its many programs.

“Allied Artists has survived these many decades partially because many of us need and want to express ourselves and share what we feel with others. Our members do this by creating unique works of art, and Allied Artists provides the perfect vehicle for its members to share their works through exhibiting,” Safko said.

Tina Lehman, coordinator for the museum, agrees that this is a special year for Allied Artists.

“We’re pleased to be hosting their 80th annual juried exhibition,” Lehman said. “With 70 works of art, this show is one of the largest they’ve had in recent years. The Allied Artists never disappoint, so make sure to put a stop at the museum on your calendar.”

There will be works that pay tribute to two members of the organization who passed away this year – Walter Kososki and Paul Whinnie.  

Kososki, a landscape and still life painter, passed away in January.

He was an elementary and high school art teacher, and he later volunteered as an art instructor at Laurel View Village, Davidsville, sharing his talents with others.  

A scholarship fund in Kososki’s name has been established through Allied Artists Scholarship Program as part of his final requests and through donations received in his name from family and friends.

Whinnie, a native of Johnstown who enjoyed working in acrylics, passed away in July.  

He served as a visual arts faculty member at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and his works are included in local and national collections.

“It is important that we remember the impact that each artist has had in the community,” said Janie Leck-Grela, chairwoman for the exhibit and a long-standing member of Allied Artists.

“So many of our members have lauded success and have held positions in the arts community, and this is our way to honor their creative contributions.”

The exhibition includes a variety of works and media such as photography, watercolors, acrylics, oils, jewelry, recycled glass, pencil and mixed-media pieces.

Fifteen works have been chosen to receive awards. They are: “Peacock’s Embrace,” a necklace by Lisa M. Mull of Davidsville; “Charcoal Wall,” a photograph by Bill Dembowski of Windber; “Imagine,” a mixed-media piece by Marcene Glover of Johnstown; “Valley Vista,” an acrylic painting by Alan Rauch of Johnstown; “Endless Spheres,” a pencil drawing by Kathleen Kase Burk of Ebensburg; “Exodus,” a mixed-media piece by Donna Holdsworth of Portage; “Self Portrait,” a pencil drawing by Georgia Akers of Johnstown; “Skull and Berries,” an oil painting by Lori Miglioretti of Johnstown; “The Nesting,” a watercolor by Mary F. Lessard of Ebensburg; “Vivid Vegetation,” a digitally painted photograph by Diane M. Safko of Johnstown; “Plane Ride,” an acrylic by Joseph Berezansky of Johnstown; “Harbor and Mountains,” a photograph by Robert T. Wertz of Johnstown; “The Harmony of Nature,” an oil painting by Stephen Jendricks of Johnstown; “Monet’s Dream,” a photograph by Joy Fairbanks of Blairsville; and “Embroidered Cloth,” a pastel on paper by Helen Thorne of Laughlintown.

“The range of works in the exhibition represents a vibrant group of visual artists that have come together as a community to support each other,” Leck-Grela said.

This year’s juror was Maura Koehler Keeney, a painter and educator.

“Originality in idea, masterful manipulation of the medium, expressive use of color and a vision or style were things that I looked for in choosing outstanding works that exhibited true ability,” Keeney said of the exhibition.

Keeney earned a bachelor’s degree in art education and a master’s degree in art, drawing and painting from IUP.

She is a nationally known artist who has won numerous awards.

Keeney recently won second place at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Council for the Arts’ annual regional juried art exhibition and best of show at the annual Mr. Fred Rodgers Juried Art Exhibition at Latrobe Art Center.

An awards ceremony will be held during a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 8  in the museum gallery.

The public is invited to attend and view the exhibition free of charge.

The museum will host a Lunch a l’Art program from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 29.

The event will include a luncheon with select Allied Artists’ members sharing their insights about their works and particular media.

Reservations should be made by calling 269-7234 by Nov. 26, as seating is limited.

The cost is $9 per person.

The group holds four exhibitions annually, sponsors scholarships for high school seniors planning to pursue art-related careers, raises funds to sponsor art awards for children through its annual patron drive and provides donated funds to local institutions to purchase original artwork displayed in the annual exhibit through its “Friends of Art” program.

This year, the recipients are In Touch Hospice, Somerset, and Good Samaritan Palliative Care Unit at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Johnstown.

Juried exhibition

What: 80th annual Allied Artists Juried Exhibition.

Where: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Johns-town, Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the campus of Pitt-Johnstown, Richland Township.

When: Through Jan. 5.


Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Information: 269-7234 or visit

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