Benedum Gallery

Inside Looking Out

Inside Looking Out FrontCombatting Environmental Destruction With Art


Morgantown’s home for the arts and culture, Monongalia Arts Center (MAC), is once again using art to champion justice. MAC is teaming up with local artist Betsy jaeger, who created an exhibition titled Inside Looking Out to share both the nostalgic beauty that once existed and the current state of ruin in her community in Western Monongalia County.


With the advent of modern mining equipment in the mid-2000s, surface coal mining in western Monongalia County quickly grew in scale, and Jaeger perceived a seismic shift in her community. She refused to sell her rural home and mineral rights to a coal company, even though some of her neighbors had begun, one by one, to agree to sell their mineral rights. According to Jaeger, some also sold their entire properties.


“We watched what had been a charming farm community become an industrial wasteland in just two years,” she says. “There was not enough bond money to pay for adequate reclamation.”


In 2012, strip mining began directly in front of her home, adjacent to her property line. Jaeger tracked more than 200 blasts, which rattled the foundation of her home, and she monitored the water quality in her local stream, finding high levels of heavy metals near mining outfalls.


This exhibition recreates the views outside of her 12 windows, past and present, using mixed-media elements such as sculpture, photographs and paintings to highlight the drastic changes caused by strip mining and fracking. The artwork in this exhibition is meant to be both beautiful and eye-opening, contrasting the natural beauty of rural West Virginia with some of the worst aspects of rapid industrialization and waste. The exhibition was featured prominently in The Appalachian Voice, and the article is available at


MAC invites all to attend the opening reception with no admission on March 3, starting at 6 pm. Two galleries will open simultaneously, including the gender-bending and thought-provoking Rebel Rebel, upstairs in the Davis Gallery; and Inside Looking Out, downstairs in the Benedum Gallery. MAC is located at 107 High Street, Morgantown, WV.  Inquiries should be directed to or 304-292-3325.

Image: Power Line by Betsy Jaeger

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We Are All Connected

We Are All Connected Card Front Increased ContrastHumanitarian Exhibition To Be Unveiled At MAC

Monongalia Arts Center is unveiling a new humanitarian exhibition in the Benedum Gallery on Friday, February 10. A group of local Morgantown students are bringing awareness to the global issue of landmines and cluster munitions using their artwork. COORDINATED by Nora Sheets, the art teacher at St. Francis Central Catholic School, this student organization is showcasing a global humanitarian issue for our local community. Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) is proud to announce our February 2017 Benedum Gallery exhibition, We Are All Connected by PSALM (Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs). This exhibition examines the concept  that “we are not alone on the journey through life — we are all connected at some level — that the actions of one person can affect another person, which, in turn, affects another and yet another.  The exhibit hopes to demonstrate that often ONE person CAN make a difference and that in doing good for others, whether for one human being or many, you do yourself a world of good and transform your own life and gain what one student calls “the contentment of giving ".

We Are All Connected will be on display in MAC’s Benedum Gallery from February 10 – March 4, 2017 and will feature artwork by the members of PSALM. Also on display will be photos and other items to educate the public about PSALM’s work. Since the inception of PSALM, students have used their many gifts and talents to raise awareness about world issues that concern them. PSALM students made shadowboxes with artworks to connect to one another symbolically, representing our connectedness in life. The colorful artwork was made pleasing to the eye, enticing viewers, yet the subject matter confronts difficult issues, namely the remnants of war and conflicts that affect the most vulnerable of the world today.
PSALM asks all gallery visitors to choose a strip of paper from the basket and weave it into our painting. The result being a “work in progress” that the visitors attending the exhibit can participate in, and it won’t be completed until the show has ended. The paper “weaving” will also serve as a reminder of “woven web of life” and of the need to work together to resolve these pressing issues of our world today.
Nora Sheetz says of her students “I can only imagine what they will accomplish in the future and indeed have seen the amazing impact their work has had! All of this can directly be attributed to 3 students who took an art assignment in 1999 and made it into something so much bigger! Sometimes the teacher teaches the students and sometimes the students teach the teacher!”

The public opening reception for this exhibition will be held at MAC on Friday, February 10 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. All community members, students and faculty are invited to attend. During the opening reception, PSALM students will act as gallery guides.
PSALM is an internationally recognized grass-roots organization that began as a social justice art project in 1999. Today, its supporters include community leaders, activists, and politicians.  PSALM students are encouraged to dream of a more just and peaceful world and to make that world a reality by using their skills and talents to not only learn about these important issues but also facilitate change for a better world. PSALM students are working members of the West Virginia, United States, International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition (WVCBL).
The Mission of PSALM/WVCBL is three-fold:
1.) To raise public awareness about landmines and cluster munitions
2.) To offer humanitarian assistance to landmine/cluster bomb survivors through service projects and raise awareness about survivor issues
3.) To encourage ALL countries, especially the United States, to sign treaties banning the production, use, and stockpiling of these weapons
Learn more about PSALM at
Correction: PSALM will not be showcasing a table of hand-painted plates as they did last year.

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Not On Our Watch

reclaimed-lives_lyndsey-archer_mixed-media-1Not On Our Watch Examines The Scope Of Human Trafficking


Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) is collaborating with the Hope and Liberation Coalition (HLC) and West Virginia University’s School Of Medicine for a special Benedum Gallery Exhibition. The exhibit, Not On Our Watch, is an examination of the role that healthcare workers serve in the identification, healing and prevention of human trafficking. As healthcare workers attend to survivors and those still caught in the web of what is known as "Modern Day Slavery", they are confronted with the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual trauma resulting from human trafficking. In addition, this exhibit illustrates the vast scope and multi-layered system of human trafficking.


The Hope and Liberation Coalition (HLC), based in Columbus, Ohio, promotes the awareness and prevention of human trafficking via the Arts. Family-friendly artwork and creative events allow The HLC to engage the public in community discussion, along with youth and adult outreach programs for individuals and organizations from urban, suburban and rural settings.


The Panel Discussion will take place in WVU's Health Sciences Center Room 1905 at 12 pm January 13, and later that day, at 6 pm, MAC will host a public opening reception. MAC invites all students, faculty and community members to attend the Opening Reception and Panel Discussion. This exhibition will remain available to the public in MAC’s downstairs Benedum Gallery until February, 1, 2017. MAC is located at 107 High Street, Morgantown, WV.  Inquiries should be directed to or 304-292-3325.

Image: Reclaimed Lives by Lyndsey Archer

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Improvisations On A Shoreline Theme

dreaming-of-the-capeDreaming of The Cape: Jenny Wilson Recreates A Romantic Cape Cod Experience

Artist, musician, and Morgantown resident Jenny Wilson will open her new exhibition, Improvisations on a Shoreline Theme in the Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) Benedum Gallery. In the exhibition, she recreates a trip to New England, where the natural beauty of the coastline had a profound effect on her. She described it as a “religious experience”, one that would influence her artwork for the following two years.

“Two years ago I visited a close friend on Cape Cod,” said Wilson. “I was inspired by the light, the colors, the vastness of sea and sky. These paintings represent my joyful memories of that landscape and time. As with my music, the element of improvisation is at play.”

The exhibition draws from the landscape, the colors, and the texture of the Cape, yet is undeniably abstract. Wilson refers to her style as ‘Abstract Landscape’, a style that emphasizes the use of texture in the paint for an added dimension. Drawing from print-making and pottery glaze techniques, Jenny captures the essence and spirit of the Cape without the confines of shape and realism.

“Waking up and looking out over the ocean while the sun was rising was like a religious experience.  The colors on the Cape are very special; a mix of blues, greens and sand that harmonize on the flatness of the landscape.”

Jenny and her husband, Nathan Wilson, are professional musicians who have lived in Morgantown since 1999. She is originally from NYC, and holds a Master of Music degree from West Virginia University. Together, Jenny and Nathan Wilson form the Orenda Duo and two-thirds of the Jenny Wilson Jazz Trio, a group that has performed at MAC, around West Virginia and beyond. The Orenda Duo will perform following the Opening Reception on December 2nd.

Original music is the primary focus of the Orenda Duo and the Jenny Wilson Trio.  With the addition of jazz standards, contemporary and familiar, as well as unique arrangements of popular song, they perform a program that appeals to a wide audience. 

The sound of the duo and trio is influenced by traditional jazz, Appalachian folk music and classical music. Not often heard as a melodic instrument, Nathan Wilson utilizes the singing quality of the double bass.  Jenny’s vocals have been compared to those of Diana Krall and Norah Jones and Carole King.  Jenny’s piano style is highly influenced by modern jazz pianists and her classical training.  With the addition of drums and horns the duo can expand to a trio or quartet ensemble.  In a few words their music can be described as “subtle swing, lilting Latin, and cinematic original composition”. 

The Public Opening reception will commence on December 2 at 7 pm, with the Orenda Duo performance immediately following at 8:30 pm. MAC welcomes all community members, students, and all others to attend, enjoy some refreshments, artwork, and music at Morgantown’s home for the arts and culture. The exhibition will run through December 23, 2016. MAC is located at 107 High Street, Morgantown, WV.  Inquiries should be directed to or 304-292-3325.




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Bare Form

bare-form-card-frontMAC Goes Nude for November Exhibition

Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) will celebrate the human body this November with the return of Bare Form in the Benedum Gallery. This exhibition features pieces from all mediums created by a range of diverse artists.

The beauty of the body has inspired artists from the dawn of history yet remains an inextricable part of the human experience.  Our intimate familiarity with the human body bears the challenge to the artist, transforming that which is known into an expression of emotion.  MAC intends to capture that emotion with the return of Bare Form.

There will be a public opening reception on Friday, November 4 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, with ribbons presentation at 6:30 pm.  MAC encourages all locals and students alike to attend.  The exhibition will remain open through 4:00 pm November 19.  MAC is located at 107 High Street, Morgantown, WV.  Inquiries should be directed to or 304-292-3325.

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