Artist Spotlight: Jamie Lester



Artist Spotlight: Jamie Lester





Artist, sculptor, and musician, Jamie Lester is quite popular in Morgantown. With a list of accomplishments as great as the Zackquill Morgan, Jerry West, and Don Knotts statues, it is not hard to see why! Jamie Lester has contributed so much already to our slice of almost-heaven, and he may be ushering in a West Virginia Renaissance by influencing new artists to come! This Thursday, October 27 at 8 pm, he will be taking us behind-the-seens of his Benedum Gallery Exhibition, Behind These Eyes and into his mind.




Jack Fleming “An Artist With Words” ​This life size half figure of “The Voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers” was commissioned by John and Anita Fleming in 2009. The project is in the finishing stages and will be installed at the WVU Alumni Center in February of 2011.


Jerry West Jamie Lester was awarded the commission for the larger than life sized bronze statue of Basketball great Jerry West in April 2006. The bronze sculpture was installed at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, WV and unveiled in February of 2007.

The Don Knotts Statue ​This life size bronze statue was commissioned by the City of Morgantown and unveiled on July 23, 2016. Jamie Lester worked with the Don Knotts family to create the design for the statue, depicting the brilliant comedic actor in his prime.


The Colonel Zackquill Morgan Statue ​This life size bronze statue was commissioned by the City of Morgantown and unveiled on June 20, 2016.


Jamie Lester lives in Morgantown, WV with his three children Hannah, Everett and Sophia.

Lester was born on September 7, 1974 in Oceana, West Virginia, a small mining town in Wyoming County. After graduating from West Virginia University in 1997, with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, he formed Lester Sculpture, specializing in bronze monument sculpture and fine artwork. In 2012 Lester created Vandalia Bronze LLC., further expanding his art team.

In 2003, Lester designed the obverse side of the West Virginia State Commemorative Quarter, depicting a panoramic view of the New River Gorge Bridge.

Lester’s award­-winning bronze sculpture has shown in galleries in West Virginia, Maryland, and The Society of Fine Arts and Crafts in Boston, Massachusetts. His experience in the monumental bronze industry is specialized in portraiture and figurative sculpture. Since 1997, Jamie has sculpted thousands of bas­relief portraits and has completed several large scale bronze statues. Lester’s bronze work is heavily influenced by Italian Baroque sculpture. His bronze figures possess a dynamic sensitivity with exquisite detail. Lester’s fine art work takes this baroque realism and balances it with the surreal juxtaposition of objects, influenced by Rene Magritte.

He also spent 5 weeks studying figurative sculpture in Jingdezhen, Xian, and Beijing, China in 2011, while teaching as a guest artist at Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute.

In 2015 he completed a two week course of study in Rome, Italy, focusing on the figurative sculpture of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Lester was recently selected as the official bronze sculptor for the Boy Scouts of America, and is currently in the process of sculpting three 8 foot bronze statues for outstanding former boy scout leaders.

The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance at Keyspan Park on Coney Island is one of the most well­-known and widely viewed works produced by Jamie Lester. The monument features two life­size depictions of New York firefighters cast in bronze. The six­foot tall figures were commissioned in 2002 to commemorate the 105 firefighters from Brooklyn who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

He is a member of the Portrait Society of America.

You can check out more about Lester's Company, Vandalia Bronze, here http://vandaliabronze.com/about/

You can see more of his sculptures and keep up with him on Facebook by liking https://www.facebook.com/Jamie-Lester-36909097880/


Behind The Scenes of Behind These Eyes






Jamie Lester will be giving a special behind-the-scenes presentation of his Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) exhibition, Behind These Eyes this Thursday, October 27 at 8 pm. The exhibition, located in MAC’s first floor Benedum Galery, showcases a variety of Jamie’s sculpture abilities and is inspired by realistic tradition, spirit and transcendance. He will explain the making of his sculpture and the exhibition process from the stage of the Tanner Theatre at the Monongalia Arts Center. Lester will go into detail about his past and future work in bronze, and will break down the process of making the work included in his solo exhibition.  A question and answer session will be offered after the lecture and MAC welcomes all students and community members to attend, meet and learn from the accomplished sculptor.


A two hour set of original acoustic compositions will be presented subsequently by Lester's band, The Standard Preparations.  The Standard Preparations feature Jamie Lester, on mandolin, harmonica and lead vocals, Francisco Amaya on guitar and backup vocals, Michael Reynolds on stand up bass, and Caleb Winters on lap steel guitars.  Standard Preparation creates compositions that synthesize bluegrass, country and folk for a fresh and original yet distinctly Appalachian sound.



Bare Form

His artwork will also be featured in MAC's upcoming Bare Form exhibition, like the piece above, Hillside 2. Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) will celebrate the human body this November with the return of Bare Form in the Benedum Gallery. This exhibition features non-erotic pieces from 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.

MAC is still accepting entries. All artists are eligible for the Bare Form 2016 exhibition.  All forms of visual art (video art excluded) and literary art (no erotica) will be considered.  No reproductions will be accepted.  Artists may enter two pieces.  Any work conceived as a multiple should be in an edition of no more than three. More information about submissions is available at monartscenter.com/opportunities, or by contacting info@monartscenter.com or (304) 292-3325.

There will be a public opening reception on Friday, November 4 at 5:30 pm, with a ribbon presentation at 6:30 pm. Refreshments and snacks will be available, and MAC encourages all locals and students alike to attend. The exhibition will remain open until November 23.



Behind These Eyes

Sculptor, painter, musician, composer and Morgantown local, Jamie Lester, presents Behind These Eyes, an exhibition of sculpture inspired by realistic tradition, spirit and transcendance.

He says “"Clay is my vehicle for the creation of a portrait. With clay, I strive to achieve a likeness, and in the process, I find myself contemplating the expression of the human spirit." The exhibition opened on October 7 during the annual Downtown Morgantown ARTS Walk with a fun and well-attended public opening reception. Jamie also produced a special sculpture, live on the front lawn of MAC on Thursday, October 6 and MAC is pleased to have been a part of it!


The exhibition will be available in the Benedum Gallery throughout October 29, so experience the "revival" while you still can!


The image above is of a sculpture featured in Behind These Eyes, titled Revival.


He will also reveal a special "behind-the-scenes presentation on Thursday, October 27 at 8 pm with a performance by his band immediately following.











































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Edgar Allan Poe: Master of the Macabre


Edgar Allan Poe rises for this special appearance just in time for Halloween! Since his death in 1849, Poe’s writings have been revered for their depiction of ghastly murders and haunting, spooky scenes. Poe, portrayed by literary historian Rob Velella, will read a combination of his well-known and lesser-known works of both poetry and prose. Poe will also explain his reasons for writing the way he did and take questions from those in attendance. Photographs welcome.

Rob Velella is an independent literary historian and playwright specializing in American literature of the 19th century. In his ongoing efforts to bring the writers of yesterday back to the readers of today, he has portrayed Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. His performances have been staged throughout the country often for local libraries, museums, historic sites, and even cemeteries. He has been featured on National Public Radio and the LA Review of Books. He also manages americanliteraryblog.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter @LiteraryRob!

Tickets are currently available for this one-night only performance of Edgar Allan Poe: Master of the Macabre on Saturday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Tanner Theatre. Admission is $10. Tickets may be purchased at the MAC Lobby Desk, by phone (304-292-3325), and online at www.monartscenter.com/shop.


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Behind These Eyes


Behind These Eyes

Sculptor, painter, musician, composer and Morgantown local, Jamie Lester, presents Behind These Eyes, an exhibition of sculpture inspired by realistic tradition, spirit and transcendance. Jamie says “"Clay is my vehicle for the creation of a portrait. With clay, I strive to achieve a likeness, and in the process, I find myself contemplating the expression of the human spirit." The community is invited to attend the opening reception during ARTS WALK, 6-9 pm to celebrate. The exhibition will be available in the Benedum Gallery throughout October. Jamie will also be producing a sculpture, live on the front lawn of MAC on Thursday, October 6, 4 – 7:30.





Behind These Eyes Pre-ARTS Walk LIVE Sculpture

Morgantown sculptor, Jamie Lester, will be creating a piece, live and from scratch, right on our lawn between 4 and 7:30 this Thursday, October 6th. All are invited to watch, learn, and meet Jamie as he shows off his dexterity with clay right here at Morgantown's home for the arts and culture!


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Cabal of the Hidden

cohCabal Of The Hidden

Monongalia Arts Center (MAC), in collaboration with Alien Gold, Artist Collective of West Virginia, and Retrotique, will unveil Cabal of the Hidden during the Downtown Morgantown ARTS WALK. In preparation for the Halloween season, Cabal channels the occult, the mystical and the surreal. Various mediums wil be featured in the Davis Gallery this October. Let your imagination run wild from 6 – 9 upstairs at MAC during ARTS WALK.

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The Merchant Of Venice


The Merchant Of Venice

The state’s only Shakespeare troupe will be performing the Shakespeare classic at “their Morgantown home” immediately following the Annual ARTS Walk. The Vintage Theatre Company and The Rustic Mechanicals begin this performance at 9:15 in the Tanner Theatre.

Most people label The Merchant of Venice as a problem play,” said Young, the founder of The Vintage Theatre Company. “I don’t know if I would call it problematic but rather complicated. It certainly walks a razor’s edge at times and provides a very interesting commentary on humanity while still being incredibly entertaining.”

In the melting pot of Venice, trade is God. With its ships plying the globe, the city opens its arms to all – as long as they come prepared to do business and there is profit to be made. When the gold is flowing, all is well, but when a contract between Antonio and Shylock is broken, simmering racial tensions boil over. A wronged father and a despised outsider, Shylock looks to exact the ultimate price for a deal sealed in blood.

For more information about The Blinking Idiot Tour of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, email VintageTheatreCo@gmail.com or call 1-855-VTC-8588. Tickets for this performance will be $10 at the MAC Lobby Desk.

“Touring Shakespeare is a 400-year-old-tradition,” said Young. “These troupe members understand the nobility of the work and the heritage that they are a part of, and with the powerful message of this show, I fully expect this tour to be a labor of love for us all.”

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