Master Visual Artists: Preserving the Legacy

Saturday, September 7, 2013 to Sunday, November 3, 2013

Master Visual Artists: Tadao Arimoto, Tina Williams Brewer, Gary Jurysta, David Lewis, Constance Merriman, Risë Nagin, Chuck Olson, Mark Perrott, Marjorie F. Shipe, Paul Zelevansky

Master Visual Artists (MVA) History

Master Visual Artists: Preserving the Legacy Exhibition began with a 1991 exhibit, 70+ and Still Working, which featured the works of ten artists over 70 years old, at the Fine Perlow Weis Gallery of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Pittsburgh.

The project was initially conceived by Pittsburgh artist Donna Hollen Bolmgren, chaired by Ellie Turk Barmen of the JCC Visual Arts Committee, and supervised by Sandy Schneider, Program Director. Current criteria to be considered for the exhibit is: a person who is 60 or older, has had a noticeable career of artistic attainment, is still creating, and has made a measurable impact on the Southwest Pennsylvania community. Subsequent exhibitions were held in 1993, 1996, and 1998 at the JCC, and in 2005 at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. 2013 marks the sixth exhibition. The Steering Committee is planning for future exhibitions to occur every five years.

In 1993, Donna Hollen Bolmgren and Ellie Turk Barmen began interviewing and video recording each of the artists working in their studios. In subsequent years, Jerry Caplan joined Donna in the video documentation process. Several of the artists were interviewed and recorded by crews from WQED who generously volunteered their time and talents. The entire collection of documented MVA artists is housed at the Senator John Heinz History Center, and is available for viewing. Plans are in the works for previously recorded analog videos to be digitized, and a website is currently in development.

The video recording of this year’s artists was made possible by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts’ production services department. As this important documentation continues, we hope to draw awareness to the wealth of creative and talented visual artists in the Western Pennsylvania region.

Generous support provided by:  The Heinz Endowments, The Family of Donna Hollen Bolmgren, Mastech, Akoya, Dave and Liz Antolik, The Fine Foundation, James Gallery, Sitko Bruno, Z Brand, and many individual contributions.