Monthly Archives: November 2017

New Folk Art Exhibit Features Historic Woodcarvings by Ohio Artist – Elijah Pierce

Canton Museum of Art Showcases Legendary African American Folk Artist

The new exhibition Elijah Pierce: An American Journey at the Canton Museum of Art (CMA) celebrates the artwork of one of the most important self-taught, American folk artists of the 20th century: Elijah Pierce (1892 – 1984). Pierce was a prolific African American wood carver known for his brightly painted sculptural panels illustrating biblical stories, moral lessons, historical events, and images from popular culture – a landscape of wood-carved art that is unlike any in America. This exhibit focuses on 39 major works. Featured in the exhibit is Pierce’s most ambitious carving, “Book of Wood” (1932), consisting of seven panels with 33 scenes illustrating the years Christ lived on the earth, as well as works depicting segregation, the Vietnam War, Watergate, and Civil Rights, among others. This exhibition is on view November 24, 2017 – March 4, 2018 with a free public reception on Thursday, December 7, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

About The Artist
Elijah Pierce (1892-1984) was a renowned master woodcarver, a humble barber, and a beloved lay minister. He was one of the great American traditional and self-taught artists and storytellers of the 20th century – amassing a body of wood-carved work acclaimed by museums and collections across the country. In a 1979 article from
The New York Times Magazine, Dr. Robert Bishop of the Museum of American Folk Art in New York noted, “There are 500 woodcarvers working today in the United States who are technically as proficient as Pierce, but none can equal the power of Pierce’s personal vision.” 

Pierce was born in a log cabin on the farm owned by his father, a former slave, in Baldwyn, Mississippi. It was a devout Baptist household, where Pierce and his eight siblings read the Bible daily with their parents. Pierce later stated, “
My mother and I used to read the Bible every evening after I got through with my chores.” This had a great influence upon his life and his carvings.

He began carving at an early age when his father gave him his first pocketknife. By age seven, Pierce was carving little wooden farm animals. His uncle, Lewis Wallace, instructed Pierce in the art of carving – teaching him how to work with wood, what kind of wood to use, and how to enjoy carving.

Pierce attended school through the eighth grade. In his early teens, he decided he didn’t want to be a farmer – it was “too long between paydays,” Pierce said. He had taken an interest in barbering and began learning the trade at local barbershops.

In 1915, he married his first wife, Zetta Palm, who died shortly afterwards. Two years later Pierce’s father passed away. Pierce then left Baldwyn, seeking opportunities in northern cities. He hopped rides on freight trains and even worked as an itinerant laborer for the railroad through Tennessee, Missouri, and Ohio. On a return trip home in 1920, Pierce was ordained and received his preacher’s license from his home church of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Still unsettled in his life, he once again decided to head to the cities in the north. He made his home in Columbus, Ohio, where he married his second wife, Cornelia Houeston, in 1923. She was a devout Christian and had a strong influence on Pierce’s life. At first, he worked for another barber and then in 1951 opened his own shop on Long Street in the heart of the city’s African American community (his shop is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Long Street Gallery).

With his new wife and trade, Pierce lost interest in the nomadic lifestyle and rediscovered his love of woodcarving. Pierce’s early works were based on ideas from popular culture and consisted of small three-dimensional figures. By the early 1930s, he was carving panels in bas-relief and his subject matter was dominated with biblical scenes.

In 1932, Pierce completed the
Book of Wood, which he considered his best work. As a lay minister, a number of his later works were also inspired by biblical stories. His early work also depicted African-inspired fables, Freemasonry symbols, African American heroes, a veritable “Noah’s Ark” of animals, and his early life. His later carvings also reflected his interest in national politics, civil rights, as well as his love of baseball, boxing, and the movies.

It wasn’t until 1971, at the age of 79, that he was given his first solo exhibition at The Ohio State University art gallery. Within a few years Pierce became known both nationally and internationally in the world of folk art – participating in exhibitions at the National Museum of American Art, the Renwick Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art. In 1973, Pierce won first prize in the International Meeting of
Naïve Art in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. In 1982, his carvings were included in the monumental exhibition “Black Folk Art in America 1930 – 1980,” organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art. This exhibit was the turning point for contemporary black folk art. In that same year, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a National Heritage Fellowship as one of 15 master traditional artists. Two years later, Pierce died of a heart attack in Columbus. He was 92.

Elijah Pierce was one of the first African American wood carvers to receive significant recognition during his lifetime. Pierce was a master storyteller and his narrative carvings came to be regarded as important additions to American folk art.

The select carvings by Elijah Pierce in this exhibition fully represent his narrative carvings created between c. 1925-1975. Several of these carvings have not been widely exhibited because they were owned by fellow church members of Pierce in Columbus and were not known outside of his community until recent years.

About the Canton Museum of Art
The Canton Museum of Art (CMA) is one of Ohio’s premier museums for an exceptional visual arts experience. CMA is recognized for powerful national touring exhibits; dynamic CMA-original exhibits; an unrivaled Permanent Collection of American watercolors and contemporary ceramics; and innovative education outreach programs, in-Museum classes, and workshops. CMA is one of only two Stark County museums accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.For more information, including hours, exhibits, classes, and special events, call 330.453.7666, visit, Facebook at “Canton Museum of Art,” or @CantonMuseum on Twitter.

Admission: Regular admission is $8 Adults; $6, Seniors and Students (with valid I.D.); Museum Members are Free; and Children 12 and under, Free. Tickets are available at the Museum Ticket Office during Museum hours. For group visits, discounts, and tours, please call 330.453.7666 at least two weeks prior to your visit for reservations and/or to request a docent-led tour.
Media Images: High-resolution images can be downloaded via the provided link below.

Canton Museum of Art Hours:
Hours – Monday: Closed; Tues – Thurs: 10am – 8pm; Fri – Sat: 10am – 5pm; Sun: 1 – 5pm

Location: The Canton Museum of Art is located in the Cultural Center for the Arts, 1001 Market Avenue North, Canton, Ohio 44702. Free onsite parking is available around the Museum. Call 330.453.7666 for information and directions or visit our website at

Little Art Gallery Permanent Collection: Ten-Year Retrospective

The upcoming Ten-Year Retrospective exhibition show in the Little Art Gallery features artwork that has been added to the gallery’s permanent collection during Elizabeth Blakemore’s tenure as curator. The exhibit will be on display December 11, 2017 through January 21, 2018. Pieces included celebrate the development of the Little Art Gallery’s permanent collection for the past decade. Multifaceted works selected for the show the show include ceramics, blown glass, metalsmithing, mezzotint, painting, drawing and more with pieces dated 1890 to 2014 from the following artists:


Ferdinand A. Brader, Ken (KC) Carter, Dan Chrzanowski, Frank Dale, Ted Davis, Lynn Digby, Jerry Domokur, Bette G. Elliott, Laurie Fife Harbert, Russ Hench, Joseph Hertzi, Pam LaRocco, Ted Lawson, Joseph Martino, Nancy Stewart Matin, Jack McWhorter, Pam Neff, William Shearrow, Clyde Singer, Lowell E. Smith, Lisa Vincenzo, Annette Yoho-Feltes


“As curator, the first part of my mission has included addressing both the preservation and conservation needs of the permanent collection,” said Blakemore, who became curator of the gallery in 2007. In the decade she has served as curator, many gallery updates have been made including conservation of the collection after an evaluation of each piece, installation of LED lighting, and an upgraded security system. “The development of the collection, also important, continued to focus on the artists in stark county who have made an impact in the art world on the community,” added Blakemore.


The Little Art Gallery of the North Canton Public Library is home to a permanent collection of more than 200 pieces of original artwork by area artists and those whose work has had an impact on our community. The gallery is the sole art organization to have a collection with its primary focus on artists in Stark County. All pieces in the permanent collection can be viewed on the library’s website.


For additional information, please contact library community relations manager, Christina Weyrick, at 330.499.4712 x331 or

Canton Parks and Recreation Holiday Light Display

It started with a few lights near the Japanese waterfall garden at the Canton Garden Center in 1998. In just two decades, it has turned into a 33 set display of holiday lights throughout Stadium Park in Canton, Ohio.
All holiday light fixtures in the holiday light display were designed and created by Canton Parks and Recreation maintenance crew.
“This light display is a testament to the abilities and talent of our park crew,” says Derek Gordon, director of Canton Parks and Recreation.
The drive-through light display is view able every evening from approximately 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16, until early January, 2018 at Stadium Park in Canton, Ohio. Due to construction at the 12th St NW park entrance, patrons may enter Stadium Park Dr NW via Fulton Rd NW.
Guests may also experience the holiday light display at our holiday hayride event at Stadium Park on Frid
ay, Dec. 8 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person, and includes the hayride, cookies and hot chocolate (while supplies lasts). The event will take place at the Canton Garden Center located in Stadium Park, and participants can make crafts and play games while waiting for their ride!
Guests may pre-register their tickets online at, or register the evening of the event. We recommend guests pre-register their tickets, to guarantee a spot on the hayride. Stadium


 Park and the Canton Garden Center is located at 1615 Stadium Park Dr NW, Canton, OH 44718. Please contact Canton Parks and Recreation at 330-456-4521 for any questions regarding the light display or the holiday hayrides.

Massillon Museum Stark County Artists Exhibition Opening

The Massillon Museum will celebrate the opening of the annual Stark County Artists Exhibition on Sunday, December 3, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. with a reception for the artists in the main gallery. Award winners will be announced at 4:00 that afternoon.  The party is free and open to everyone.
The Stark County Artists Exhibition has been held at the Museum since 1934, beginning as a statewide juried exhibit of fine arts and crafts. By the 1980s, it was refocused to exhibit work by artists living and working in Stark County. To keep the show fresh, artwork submitted for consideration must have been created within the last two years.
All media were considered by the independent jurors: Elizabeth Carney—Assistant Curator, Akron Art Museum; Steven Mastroianni—Photographer, Cleveland; and Susan Yingling—Artist, Retired Art Teacher, Akron Public Schools. They selected work to be included as well as the awards. The look of the exhibition is different from year to year because of the diversity of the artwork entered and the vision of the jurors, who vary every year.
A total of 77 artists submitted 189 drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and more.  From those, the jurors chose 55 pieces of artwork by 40 individuals.
Stark Countians whose artwork will be exhibited are: Mandy Altimus Stahl, Michael Barath, William Barron, Emily Bartolone, William Bogdan, Heather Bullach, Rosemary Burkhart, Peter Castillo, Frank Dale, David Dingwell, Bree Ehret, Susan Eitelman, Pamela Glover Wadsworth, Karen Hemsley, Judith Huber, Bruce Humbert, Gail Keener, Judith Krew, Ted Lawson, Khrysso LeFey, Bob Maurer, Clare Murray Adams, Lee Novotny, Jesse Nutter, Mitzi Phillips, Scot Phillips, Mark Pitocco, Michael Reynolds, Patricia Ripple, Priscilla Roggenkamp, Russell Hench, Allison Smith, Alexander Strader, Brien Strancar, Michele Tokos, Stephen Tornero, Tom Wachunas, Michael Weiss, Isabel Zaldivar, and Anna Zotta.
“The Stark County Artists Exhibition is one of my favorite Massillon Museum traditions,” said the exhibition’s coordinator Heather Bullach. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase fresh work for established and aspiring artists alike. Each year’s show offers plenty of familiarity, as some artists return year after year, but a completely different group of jurors ensures a unique and diverse selection. No two shows are alike, but there is always something for everyone!”
In addition to viewing the Stark County Artists Exhibition on December 3, visitors can attend the opening of the Studio M exhibition, Image to Image: Photography by Walsh University Photojournalism Students in the Museum’s lower level. The second-floor galleries will be open for viewing Stark County in the Great War, Paul Brown: Innovator, and The Immel Circus.
The Stark County Artists Exhibition, which will continue through January 31, 2018, may be seen during regular Museum hours Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark.
The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way, East (Ohio 172) in downtown Massillon. A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.  Call the Massillon Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit for more information.
Media Contacts:
Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Massillon Museum Executive Director  –  330-833-4061
Margy Vogt, Massillon Museum Public Relations Coordinator  –  330.844-1525
Representative artwork from the Stark County Artists Exhibition:
Michael Reynolds, Fishing in Turmoil, digital
Pamela Glover Wadsworth, Writer’s Block, mixed media
Brien Strancar, Murrini Flame, blown glass, tooled, engraved, sandblasted

19th Annual An Evening in the Village


The 19th Annual An Evening in the Village will be held Sunday, December 3rd from 4:30-7pm in HistoricDowntown Hartville. The evening includes a live nativity, wagon rides, cookie contest and open houses at downtown shops. The Christmas tree in the square will be designated a Remembrance Tree and ornaments with loved ones names can be added. Following the lighting, local church and school choirs will perform. Visitors can also bid on silent auction items to benefit Hartville’s new police K9 unit.

Many family memories will be made when kids watch Santa arrive by fire truck to kick off the evening. Crafts, barrel train rides, and story time in the train car will keep them busy all evening.

For more information call 330-877-9650 or visit


Walsh University Digital Photojournalism Students to Be Featured in MassMu Studio M

Eleven students enrolled in Walsh University digital photojournalism classes have examined the work of renowned photojournalists from the perspectives of artistic style, technique, and history. Their project will culminate when they collaborate with the Massillon Museum to host the eleventh annual Image to Image exhibition in the Museum’s Studio M.  
When the exhibition opens on Sunday, December 3, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., the public is invited to meet the photographers, view their work, and enjoy refreshments in the Fred F. Silk Community Room of the Massillon Museum. The party is free and open to all; no reservations are necessary.
Image to Image:  A Comparative Study of Past and Present Photojournalists’ Images, Styles, and Shooting Techniques will feature the work of students in Professor Lee Horrisberger’s digital photography class. It will illustrate that the power of the image is not in the camera, but in the hands of the photographer.
First-time students Donal Baker, Jonah Carter, Sydney Colucy, Sara Dahler, Melissa Johnson, Tyson Lautanen, Jacob Linkous, Chloe Miller, Joseph Paiva, Mariana Salinas, and Ellen Stair will be featured.
Students have used cameras, computers, and photographic equipment from Walsh’s Communication Department to imitate the photography style, lighting, and content of photojournalists of their choosing. Students have learned the mechanical side of producing a photograph, and now understand that it is equally important that a photograph be composed artistically to make an impact on its audience. 
“The goal of the project is to demonstrate the impact that style and technique have on artistic content, and also to immerse the students in the historical and social context of the photojournalists’ work,” Horrisberger said. “Students have learned that news is visual, and that story telling through images can have an impact on society. By taking part in this project, these students have a better understanding of how photography, specifically photojournalism, works within the larger social tapestry.”
Each student’s work will be printed, matted, and hung along with his or her selected photojournalist’s work. Each piece will contain bibliographic notes and detail how the student’s work was created. Students will be involved in the marketing of the event and will be on hand during the exhibition opening to receive firsthand feedback on their work.
Emily Vigil, Studio M coordinator, will explain the importance of presentation by working with the professor, the students, and their finished photographs that will be hung in the Museum. Students will witness how the exhibition of artistic work, in this case photojournalism, can serve as a social, educational, and entertainment community resource.
The Studio M show may be seen through December 31, during regular Museum hours, Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., except when the Silk Room has been reserved for private functions. A call to the Museum office can confirm that the exhibit is available for viewing—330-833-4061.
Studio M enhances the collaboration between the Museum and the community by showcasing the artistic talents of local, regional, and national artists. Brochures containing guidelines and an application are available by contacting the Massillon Museum at 330-833-4061 or
The Walsh opening in Studio M is concurrent with the opening of the Stark County Artists Exhibition in the Museum’s main gallery, which is also free and open to everyone.
The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark.
The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East (Ohio Route 172) in the heart of downtown Massillon.  A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.
Media Contacts:
Alex Nicholis Coon, Massillon Museum Executive Director  –  330-833-4061 
Lee Horrisberger, Professor, Walsh University  –  330-490-7040
Emily Vigil, Massillon Museum Studio M Coordinator  –  330-833-4061 x108
Margy Vogt, Massillon Museum PR Coordinator  –  330-844-1525 

Louisville’s Ahh Gallery Opens “Holiday Show”

The Art and History Gallery (The Ahh Gallery) at 120 East Main Street in downtown Louisville, Ohio opens its second annual “Holiday Show” on Thursday, Nov 16 from 5-8 pm.  The show features two artists new to the Gallery: William M. Bogdan and Karen Scheiller Bogdan — a married couple who met over fifty years ago in art school at the University of Akron.  They are both Akron natives who, after having lived in Colorado and South Carolina, have resided in Canton for nearly twenty years.   Both Bill and Karen let their art remain dormant while working at regular jobs for many years.  Then, after retirement, they started furiously creating art again.  Ever since their art has been shown in venues across Stark and Summit counties.  The “Holiday Show” will be filled with moderately-priced works from various artists that would make great gifts.  These include small paintings and drawings, pottery, jewelry, blown and pulled glass, tree ornaments, hand-made greeting cards and much more.  Louisville Middle School art students, under the instruction of Mrs. Lisa Galentine and Miss Kat Fuller will be on display once again.   And there will be light refreshments and live music provided by Loel Stein. 
Bill Bogdan is known for his large woodcut prints but also works in various art media, including oil pastels.  These will be on display along with two woodcut prints – and one very ambitious work called “The Dogwalker” will be shown to the public for the first time.  Karen Bogdan, known for her elaborate and complex fabric art with its painterly qualities, will have four of her pieces in the exhibit.  
Some of the other Artists in the show are: Barb Aiken,  Vivian Geaghan, Jon Wilson, Chris Brogan, Rick Silvey, Russ Hench, Abi Yeagley, Frank Dale, Debbie Withnell, Hannelore Brown, Marjorie Lutes, Yvonne Walter, Kris Marshall, Susan Nolt Banks, Mike Criswell, Jeff Hoffman, Jake Davis, Mark Brunner, Rachel Davis, Linda Christman, Kathy Fithian, Judi Lindsay, Glenn Heiller, Sheila Harter, Marie Nelson, Tracey Phillips, Beth Patrick, Judi Singer, Carolyn Caskey, and Rhonda Dahlheimer.

Avenue Arts Marketplace & Theatre Offers Open Studio Art Classes and Pet Portrait Painting Mini-Retreat

Are you a creative person who never gets around to creating? Or are you someone who likes to make art, but needs a little shove to get you started? If so, the weekly Open Studio art class at Avenue Arts Marketplace and Theatre might just be for you.

According to artist and facilitator Vicki Boatright, known as Artist BZTAT, the Open Studio class is a place where you can explore your creativity in whatever way that you choose alongside other creators exploring their own creativity. You can work on your own project, or you can work collaboratively with others on group projects. You can use the Open Studio as a place to experiment, try new things, and most of all, have fun creating with others. Participants will have the opportunity to explore a variety of techniques and media with the support of other students and the facilitator. “I will provide support and guidance, but the goal is to let students take the lead in determining projects and offering ideas to each other,” Boatright says.

The Open Studio is an ongoing class on Monday evenings from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Avenue Arts Marketplace and Theatre, located at 324 Cleveland Ave. NW in Canton. Each session is $15, and you can sign up at any time in 4 session blocks.

Boatright is also holding a Pet Portrait Painting Mini-Retreat on November 18, 2017 at the same location from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Pet lovers will enjoy learning the artist’s unique techniques and as they spend the day painting portraits of their beloved pets. Each student will complete an acrylic on canvas portrait to take home and share with others in this intensive, but relaxing workshop. Early Bird Registration (before 11/12/17) is $60 per person or Two for $100. After 11/12/17, registration is $75 per person or Two for $125. Seating is limited. The registration fee covers instruction and supplies.

The Open Studio and Pet Portrait workshops are designed for both beginners and experienced artists. “A lot of people enjoy creating art, but they fear they won’t be able to do it well. I get people over that and help them have fun as they make something that they can be proud of,” said the artist.

For more information or to register for either class, contact:

MassMu to Offer Free Activities during “An Old-Fashioned Family Christmas”

During Massillon’s Light Up Downtown event, “An Old-Fashioned Family Christmas,” on Wednesday, November 29, the Massillon Museum will offer free holiday activities from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission will be free and open to everyone.
Guests will be invited to enjoy free cookie decorating (and eating).
Art instructor Gary Spangler will guide participants through some basic folds of the ancient art of origami to create beautiful handcrafted gift boxes. Although supplies and paper will be provided, guests are welcome to bring their own holiday paper for the craft.
The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark.
The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East (Ohio Route 172) in downtown Massillon.  A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.  Free parking is available on city streets and in nearby city lots.
For more information, call the Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit
Media Contacts:
Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Massillon Museum Executive Director  –  330-833-4061 x111
Megan Fitze, Massillon Museum Education and Outreach Manager  –  330-833-4061 x104
Margy Vogt, Massillon Museum Public Relations Coordinator  –  330-844-1525

A True Story on the CSO Stage

The Canton Symphony Orchestra brings back two audience favorites for their next MasterWorks concert, “Gifts of Fate”.  This program features the moving true story of Canton, Ohio during the great depression with The Secret Gift, a piece based on the book by Ted Gup and brought to life by local composer, Eric Benjamin.  This thrilling evening takes place on December 3, 2017 at 7:30pm at Umstattd Performing Arts Hall at the Zimmermann Symphony Center.  This concert is sponsored in part by the generosity of Brad and Suzan Goris.

A Secret Gift, written by Ted Gup, takes readers through an uplifting and captivating story based in our own Canton, Ohio. Inside a suitcase kept in his mother’s attic, Gup discovered letters written to his grandfather in response to an ad placed in The Canton Repository in 1933 that offered cash to seventy-five families facing a devastating Christmas. Gup traveled coast to coast to unveil the lives behind the letters, describing a range of hardships and recreating in his research the hopes and suffering of Depression-era Americans, even as he uncovers the secret life led by the grandfather he thought he knew.

Local composer Eric Benjamin read the book, and after a discussion with CSO’s President Michelle Mullaly, thought the story perfect for the orchestral stage.  Benjamin came up with not only music for the story, but a whole staged production to highlight some of the most touching stories in the book.  For this performance of The Secret Gift, the CSO is also enlisting the help of local Renaissance man Craig Joseph, who has put together a cast of local actors to fill the stage with Canton talent.

After what will be a memorable performance of this Canton story, the CSO performs one of the most recognized pieces in classical literature, Beethoven’s fifth symphony.  Those famous four notes are reportedly fate knocking at Beethoven’s door, telling him his growing deafness would take away his ability to pursue his passions.

Tickets for the Canton Symphony Orchestra concert on December 3, 2017 range in price from $28-$48 and are available online <> , by phone at 330-452-2094 or in person at the Canton Symphony Orchestra administrative offices in the Zimmermann Symphony Center at 2331 17th Street NW in Canton weekdays 9am-5pm.

Founded in 1937, the Canton Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 80th anniversary and is a fully professional ensemble and organization dedicated to performing concerts that enrich, educate and entertain residents of Stark County and beyond. The orchestra performs classical, holiday, and a variety of educational programs in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, 2323 17th Street NW, Canton, Ohio, as well as other venues in Stark County. For more information, please visit or call (330)452-2094. Administrative offices are located at the Zimmermann Symphony Center 2331 17th Street NW, Canton OH 44708.