Drinko Library displaying artworks celebrating ‘Optimism in Appalachia’


Marshall University Libraries and the School of Art and Design are presenting “Optimism in Appalachia: Reclaiming Hope through Artwork, Crafts, and Poetry,” an exhibition that will be on display through May 5 in Drinko Library on the Huntington campus.

An opening reception is planned for 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Drinko Atrium. It is free and open to all. The exhibit was awarded a grant from the Birke Fine Arts Symposium 2023: Making the Unseen Visible, which features a variety of activities and celebrations of art across Marshall. It goes on throughout the spring semester of 2023.

The goal of this exhibit has been to showcase creative expressions of the positive Appalachian experience and encourage a sense of happiness and hope, said Sabrina Thomas, head of research and instruction services for Marshall University Libraries.

“The Drinko Library display committee was overwhelmed by the incredible response from Appalachian artists who poured over 90 pieces into this show,” Thomas said. “Walking through this show is inspiring, and we hope that faculty, students, staff, and community members can take time to wander through the library to find a little hope, a little humor and a whole lot of optimism.”

The artwork examines what optimism looks like in Appalachia. All of the artists are based in Appalachia, ranging from students to seasoned artists and the full range in between. Their works include 3D artworks made of clay, fibers and mixed media. The exhibit also features handmade wooden jewelry, photography, watercolor, oil paint, print media, textiles, and mixed media collage. There are poems as well.

Each artist’s response to the call for “Optimism in Appalachia” is unique. However, there are patterns that unite many of the artists, such as pride, beauty and the natural world, and creativity itself as an act of optimism.

The “Optimism in Appalachia” exhibit is free, and all are welcome.

Contact: Jean Hardiman, University Relations Specialist, 304-696-6397, jean.hardiman@marshall.edu

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