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StreetWorks art to be displayed on East End lampposts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There are still a few weeks before East End Main Street's annual artwork auction, but pre-bidding for the original pieces already has begun on Facebook.

The artwork, which eventually will be displayed on Charleston's East End, has been photographed and put in a Facebook album, so people can leave their pre-bids online. The artwork is created from media including oil pastels, colored pencils and acrylic paint, and pre-bidding prices range from $25 to $2,000.

The artwork will officially be for sale at the fourth annual East End Main Street StreetWorks Art Auction and Celebration. The StreetWorks project recruits local artists to create art that represents the revitalization of the East End of Charleston. Then, photographs of each piece are reproduced and displayed throughout the East End, and the original artwork is sold at auction.

The photographs of this year's StreetWorks artwork will be transferred onto metal signs that will be fixed to the lampposts that span Washington Street East, said Ric Cavender, executive director for East End Main Street. Artists' images will go on one side of the lamppost, and the organization's logo will hang on the opposite side. Previous StreetWorks projects have been put on vinyl images on banners hung from lampposts and on bricks.

Because this is the first time a project of this nature has been attempted in Charleston, East End Main Street had to get a lot of approvals, Cavender said. It involved contacting the manufacturers of the lampposts to ensure signs would hold up in inclement weather and making sure there weren't any safety hazards.

The signs will go up sometime after the auction June 17 and stay up indefinitely, Cavender said.

As for the original artwork, the prices on Facebook will be the threshold for bidding at the auction. Mary Beth Hoover, design committee chairwoman for East End Main Street, said she thinks it was up to the artists to decide whether to set a pre-bidding price or not.

Charly Hamilton's painting on wooden canvas has the highest starting price, set at $2,000. The piece features bold blues, greens, reds and yellows and has animal-like creatures holding musical instruments.

Another artist, Robert J. Hrezo, used oil pastels on paper to render a bright pink and purple flower on a blue background. He commented on Facebook on the photo of his piece: "Titled 'Vibrant & Vital' this original oil pastel on paper is an impressionistic rendering of a clematis blossom from my garden. It exudes the vibrancy and vitality of our community."

Other pieces are abstract paintings or digitally created images that feature the state's Capitol building and cityscapes.

The artwork helps enhance the business district, and the auction serves as a fundraiser, as the proceeds from the auction will be split 50-50 with each artist, Cavender said.

East End Main Street's take will go toward more public art and more revitalization of the East End.

The ultimate goal is to make the East End a travel spot for people who want to see art -- whether they find it on the sidewalks, on the banners or elsewhere. When people visit, they'll spend money, and that will bring more business and more tourism, Hoover said.

"It becomes a destination of a complete art gallery," she said.

This year's East End Main Street StreetWorks Art Auction and Celebration, which is a part of FestivALL, is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday  at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Ted Brightwell will serve as auctioneer. Admission to the event is $25 and includes beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres.

Reach Alison Matas at alison.matas@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.


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