Cartier Show Is A Testament To Local Artistic Talent
William King Regional Arts Center Showcases Homegrown Celebrity
By Suzanne Tate | Opinion Page Editor | Bristol Herald Courier | February 28, 2009*** This story was published Feb. 22, 2009 in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier. ***
ABINGDON, Va. — For the William King Regional Arts Center, Leila Cartier is a homegrown celebrity.
This Abingdon native attended arts classes at the center as a child. She went on to study art and art history at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, Pa., and Temple University in Rome, Italy.
Today she is pursuing a master's degree in fine arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. And last week, her exhibit called "The Wide-Eyed Garden" opened at the William King Regional Arts Center in Abingdon.
For Director Lemont Dobson, having Cartier's works on display is exciting for the center and a tangible reminder of the talented artists who have grown up in the region.
Her canvasses are large and full of vibrant colors depicting flowers, leaves and other botanical forms, as well as figures and arthropod forms. Her dynamic works fill the United Company Contemporary Regional Gallery now through June 7.
"Leila is a product of this place and, if not for the center, she has said she wouldn't have considered art as a career," Dobson said during an interview last week, hours before Cartier's show opened.
Dobson is excited to brag on the talent in the region generally and Cartier specifically.
"She is a product of this place and the talent in this region is enormous," he said.
Dobson is quick to note that the William King Regional Arts Center provides an important service to the community – it covers 11 counties and three cities across a 3,000-square-mile region offering arts classes and instruction for children whose schools might have little or no other arts curriculum.
"Art gives people critical thinking skills and a broader perspective on the world," Dobson said. "It is vitally important to the growth in your community. We need to recognize and celebrate the role of cultural institutions in developing our communities."
So how many times have you driven past the center, at 415 Academy Drive off Main Street in Abingdon, and wondered what goes on there? Dobson is eager to welcome you in. Make time to see Cartier's exhibit, or tour the gift shop, or sign up for a class.
There is a wealth of artistic opportunity waiting on the hill, all you have to do is open the door and go in.
The center is open daily, except Mondays. You can learn about the center 24 hours a day at www.wkrac.org.
Still got questions? Call the center at (276) 628-5005.