When the Valley Art Club held its first original exhibits, the local artists displayed their works on chairs because they didn't have easels.
That was 70 years ago. Much has changed -- except for their members' love of art.
Originally known as the Monessen Art Club, the society was organized in 1941 to promote culture and appreciation of art in the valley.
Their first Art Club Exhibition was held May 1-3, 1942.
It would be nearly two decades before the art club purchased the easels, which are now used for the yearly exhibit.
The initial meetings were held in the members' homes. The club would eventually expand to Belle Vernon, Charleroi, Donora and Monongahela.
In 1952, the name was changed to The Valley Art Club.
Their work is featured at various locations throughout the valley and the region, including the Pittsburgh, Uniontown and Greensburg areas, California University of Pennsylvania, Southwest Pennsylvania Human Services offices in Charleroi and Center in the Woods in California.
The art work is displayed for three months at a time at such locations. To be displayed, original art work must not have been entered at a previous club annual exhibit.
"In August, we were invited to display our work in federal courthouse in Pittsburgh along with a few artists from throughout the region," Christine Gilotty said.
They were invited to participate in the display by Judge Gary Lee Lancaster, federal justice for the U.S. District Court Western District of Pennsylvania. His mother, Arabelle Lancaster of Brownsville, is a member of the club.
Over the years, they have held many outdoor exhibitions and art sales at Chess Park in Monongahela, the Charleroi Chamber of Commerce parking lot and the Rostraver Township Fair.
Also, years ago, exhibits were held at Popp's Paint and Decorating Company in Charleroi, South Hills Village, Kroger stores, Howard Johnson, the former Monongahela Valley Memorial Hospital in New Eagle, Monongahela Valley Hospital, Valley Banks, Millers of Charleroi, Charleroi Presbyterian Church, Monessen Methodist Church, Donora Methodist Church, Monessen Civic Center, Monongahela Elks and the Charleroi, Donora and Monessen Libraries.
The club meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Its annual show is held during the last week of September and first week of October, said Gilotty, president of the Valley Art Club.
The exhibitions are a display of many medias, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, and pencil.
One of the special awards given at the annual exhibition is The Best Valley Scene. …