This month marks the one- year anniversary of the opening of The Underground Gallery, which is located in the lower level of the Letcher County Tourism building in downtown Whitesburg.
The tourism commission renovated the space in the old Whitesburg Post Office building to give local artists a place to showcase their work and promote art produced in the region, said Dr. David Narramore, chairman of the Letcher County Tourism Commission.
“The quality of art has been very high at the gallery,” said Narramore.
The gallery now contains art from its fifth exhibit and is open on Fridays and Saturdays from noon until 6 p.m.
“ They need to come down to the gallery and have a look,” said Patricia Shelton, curator of The Underground Gallery. “We have some really nice work.”
Narramore said the artwork now on display would make unique Christmas presents. Paintings, handmade bowls, jewelry, antique art and books written by local authors are all for sale.
Artwork by more than a dozen local artists is on exhibit, including black and white paintings by Marcus Kincer of Mayking. Roy Swiney, of Jeremiah, uses pen, ink and charcoals to portray coalmining scenes. David Hill, of Deane, makes elaborate wooden trinket boxes. Antique folk art by Charles and Vanessa Hall, of Seco, and paintings and prints by Jeff Chapman- Crane, of Eolia, are also on display.
“It gives them an outlet of exposure for showcasing their artwork,” said Shelton. “It encourages local artists to create art because it will be seen.”
Narramore hopes area youth will be encouraged to create art to be displayed at the gallery as well.
The Underground Gallery will take part later this week in the Tourism Commission’s “Winter Artwalk.” The event, which is set for 4 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 9, will feature the work of more than 30 artists and craftsmen. Artwork will also be on display at Pine Mountain Grill, Appalshop, Pellegrini Gallery, the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library, Summit City, Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church and the Courthouse Café.
Pellegrini Gallery will feature a collection of Salvador Dali prints from “ Biblica Sacra”; early 19th Century chromolithographs of famous Americans; a new collection of 18th Century oils featuring landscapes and seascapes; and a new collection of Christmas decorations that will be on public display only on Dec. 9.
“This is your one chance to see this,” said Narramore.
Narramore said the tourism commission’s goal for 2012 is to better designate Whitesburg as a regional place of a “mix of traditional mountain culture with a vibrant arts community.”