By Sarah West
On Monday, September the 16th, Smiths Station’s City Hall bustled with excitement. Prior to the opening reception, crowds gathered, awaiting the time for guests to be welcomed in for their first viewing of the newly installed Student Art Exhibition.
Each year, the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, a center for cultural arts, assembles an invitational exhibition comprised exclusively of local student art developed formally through each student’s continuing studio practice. In 2018, the art center chose to move the exhibition to a larger venue, with a goal in keeping art at the heart of the city, meanwhile making it all the more accessible to greater numbers of art appreciators.
This exhibition was made possible by the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art in collaboration with the city of Smiths Station, which has become an annual event hosted by the city.
Through gracious support and encouragement from local leaders, many members of local and state government provided representation by attending the Opening Night Celebration. The Honorable Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland welcomed guests within the Smiths Station City Hall Galleries and extended his expressions of hospitality to all, while emphasizing the value and importance of cultural art enrichment.
Among the hundreds of art appreciators and local educators present were also, Alabama State Rep. Debbie Wood and representing United States Congressman Mike Rogers was Lee Vanoy.
The 2019 Student Art Exhibition will continue exhibition until Nov. 15. The Smiths Station City Hall Exhibit Galleries are open to the public during City Hall hours Monday through Friday.
Sarah West serves the Opelika Observer as a contributing columnist, with written works of Cultural Arts relevance and prose. She is a preservation and conservation advocate, activist and visual artist of American Illustration with a focus on Regional Narrative Painting. She is the founder of the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts, Smiths Station, Alabama’s premier fine arts destination. She is the appointed Official Artist to the City of Smiths Station, a Lee County syndicated columnist, the director of her art center’s Cultural Arts Outreach Initiative, which partners with local schools to make the arts accessible to all. She also serves a chief curator to the City of Smiths Station, City Hall Art Galleries. She is a founding member of the Smith Station Historic Commission. She is a member of the Women’s Philanthropy Board- Cary Center, Auburn University College of Human Science. She is an elected member of the Society of Illustrators- NYC. She mentors art students of every age through weekly classes at her studio located in the heart of Smiths Station, Alabama. To learn more about her work and activism visit, www.thesarahwestgalleryoffineart.com.