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Digital Photography Studio now open at Evansdale Library

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 10th, 2022
Entrance to digital photography studio

Evansdale Library’s new Digital Photography Studio is now open in Room G19. The studio is available for students, faculty and staff to take professional studio-quality photos. Individuals or groups can shoot group, portrait, portfolio documenting photography, product photography, and video.

The photography studio can be reserved through the Libraries’ study room reservation system for sessions of up to four hours. Equipment is available to checkout at the public services desk located on the main floor of the library or you can bring personal equipment to use. Learn more by watching this video.

WVU Humanities Center to host launch event for “Indigenous Appalachia” exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 3rd, 2022
Indigenous Appalachia banner
Banner designed by Maryam Marne Zafar.

The West Virginia University Humanities Center will host a program Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. to launch the “Indigenous Appalachia” exhibit currently on display in the WVU Libraries’ Downtown Library.

“Indigenous Appalachia” is an exhibit designed to increase awareness of the contributions of Indigenous Appalachians to the region’s shared history and present while also recognizing continuing injustices faced by Indigenous people.

“The Humanities Center is excited and humbled to sponsor this event,” Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson said. “It brings together the Art in the Libraries program, the Native American Studies program, and a tremendous group of artist and scholars, two of which will visit our campus for the opening.”

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Neal Museum of the Health Sciences dedicated

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 3rd, 2022
Ribboncuting for Neal Musuem

Remarks by Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz at the Neal Museum of the Health Sciences dedication on October 28.

President Biden recently issued an Executive Order on Promoting the Arts, the Humanities, and Museum and Library Services. In it he articulates this inspiring statement on these institutions: “The arts, the humanities, and museum and library services are essential to the well-being, health, vitality, and democracy of our Nation. They inspire us; provide livelihoods; sustain, anchor, and bring cohesion within diverse communities across our Nation; stimulate creativity and innovation; help us understand and communicate our values as a people; compel us to wrestle with our history and enable us to imagine our future; invigorate and strengthen our democracy; and point the way toward progress.”

I know that here at WVU, our library archivists are the collectors and stewards of the materials that mark our past. Without these touchstones of reality – of life as it truly was – we forget what was, and in fact are left to invent in our minds what never was. But it is through the interaction with these materials that we learn from and are inspired by them.

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Humanities Center to host “Wild and Wonderful Women Writers: a WVU Alumnae Reading”

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 27th, 2022
Flyer for writers event

The WVU Humanities Center is excited to host “Wild and Wonderful Women Writers: A WVU Alumnae Reading” on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Downtown Library’s Milano Room. This event is part of WVU’s Mountaineer Week and co-hosted by WVU’s Creative Writing Program in the Department of English.

The reading features three women writers, all graduates of WVU.

“Hosting women writers from across two of our graduate programs is a particular pleasure,” Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson said. “Celebrating talent that comes from our university’s programs can serve as an additional way to inspire future writers currently studying at WVU.”

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Downtown Library hosting “Indigenous Appalachia” exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 26th, 2022
Abstract painting
Abstract painting by John Gritts. It is currently on display in the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution.

West Virginia University’s Downtown Library is hosting “Indigenous Appalachia,” an exhibit designed to increase awareness of the contributions of Indigenous Appalachians to the region’s shared history and present while also recognizing continuing injustices faced by Indigenous people.

“Most Americans do not know about Indigenous culture, from history to today, but they are a large part of America’s fabric. Invisibility is a modern form of bias,” WVU Libraries Exhibits Coordinator Sally Brown said. “With this exhibit, we hope to both acknowledge the contradictions in the Indigenous histories of our areas and in our collections, and highlight Indigenous stories, perspectives and successes, all curated in collaboration with Indigenous advisement.”

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“Women, Work, and Activism in the Coal Mines” virtual event set for Nov. 2

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 21st, 2022

The West Virginia & Regional History Center (WVRHC) extends an open invitation to a virtual presentation titled Women, Work, and Activism in the Coal Mines: Stories from the Women Miners Oral History Project on Wednesday, November 2, at 7 p.m.

Dr. Jessie Wilkerson, an associate professor in WVU’s Department of History, and graduate student Emily Walter will discuss the oral history project and what they have learned talking to women miners from the region.

The Women Miners Oral History Project aims to collect and preserve the life histories of women in the Appalachian region who entered the mines as protected workers in the late 1970s after decades of exclusion.

Register for the Zoom event here.

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Humanities Center to host Korean American Author Matthew Salesses

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 21st, 2022
Matthew Salesses

The WVU Humanities Center is pleased to present “An Evening with Matthew Salesses” on Thursday, November 3, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Salesses will read from his work and discuss contemporary Asian American literature, his innovative approaches to writing workshops and other topics. This reading and discussion is a Campus Read tie-in event.

To pre-register for this Zoom event, go to wvu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xy5ysQ3LSkCVY5FPQivQCQ

“We are excited to continue the conversation about Asian American writing with this event,” WVU Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson said. “Our Campus Read, “Interior Chinatown,” brought up some important issues around the Asian American experience. By bringing in Matthew Salesses, we not only further that discussion, but we also have the opportunity to see how writing spaces can be re-imagined to reduce bias.”

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Libraries accepting submissions for Faculty/Staff and Graduate Student exhibit awards

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 20th, 2022

The West Virginia University Libraries’ Art in the Libraries committee seeks submissions for the Faculty/Staff and Graduate Student Exhibit Awards.

As part of its mission, the Art in the Libraries Committee wants to highlight the art and scholarship of WVU faculty, staff and graduate students. The Committee invites current WVU faculty/staff and graduate students to submit ideas for consideration for an exhibit to visually showcase their scholarship in new and experimental ways.

These can present a visual evolution of their work, visualize their research and influences, or answer a research question. Faculty/staff and graduate student proposals should be based on their academic or creative research and lend themselves to visual interpretation with Library consultation.

“The goals of these awards are to provide a multidisciplinary platform for deeper learning, foster intellectual discourse and discussion and demonstrate the breadth of WVU’s creative and innovative activity,” Libraries Exhibit Coordinator Sally Brown said.

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Pick up a WVUL sticker and share your laptop art

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 19th, 2022
Laptop sticker collage

You voted, and the two winning sticker designs from the WVU Art in the Libraries contest are available at the Downtown, Evansdale and Health Sciences libraries’ access services desks.

The call now is for photographs of your laptop sticker art. We love roaming the Library spaces and seeing all of the individualized, unique stickers that adorn your laptops, and we’d like to make it into an exhibition, online and in print.

All we need is your name, contact information, and a jpg (you can be in the photo or just the laptop) with an optional short 1-3 sentences about how your stickers reflect you/your identity/passions, etc. The deadline is Oct. 31. Get your free WVU Libraries sticker at any of the campus Libraries. Any questions or to submit via email: contact Sally Brown, sally.brown1@mail.wvu.edu. Submission does not guarantee display. Those selected for display will be contacted in November.

WVU Libraries to host Neal Museum dedication October 28

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 19th, 2022

Entrance to the Neal Museum

West Virginia University Libraries extends an open invitation to the dedication of the William A. Neal Museum of the Health Sciences on Oct. 28 from 2-4 p.m. in the WVU Health Sciences Center, adjacent to the Pylons Commons.

The museum was conceptualized by the late Dr. William A. Neal, pediatric cardiologist, author of “Quiet Advocate: Edward J. Van Liere’s Influence on Medical Education in West Virginia” and distinguished WVU School of Medicine alumnus.

“The Neal Museum is a wonderful place to explore the history of health sciences in West Virginia and at WVU,” Lori Hostuttler, interim director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center, said. “There’s so much history included there, and it is just the beginning of the story. We’re excited for the future of the Neal Museum and the opportunity to share more about West Virginia’s history.”

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Humanities Center to host “From WV to NY: Hip Hop Geography”

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 12th, 2022
Graphic for Hip Hop event

The West Virginia University Humanities Center will host “From WV to NY: Hip Hop Geography,” a panel discussion around hip-hop, Black culture and place, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair’s Blue Ballroom.

Amy M. Alvarez, an assistant professor of English, will moderate the discussion between West Virginia natives Steven Dunn, a novelist, and Deep Jackson, a hip-hop artist. Alvarez is a New York native, poet and self-described hip-hop head.

Also, as part of the program, Dunn will read from his new book “Travel with Nas” and Jackson will perform.

Register here to attend via Zoom.

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Libraries hosting “Collage Art: A panel discussion around collage as an art and therapy” on Friday

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 11th, 2022
Collage

WVU Libraries will host “Collage Art: A panel discussion around collage as an art and therapy” Friday at noon. Preregistration is required for this Zoom event.

The panel presentation is in conjunction with artist Corrine Lightweaver’s collage display currently up in Health Sciences Library through December.

Presenters will be Annie McFarland, WVU assistant professor and Art Therapy Program coordinator, and Linda Rosefsky, art historian. Libraries Exhibits Coordinator Sally Brown will moderate.

Lightweaver is the EveryLibrary 2021 Artist-in-Residence. Her exquisite collage-work is about the “delicate balance between people and nature as part of the story of public, private and school libraries.” The exhibition of collages, weaving animal imagery with people, domestic objects and architecture, debuted at Hastings Library in Pasadena, California in 2021.

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“West Virginia’s Poetic Heart” celebrates poets Maggie Anderson and Marc Harshman

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 30th, 2022

West Virginia University Libraries, the West Virginia and Regional History Center and the West Virginia University Humanities Center continue the “West Virginia’s Poetic Heart” celebration on October 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Downtown Libraries’ Milano Reading Room.

Attend in person or register to watch the Zoom event here.

At 6:30 p.m., the WVRHC will be open to showcase its latest exhibit, which documents selected West Virginia poets with materials from the Center’s book and archival collections.

The “West Virginia’s Poetic Heart” program brings together West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman and the poetry of noted Appalachian poet Maggie Anderson.

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Painting Pleasing Peonies

Posted by Admin.
September 26th, 2022

Written by Erica Uszak, Graduate Assistant

(Above) Arthur J. “Pete” Ballard, “James Woods Crimson Peonies” 2010-2011. Arthur J. Ballard, Costume Artist and Curator, Papers, A&M 3869, West Virginia and Regional History Center, West Virginia University Libraries, Morgantown, West Virginia.

Peonies were a popular choice of painters, especially for artists of China and Japan and French impressionist artists.  French impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir said that “painting flowers rests my brain. . . . I place my colors and experiment with values boldly, without worrying about spoiling a canvas.”[1] The same held true for West Virginia artist Arthur J. “Pete” Ballard, who said he too “love[d] to play with color, light, shadows, seasons, the sky.”[2] His “James Woods Crimson Peonies” painting exemplifies this obsession with vibrant colors, quick brush strokes, and contrast with lighting.

“For almost sixty years, I have ached to paint peonies,” Ballard wrote in one reflection upon his work.[3] Born in Welch, West Virginia, in 1931, Ballard won an art scholarship to attend a fine arts school, but he decided that he wanted something more. He graduated with a degree in education from Concord University. Much of his post-collegiate life was spent as a teacher, as he taught English in China, India, Saudi Arabia, and other places.

(Above) Arthur J. “Pete” Ballard, The Register-Herald, Beckley, WV., March 16, 2017.

However, he remained fascinated by art and costume design. Upon returning to the United States, he was an instructor at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He further developed his passion for costumes through conservation of old costumes and his design of historical dolls, which exhibited the fashions of the eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. He worked as a curator for fashion exhibits at many North Carolina and other museums. The Ballard collection at the WVRHC includes many papers and articles about his lectures, exhibits, dolls, and paintings. The collection also contains many paintings of flowers, still life and other subjects (to see more about the collection, A&M 3869, see the finding aid). It was not until his retirement when he could pursue painting further, which Ballard was happy to do. “It’s an exciting way to spend one’s time in retirement. You can make all the mistakes you want, then correct them,” and added, “There are endless possibilities for subject matter.”[4]

There are also endless possibilities for painters when it comes to painting peonies. Ballard noted, “The enormous beauty of peonies has always held a fascination for artists.”[5] In Chinese and Japanese culture, peonies are a symbol of status, wealth, and beauty. In China, where these flowers have been grown for several thousand years, they are referred to sometimes as “the king of flowers.” Since Ballard spent time in China, perhaps he was influenced by different styles of Chinese artists and paintings of peonies and other flowers. French impressionist artists also took to painting flowers, especially peonies, as they offered many opportunities for color and light experimentation. Many of Ballard’s favorite artists were impressionists, as he described his admiration for artists like John Singer Sargent and Joaquín Sorolla, both of whom painted in impressionist style.

(Above) Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Peonies, c. 1880, Oil on canvas. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.585.

Ballard’s “James Woods’ Crimson Peonies” painting demonstrates impressionist influences. The colors are vibrant. Although the peonies are described as “crimson,” there is no one color that defines the painting, which awes the viewer with a wide array of pinks, purples, and reds. Ballard catches the light and shadows of the painting, making the peonies seem life-like. The vivid green background suits the painting well. When trying to find another color to use as the background for this painting, Ballard couldn’t help but paint it green. “The hills were green, so were the trees; the grass was green, so were all the leaves,” Ballard wrote, thereby settling on the color of nature as his background.[6]

            After so many years, Pete Ballard was finally able to fulfill his aching desire to paint these bright peonies. The “James Woods’ Crimson Peonies” picture exemplifies the complexities of painting such beautiful, colorful flowers that have garnered admiration from painters and viewers alike around the world.


[1] Lees, Sarah, ed. Nineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; New Haven and London: distributed by Yale University Press, 2012.

[2] “Memories and Momentos: Artwork by Peterstown Resident on Display in N.C.,” May 11, 2000, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Box 2, “2000 Exhibition of My Paintings at Gertrude Smith House-Mt. Airy, NC.” Arthur J. Ballard, Costume Artist and Curator, Papers, A&M 3869, West Virginia and Regional History Center, West Virginia University Libraries, Morgantown, West Virginia.

[3] Pete Ballard, “Memories and Mementos: A Collection of Paintings and Commentaries,” 2000, Box 2, “2000 Exhibition of My Paintings at Gertrude Smith House-Mt. Airy, NC.” Arthur J. Ballard, Costume Artist and Curator, Papers, A&M 3869, West Virginia and Regional History Center, West Virginia University Libraries, Morgantown, West Virginia.

[4] “Memories and Momentos: Artwork by Peterstown Resident on Display in N.C.”

[5] Pete Ballard, “Memories and Mementos: A Collection of Paintings and Commentaries,”

[6] Pete Ballard, “Memories and Mementos: A Collection of Paintings and Commentaries.”

Campus Read “Interior Chinatown” inspiring action across campus

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 20th, 2022
Students in Taiwan
Ching-Hsuan Wu (center) discusses “Interior Chinatown” with her students in a tea shop in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

This year’s West Virginia University Campus Read, “Interior Chinatown” by Charles Yu, is inspiring students, faculty and staff to ponder race, stereotypes and, possibly, even the confines of achieving the American Dream through versatile coursework, events and social media.

“In choosing a book like ‘Interior Chinatown,’ we not only bring a book of outstanding literary merit to our campus, but one that challenges us to think deeply about aspects of race in America, of the roles we play, and of our sense of home, among many others,” WVU Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson, who oversees the Campus Read, said. “It balances the weight of these themes with a compelling protagonist and satirical humor.”

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“Book it!” panel to explore careers in publishing industry

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 9th, 2022

Curious about a career in the publishing industry? The West Virginia University Humanities Center and the WVU Career Services Center are co-hosting an online panel titled “Book It: Careers in Publishing and Book Promotion” on September 19 from 4-5 p.m.

Register for the Zoom event here:

wvu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUodu2orT8sEtXDGR1Ne_46rG9yuMFbKarX

Students who are interested in book-related careers can learn more about job opportunities post-graduation, including how to prepare academically, personally and professionally to pursue these career paths.

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Stories and songs to guide spectators through “A ‘Double Whammy’ of Disasters” photo exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 6th, 2022
Town of Rainelle sign
“A Town Built to Carry On” by John Wyatt

WVU faculty, staff and students are invited to attend the grand opening ceremony of a unique photo exhibit, “A ‘Double Whammy’ of Disasters: Flooding and COVID-19 in Rural West Virginia,” on Monday, Sept. 12 from 5:15 – 6:45 p.m. in the Health Sciences Center’s Fukushima Auditorium Lobby.

Images curated by Jamie Shinn, assistant professor in West Virginia University’s Department of Geology and Geography, and John Wyatt, her community partner, narrate rural life in Rainelle, W.Va. as the community faced both the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic along with ongoing devastation from West Virginia’s notorious 2016 flooding, which damaged hundreds of homes and businesses.

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University community invited to Cuthbert retirement reception

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 6th, 2022
John Cuthbert
John Cuthbert

John Cuthbert, former director of the West Virginia & Regional History Center, retired December 31, 2021, with more than 40 years of service to WVU Libraries. A reception in his honor will be held Friday, September 23, from 3-5 p.m. in the Downtown Library’s Milano Reading Room.

Cuthbert spent his career telling anyone who would listen about the Mountain State’s rich cultural artistic heritage.

“West Virginia is unique in many ways and certainly has one of the most interesting histories of any state in the Union,” Cuthbert said. “My mission throughout my career was to shed light on subjects and people who defy stereotypes about West Virginia.”

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WVU Libraries signs agreement to support researchers publishing Open Access

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 24th, 2022

In July, West Virginia University Libraries began a partnership with the Public Library of Science (PLOS) to provide researchers with the opportunity to publish, free of processing charges, in any of their Open Access titles over the next three years.

PLOS is a nonprofit, Open Access publisher with a suite of 12 influential Open Access journals across all areas of science and medicine. Open Access refers to free, immediate and permanent online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

“Investment in open access initiatives is one of the WVU Libraries’ five collection funding priorities. This PLOS agreement is another significant step forward,” said Beth Royall, past-chair of the WVU Libraries Collections Advisory Committee.

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Evansdale Library celebrates 40th anniversary

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 23rd, 2022

By Karen Diaz, Dean of WVU Libraries

To celebrate the new academic year, I’d like to share comments I made at our recent celebration of the 40th (actually 42nd) anniversary of the Evansdale Library. This is a good reminder of how libraries continue to evolve to meet the needs of campus.

In 1978, while I was still in high school, WVU broke ground for the Evansdale Library. By November 1980, when I was taking a year off from my own college experience, the doors opened to students.

It was acknowledged that the growing campus needed an expanded library system that could serve students who now did business on three different campuses within Morgantown.  We see from the newspaper accounts that one of the exciting features of this new library was going to be a large microfilm room and an AV lab!  Exciting stuff! Having been a college student myself at this time I can imagine the AV space had turntables, cassette players, big heavy headphones, and maybe even a state-of-the-art VHS player. Also present would have been the card catalog.  Ah yes, it was the environment of my own learning and experience.

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