Pitt-Johnstown's Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center is host to various exhibitions of paintings, photos, and sculptures from the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA).
Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center
SAMA, a community art museum founded in 1976, successfully operates the nation’s longest-running museum satellite system with four museum facilities in the southwestern Pennsylvania cities of Altoona, Johnstown, Ligonier and Loretto.
The museum group maintains a permanent collection of more than 4,000 works of local, regional, national and international artists. SAMA's mission is to preserve, exhibit, and advance American art, and is dedicated to making its programs and activities accessible to the people of the southwestern area of central Pennsylvania.
SAMA’s four museums offer award-winning education programs, special events, and approximately 24 exhibitions annually.
The Art of Healing: Reflections 2017. On view March 24 through June 2, the exhibition features approximately 80 works created by patients during SAMA’s Museum/Healthcare Partnership Program residencies at the Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. The works in The Art of Healing Exhibition, now in its sixth year, were created during residencies with SAMA directory artists Deb Bunnell and Susan Novak.
Bunnell has been a rostered artist with SAMA and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts since 2014. She has degrees in art/liberal arts from Millersville University and illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has worked as an illustrator, commissioned painter and mural painter.
Her residency employed the mediums of scratchboard and acrylic paint to create animal art that explored symbolism. According to Bunnell, animals may be used to symbolize family heritage, religious beliefs or ideas such as love, freedom and beauty. At the end of the residency, she played the William Blake poem, The Tyger, for the group and then led them on a group project where each participant contributed their very own square painting that reflects the power of the tiger.
Novak has a diverse background of education and experience, having taught in alternative educational settings as well as health-related fields. She holds a master’s degree in counseling from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is also a board certified art therapist. She has taught in various community and school settings, including special needs settings. Traditional Chinese brush painting and silk painting are among her specialties.
In her recent residencies at the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute, Novak guided participants in the creation of the functional and fashionable art of Japanese silk Shibori scarves. According to Novak, participants not only enjoyed creating and wearing their scarves, but would examine the intricate Shibori patterns, much like one would tea leaves or a Rorschach test, and talk about the imagery they saw in them and how they connected to it.
SAMA Education Coordinator Jessica Campbell said the exhibition highlights the excitement and impact of the Museum’s healthcare initiative. “SAMA’s Museum/Healthcare Partnership Program is really booming this year,” she said. “We are excited to host this exhibition in partnership with Conemaugh Health System. The artistic expressions featured in this exhibition will leave you feeling inspired and wanting more.”