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Cultural Momentum Times 80

April 21, 2010 - Phyllis Sigal

What an amazing weekend it was, celebrating Oglebay Institute's 80th anniversary last weekend.

From beginning (8:08 a.m. on Thursday) to end (5 p.m. Sunday), I had a blast.

Around 3,200 people participated in the events throughout the four-day cultural extravaganza. And, according to Kathleen McDermott, president of Oglebay Institute, many of those who passed through the doors were new to the institute venues, which is really great — potential new members!

About 56 activities were scheduled for the four days. I think I hit 12 of the 56 events — not bad! That's almost 25 percent, I think!

The mayor's proclamation reading, a few receptions, the mural unveiling, lunch with the arts at West Virginia Northern Community College, Towngate Theatre, Stifel Fine Arts Center activities (music, art, pottery) and the Schrader Center for the nature camp reunion ... it was practically non-stop. If I hadn't had to work or do laundry, I would've gone to even more of the events.

I especially enjoyed the nature camp reunion, seeing a few people from my OI Junior Camp and Terra Alta days ... way, way back when. And the exhibit at the Mansion Museum, "Why OI?," was very educational. I really learned a lot about the origin of Oglebay Institute. Check it out.

It was great to see all of the cooperation between the various arts and education entities in town, as well — Artworks, the Wheeling Symphony, the Arts and Culture Commission, the Wheeling Artisan Center, Wheeling Jesuit, West Virginia Northern Community College and West Liberty University.

Kathleen, her staff and everyone involved in last weekend's events deserve high praise for their creativity and hard work. And already, Kathleen is thinking about "what's next" ... how to keep this cultural momentum going.

I, for one, am really excited to see what's next. But it'll be hard to top the 80th anniversary celebration!



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