The saying goes, "Those can, do. Those who can't, teach."
In its new exhibition, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona proves that this old adage is just plain wrong.
SAMA shows off the talents of regional artists who have taken part in the museum's Artist-in-Residence program in the exhibit "Rostered Artists Revealed," which opens April 26 and will remain on view through Aug. 10.
“Feathered Fantasy” (2011), a paper work by Kathy Trexel Reed
“Merging” (2012), an acrylic on canvas painting by Martha McKinley Murphy
"It's a nice way to showcase our artists' talent," said SAMA Education Coordinator Jessica Campbell.
"Typically, they're in the schools, working with the students and doing group projects. This is a nice opportunity to show their own personal work. This is just a nice 'thank you' for all the work they've done."
The "Rostered Artists Revealed" exhibit features 38 works in a variety of mediums from 16 artists who have worked with the Artist-in-Residence group.
If you go
What: "Rostered Artists Revealed"
When: April 26 through Aug. 10
Where: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona, 1210 11th Ave., Altoona
Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday
SAMA-Altoona will host a Blue Monday reception for the exhibit from 6 to 8 p.m. May 20, featuring the music of Stormy. Tickets are $20 per person. There will be a Lunch a l'Art program at noon July 25 featuring rostered artists Jan Kinney and Ann Van Kuren. Tickets are $13 or $12 for SAMA members. Reservations can be made for both events by calling 946-7466
The Artist-in-Residence program - which SAMA has organized through its partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for the past 15 years - is described in a SAMA release as sending its roster of artists to "local public and private schools for residencies designed to provide students an opportunity to work directly with professional artists in a student/mentor relationship with mutual involvement in the creative process."
The artists - SAMA has 22 on its roster for the 2012-2013 school year - spend a minimum of 20 days in a school in the six-county coverage area of the program. The six counties are Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland.
"They do demonstrations, but they also work hands-on with a core group of students," Campbell said. "I have some artists have been with us for 15 years, and I have some artists who have been with us for six months.
"It's not necessarily an easy job to do."
One of the artists who has been a mainstay of the program is Martha Murphy
"I've been with SAMA, I think, for 15 years," the 48-year-old metalworker, sculptor and painter said. "I've done probably 120 residencies. I'm very lucky in that respect; I usually get between eight and 10 residencies a year."
Murphy says she'll teach the kids in whatever medium the school prefers.
"It really varies with every school," she explained. "I've gone into schools with absolutely no art programs, which I think is just criminal. ... I usually try to formulate myself into the curriculum. Most of the schools want that; they don't want something that doesn't fit into their curriculum."
Murphy - a professional artist since 1992 who has her own business, Waking Bear Studio - says she spends a lot more time in the schools than the required minimum of four hours per day. She works hard because so many of the children she works with have no "hands-on experience" with art.
"It is extremely rewarding," she said. "It's just amazing to me [within] how many kids you can see a lightbulb turn on. I always leave with new ideas, new concepts, new success stories. To me, my main goal is to see self-esteem for these kids."
The SAMA-Altoona exhibit is a nice perk to Murphy, who frequently exhibits at ARTWORKS in Johnstown.
"I think it's fantastic," she said. "I think a lot of people assume that we're just teaching artists, that we go home and we do nothing. ... Some of the artists, I had no idea the type of work that they do personally."
The site coordinator for SAMA-Altoona, Barbara Hollander, has a unique perspective on the Artist-in-Residence program - she used to run it.
"I think that the opportunity for students and teachers to have a teaching artist in their classroom is invaluable," she said. "The schools have to scramble for the funding - we give them a matching grant. That's how you see that it's working, that they want us back year after year."
Hollander said she's glad that the "Rostered Artists Revealed" exhibit will show off the talents of those involved.
"I think they deserve [the exhibit]," she said. "These artists may not be getting the credit that they're due because they're out in the trenches.
"Being a teaching artist, it's a noble profession."
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.