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Remembering Altoona artist Jory Albright

A man of imagination, Jory C. Albright captured the attention of art lovers in his native Altoona with serious and whimsical scenes he painted in oils that have been exhibited from New York City to Pittsburgh.

The self-taught artist, who worked briefly for the Pennsylvania Railroad before he began painting full-time in 1973, died last Thursday at UPMC Altoona after a short battle with liver cancer, according to his sister, Starr Cunningham. He was 65.

“Our region has lost a great artist and many of us, myself included, have lost a great friend,” said Barbara Hollander, coordinator of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona.

“No one can ever replace Jory, and my life is brightened by having known him.”

Albright was working on his art up until the very end, Cunningham said. He had just finished a piece that he had intended to submit for juried review at the Blair County Arts Festival to be held in the spring. Cunningham had the piece framed and on display at the funeral service on Sunday.

“A lot of people called his work folk art, but he also loved New York,” Cunningham said.

For a time in the 1990s, he had an agent and an exhibition in the Locus Gallery in New York City. His sister said he frequently took the train to the city to paint for a few days.

“I love painting New York City,” Albright told the Altoona Mirror in 2009 when his show, “Mindful Travels,” was at SAMA-Altoona.

“I like the idea of landscapes and cityscapes with people.”

In addition to SAMA-Altoona and the Locus, his resume included SAMA-

Loretto, the Blair County Arts Festival, Mountain Top Art Gallery, Altoona Area Public Library and Pittsburgh Art Center.

His art is in the permanent collections of SAMA, the Railroaders Memorial Museum and Mount Aloysius College, and he was also a member of Art in Common.

Altoona art collector John Orr, who owns several of Albright’s works, described his late friend and his art as eccentric.

“His works had an individual quality that for me defined real, creative art,” Orr said.

A graduate of Altoona High School, Albright was the son of the late Albert C. and Aldine L. (Hoover) Albright, and Cunningham is his sole surviving family member.

Mirror Staff Writer Cherie Hicks is at 949-7030.

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