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West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History to present Jude Binder exhibition and the premiere of her film “Field of Flowers” on Nov. 18 2006

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History will open a new exhibit, Moving Wood,by Calhoun County artist Jude Binder, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. Binder also will present a talk and the premiere of her film “Field of Flowers” as part of the Division’s continuing Cultural Heritage Lecture Series. A reception with music by jazz guitarist Ryan Kennedy of South Charleston will follow. The evening’s activities are free and open to the public.

The exhibition will be on display in the Balcony Gallery through Jan. 7.

Works include wood sculpture pieces, tarlatan and wood masks, woodcuts, etchings, and colored pencil, and pen and ink drawings. Several of the drawings have an intimate relationship to the film she is premiering and can be seen in the video production.

“Field of Flowers” is an artistic production which addresses domestic violence and can be used as an educational and initiative-building tool. It was a collaborative project of Heartwood in the Hills, Binder and the West Virginia Coalition against Domestic Violence. After receiving a grant from the Benedum Foundation, Binder spent the summer of 1996 traveling to shelters across West Virginia, listening to people talk in group sessions. “After hearing many women and children tell the same stories with the same recurring themes of power, control, fear, shame, anger and guilt, I knew that I must center ‘Field of Flowers’ on the women and children who have lived with cyclical batterers and on these men themselves,” said Binder.

Binder worked on the film for 11 years. It includes music by Dunbar gospel singer Ethel Caffie-Austin and composer David Wall. Much of the action is done with puppets, shadows, masks and dances which Binder created from the mental images given to her by the men, women and children she talked to in group sessions and in shelters.

Binder moved to Calhoun County in 1973 with the intention of establishing a school for the arts in the heart of the country. She wanted to provide an under-served rural population with an environment for learning, healing, personal growth and community building. In 1982, Binder and co-founder Frank Venezia built Heartwood in the Hills’ first structure and the school has been growing ever since. The school provides children and adults, ages five through 75, with the opportunities and resources to develop cognitive and creative skills, self-confidence, and self-expression through the arts. Binder serves as artistic director and teaches many of the classes.

Binder has been teaching classes in classical ballet technique since 1958 when she was 16 years old. She attended the Washington School of Ballet, Washington, D.C.; John Hines School of Afro-Cuban Dance, Philadelphia, Pa.; School of American Ballet, New York, N.Y.; Austin Ballet Theatre School, Austin, Texas; and School for Movement Theatre, Elkins, W.Va.; and Philadelphia, Pa.; among others.

In 1954, Binder began taking watercolor and drawing classes at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Later, she enrolled as a full-time student at the Pennnsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, majoring in painting and printmaking. In 1975 Binder began to carve wood. She says, “Figure in wood intrigues and entices me. There’s so much movement. I love to follow along.”

Theater has also played a big part in Binder’s life. She says, “I began staging plays as soon as I was old enough to start bossing people around.” She studied mask-making with Paule Stein at the School for Movement Theatre and learned to make masks out of tarlatan, a thin, stiff muslin fabric, and has been using it since 1984.

Binder’s wood carvings have received a number of awards including a Merit Award and a Governor’s Award in the West Virginia Juried Exhibition at the Cultural Center and a Juror’s Award in the Crosscurrents 1982 exhibit in wood carving at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. In addition, she received a Media Grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council for the theater project “Broken Bough,” and received the Outstanding Contribution to Theater in West Virginia Award from the West Virginia Theatre Conference. She also was the recipient of the 1996 annual “Celebrate Women Award” in art from the West Virginia Women’s Commission.

At the beginning of the evening’s program, in recognition of Binder’s achievements, Kay Goodwin, cabinet secretary of the Department of Arts, Culture and History, will present Binder with the Secretary’s Star Award for her lifelong commitment to arts and education.

For more information about the exhibit or film premiere, contact Stephanie Lilly, exhibits coordinator for the Division, at (304) 558-0220, ext. 128.

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Department of Arts, Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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MEDIA NOTE: Jude Binder can be reached at Heartwood in the Hills at (304) 354-7874 or by e-mail at [email protected] Photographs of her work can be downloaded from our website at

To download print-quality photo, right-click the link and select Save As.

Mother Jones
by Jude Binder

Autumn Hare
by Jude Binder and Norm Sartorius

Rosewood Mare
by Jude Binder

Totem Mask
by Jude Binder



Ginny Painter
Director of Public Information
West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
Phone (304) 558-0220
Fax (304) 558-2779
[email protected]