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Cultural Center to celebrate FestivAll Charleston with art activities June 25


The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History will join in the celebration of FestivAll Charleston with art programs on June 25 at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The day’s activities, which include movies, a drumming demonstration with audience participation, hands-on arts stations, and an open mic guitar night, are free and open to the public.

The Division’s continuing movie series will feature The Neverending Story (1984, 92 minutes), directed by Wolfgang Peterson (Das Boot), at 1 and 4 p.m. Barret Oliver plays a lonely, dreamy kid who misses his dead mother. While hiding out in a store to avoid some bullies from his school, he picks up a book and begins reading a tale about Fantasia, a land where a dreadful force called The Nothing is destroying the country. As he’s reading the story, the boy realizes he is the only one who can save Fantasia and magically, he enters the story. By becoming part of this adventure, the boy is given the self-confidence he needs when he returns to the real world. The film has an imaginative premise and features some interesting characters, including a “rockbiter” and a dragon.

Afternoon art activities from 1 - 5 p.m. are geared for children, but visitors of all ages are invited to participate. Mark Davis, musician and educator, will lead participants in a “Different Drums” program. Davis will bring his collection of drums from various countries, share their history, demonstrate different drumming techniques and invite visitors to play them. One of West Virginia’s most talented musicians, Davis was the drummer for the Charleston alternative rock band Crazy Jane for eight years. Currently he plays with the VooDoo Katz, the Montaneros and Comparsa.

Davis, of Charleston, is a native West Virginian and graduate of West Virginia University (WVU) where he majored in voice and was a member of the highly acclaimed WVU African Drum and Dance Ensemble. He has studied at the African International Center of Music and Dance, University of Ghana in West Africa. His travels to Africa have made his love for drumming a lifelong passion. In addition to his work with bands, Davis teaches music full time at Elk Elementary Center.

Artist and educator Caryl Toth will set up three art stations in the Great Hall and invite visitors to create their own works of art. Participants will be able to try their hand at simple printmaking, sponge stamping and mixed media projects. A skilled artist for more than 30 years, Toth has had solo exhibitions at The Art Store, Charleston; University of Charleston; Maxine Gold Gallery, Mill Valley, Calif.; and Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, Del., among others. Her work has been in juried exhibitions nationwide and won awards at the West Virginia Juried Exhibition at the Cultural Center; Crosscurrents at the Stifel Fine Arts Center, Wheeling; Allied Artists of West Virginia Annual Exhibition, Charleston; and at the Print, Painting and Drawing Exhibition at the Parkersburg Arts Center, to name a few. Her work is included in numerous collections including The South Bank Corporation, Miami, Fla.; the First Huntington National Bank, Huntington; Museum in the Community, Hurricane; and many more.

In addition to her art, Toth, of Hurricane, taught for more than 25 years. From 1980 - 2002 she was teacher for the artistically gifted in Putnam County Schools, earning a Teacher of the Year Award in Putnam County in 1982. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marshall University.

An open mic guitar night for songwriters and acoustic guitarists will wrap up the day’s activities at 7 p.m. in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater. Ron Sowell of Elkview will emcee the evening event. Participants in the open mic session will perform one song, which must be original music. Instruments are limited to acoustic guitars, and those competing may have one accompanist. Prizes will be awarded in a children’s category as well as an adult category.

Sowell, best known for his role as the musical director of the internationally acclaimed public radio show, Mountain Stage, is also a singer, songwriter, guitarist, performer and producer. In 1992 he released his first solo CD, Oil and Water, featuring 10 original compositions. The songs range from humorous to socially conscious. Sowell has also played in numerous bands including The Putnam County Pickers and Stark Raven.

For more information about FestivAll Charleston activities at the Cultural Center, contact Jeff Pierson, individual artist coordinator for the Division, at (304) 558-0240, ext. 717, or by e-mail at [email protected]

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.