Artists of all disciplines abound in the region, yet their studios and galleries are scattered far and wide over this vast region.
Art shows such as the one held by the Muncy Historical Society at the Pennsdale Civic Center earlier this month bring together many artists and their appreciators in one convenient location.
This year's Regional Art Exhibition and Sale was the historical society's sixth annual show and the first to be held at the Pennsdale center.
Shows previously have been held by the society at the Geringer Social Hall in Muncy and the Clarkstown Fire Co.
"We quickly outgrew the historical society space," said Bill Bolton, the society's executive director. "This is a marvelous hall, it's large, well-lit, it has great parking and it's convenient to the beltway."
In its time, the society's show has grown in regional appeal and diversity of talent on display, Bolton said.
"We don't want to have the show get stale - we're always introducing new artists to the show, five or six this year, and we're starting to see people from all over come out," he said. "All the artists in here have a very good regional, and some a national following. We have artists from every surrounding county, and from State College, and we've had people visit from as far as Harrisburg."
Proceeds from the gate fees and commissions collected at the Art Show support the Historical Society acquiring new displays and preserving old ones and maintenance and improvements on the Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail.
"There's no fee to the artist to set up other than their time and their product," Bolton said. "We get a percentage of sales - if they sell a lot, they're happy, we're happy, and if they don't sell anything, which hasn't happened, there's no cost."
All of the labor, and the food and wine available during Friday night's "Meet the Artists" gala, was donated by Historical Society volunteers. The Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and Gary's Furniture, Picture Rocks, provided funding for the show.
"There's something about a piece that you enjoy because you bought it - I think it was Picasso who said that 'art washes away the dust of the day,' " Bolton said. "There's a creative process that I don't have, but I certainly can appreciate; some here teach, or have taught art, and they're able to tell you how they did it, so the average person can understand the process."
Bruce Storm, of Muncy, is one of those former teachers of art who showed his work at this year's exhibition. Storm taught art at Hughesville High School for many years before retiring in 1994. His work is vividly and unusually colored and full of texture from ink and watercolor, and his paintings are full of prankster dragons, householding rabbits and mischievous raccoons.
"I worked in commercial art for a while, so I think that's where some of the odd colors comes from; I like taking a specific color palette that shouldn't work and to make it work," Storm said. "I never forgot what it was like to be a child, which makes people like my work - I daydream and then I get a story to tell."
Members of the 4-H Artitude Club visited the show this year. The club meets at 6 p.m. at the James V. Brown Library on the second Thursday of each month. Club members talked with artists about style, technique and marketing their work.
"It's the only art project club in the area," said club adviser Amanda Emig. "We do fundraisers and projects every month, and it's only $10 to join for the whole year."
The exhibition showed many painters and photographers, pieces that beautify space and stoke contemplation. Others showing at the Exhibition included several jewelers, such Rick Mahonski and Suzette Mason, reflecting the area's wealth of talent in that field, and a few artists whose work has some practical function that reflects the region's rural nature.
Horner and scrimshander John DeWald, of Pennsdale, showed his intricately carved powder horns.
Michael Balzer, of Cogan Station, showed his work in wood, including an update on the rocking horse - a rocking Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
"I've had to turn one of those (motorcycles) out in three days before," Balzer said. "They take 40 or 50 hours, so that's without sleeping much - but people love those things."