Curtain Call: The visual art of a community

By Joseph Pratt

June 2, 2014

Joseph Pratt


It is reassuring to me, as an arts writer, to walk into an art exhibit and be able to know the artist before even checking the nameplate of a piece, which I found myself doing at Cream of the Crop, the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center’s (SOMACC).

Which features the best of the best in the local visual arts scene. The gallery is so large that it encompasses three exhibit halls of juried artwork by local artists. Anyone living within an 85 mile radius of Portsmouth was eligible to submit pieces.

I’ve watched local art grow exponentially over the years, as I’ve attended the Boneyfiddle Arts Center (BAC), which I believe is an instrumental piece of local artistic talent, since they are the only gallery completely dedicated to showcasing local artisan talent all year long. However, the Cream of the Crop Gallery at SOMACC is a behemoth among local talent, displaying well over a hundred pieces of artwork. Even as an arts writer, who often visits galleries and sees a lot of different artwork, I was at a loss for words with the level of talent I saw on a community level.

Some names were new to me, but many art forms were distinct and easy to point out, art such as painters Tammy Ishmael-Eizman and Charlie Haskins or photographer Pam DeCamp. The gallery displays work all over the gamut of visual arts and uses every medium possible, from watercolor paints to 3-d sculptures.

I encourage the attendance of anyone in the community, whether you are frequent art-goer or not. I believe the museum is too good of a resource for anyone to pass up, especially with such an affordable optional donation fee to see the many galleries housed in the museum. Cream of the Crop is different from other events at the museum, too, because visitors not only support the museum but local artists.

The Southern Ohio Museum is at 825 Gallia Street, in the heart of Portsmouth’s downtown, and has two entrances. The entrance on Gallia leads to the lobby and front of the museum and the Sixth Street entrance features a handicapped ramp. The Security Central Plaza is off to the left of the front entrance and is often reserved by the museum during their functions. The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m; Closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays. Not only will the artwork of Cream of the Crop be for sale, but the museum also has their museum gift shop that is by the counter. Tours are offered by scheduling. A museum official can be reached at 740-354-5629. The museum can also be visited online at SOMACC.com or facebook.com/somacc1979.

Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.