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Westmont arts center to host Somerset woodcarvings

Our Town Correspondent

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County’s latest exhibit features work from woodcarvers living and working in Somerset County.

“Cut Above the Rest” opens inside the nonprofit arts center’s Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center gallery on Aug. 6, with a reception to be held that afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. This exhibit showcases artwork from members of Somerset County Woodcarvers, a group that meets weekly to enjoy each other’s company and conversation while they create new pieces of artwork. 

The carvers and whittlers also take pride in learning from one another. Approximately 10 members currently participate in the group, and anyone interested in joining can contact the arts center for more information.
The woodcarvers meet Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. at Laurel Arts in Somerset.

“The carvers are a great group of people,” arts center Executive Director Angela Godin said. “They absolutely love what they do and are very enthusiastic about teaching and learning. Their process isn’t a heavily structured class . . . they learn from one another’s skills and/or discoveries.”

The woodcarvers use a variety of wood, including basswood, linden, cherry, mahogany and walnut to create their artwork. Each woodcarver within the group has his own style, making the pieces — and exhibit overall — diverse. Viewers can expect to see tiny pieces as well as larger pieces, and all are intricately carved. A few group members have even learned how to carve cherry seeds.

Godin said that sometimes people consider woodcarving a lost art, but this exhibit proves that woodcarving is alive and well within this area.

“It’s nice to see that this group is going strong,” Godin said. “I’m incredibly impressed by their talents and their patience because woodcarving is such a commitment. The artwork doesn’t come in a day.”

Godin said that all the members of the group are not only passionate about what they do, but also jovial.

“They’re a bunch of fun jokesters who really have a great time and are great at what they do,” she said. “The pieces they’re bringing to this exhibit are going to be so unique. This is yet another exhibit we’re proud to offer the community.”

The opening reception for “Cut Above the Rest” will celebrate the woodcarvers’ dedication to their craft. Beginning at 2 p.m., a few of them will demonstrate their techniques, and then audience members can participate in a question and answer session immediately thereafter.

“I want people to experience what exactly woodcarving entails,” Godin said. “When you see the process, you appreciate it so much more. It’s easy to forget that there’s a big process that involves getting to that finished piece.”

“Cut Above the Rest” will continue through Aug. 27, and is free and open to the public during gallery hours, which are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

“The community is in for a real delight with this exhibition,” Godin said.

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County is located in the Westmont section of Johnstown at 1217 Menoher Blvd.

For more information about this exhibit, the opening reception, or details on how to join the Somerset County Woodcarvers, call 814-255-6515 or visit the arts center’s official website at www.caccc.org.