Sadly, I can count the number of honest, sincere attempts to develop creative interactions between artists, in West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Ohio, let alone a wider area. There is the recently developed small press festival and publishing of Open Thread. There is the juried show at The Erie Art Museum, which allows submissions (unlike, the Associated Show which is keepin it Yinz) from within 250 miles. The Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival included a few Ohio Artists and there are occasional conferences often held in Youngstown, to which it seems nobody comes.An Urbanophile post rightly referred to Cleveland as a cultural Cul-de-sac. We know hyper local in these parts.
Ironically, it's often the little schools and more isolated communities in the region that see the point of reaching out. Ever, heard of this school? Well, I sort of have and it seems they now have a pretty good media arts program-- a medium that obviously transends normal geographic limits.
"The tenth annual West Virginia Flash Festival will take place on the campus of West Liberty University on Friday, April 23, 2010. Free Entry for students from colleges and universities throughout West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky to compete for $2,000 in cash prizes in three different categories: Animation, Electronic Music, and Video. See the Call for Entries link for more details. (now closed)
The West Virginia Flash Festival began as a class project ten years ago. Students in my Animation for the Web class worked hard to create some great animations, and we wanted to create a public venue to display their work. The event grew through the years to include college students from the states of West Virginia and our neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky. This tenth anniversary is our biggest event to date. We are bringing in some outstanding media professionals to juror the entries and to share their tips and techniques."
See the full event schedule here
Glad I'm now aware of this event!