Feb. 19—Lee and Wendy Matchett of Hempfield were among guests at a Feb. 11 reception at the You Are Here gallery in Jeannette.
The couple are former owners of the building that houses the gallery.
“To see this as a place for making art makes us so happy,” Wendy Matchett said.
The event celebrated a new exhibit, “Jeannette Unvarnished,” featuring images of local people and places by photographers Beth Yadamec, Steve Parsons, Candace Kubinec and Kimberly Elliott-Rentler.
Attendees munched on cookies and sipped tea from fancy china cups as Kubinec and fellow poets Tamara DiBartola, Mary Ellen Raneri, Bart Solarczyk, Don Wentworth and Milo Wolverton read poems inspired by some of the photos.
Wolverton paired a previously written poem with a sepia image of a Jeannette alleyway that was “like looking into my childhood.”
Raneri chose one of a man and small child holding hands as they walk past a boarded-up building.
“It reminded me of me and my father,” she said.
The poetry project was organized by Kubinec and Stacey Pydynkowski.
Viewers have expressed mixed feelings about the photos, said You Are Here co-founder Jen Costello. They appreciate the artistry of the images while lamenting the urban decay that many depict.
Co-founder Mary Briggs noted that the exhibit could be a rallying point.
“Let’s change (Jeannette) back — don’t just talk about it, you’ve gotta do something,” she said.
“Jeannette Unvarnished” runs through March 11 in the gallery at 406 Clay Ave. Information is available at yah406clay.org.
Seen at the reception: Sandi Parsons, Patricia Elliott-Rentler, Phil Raneri, Brandie Woodward, Dan DiBartola, Don and Marcia Gilbert, Natalie Condrac, Matt Sheets, Dawn Wallhausen, Ray Sinclair, Rhianna Rausch, Erica Benoit and Quinn Benoit.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .