Exhibit features art work of Lewis Kesling

Dr. Paul Mastros, left, and Pana Mastros, right, speak with Ben Ray McQuisten Friday night during a preview reception for this year's Robert Haworth Memorial Art Exhibition. The Mastroses loaned several pieces of artwork by featured artist Lewis C. Kesling from their personal collection for this year's exhibit. McQuisten also was taught by Haworth. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — For the eighth year, the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center celebrated the artistic influence of one area educator this weekend with the annual Robert Haworth Memorial Art Exhibition.

The exhibition is held each year to pay tribute to Haworth, who taught art at Weir High School from 1932 to 1969, and to showcase the work of his students while also encouraging others to express themselves artistically.

This year’s show featured eight pieces by Lewis C. Kesling, who was born in Hollidays Cove in 1930 and died in Monterey, Calif. in 2003. The art showcased this weekend was loaned to the museum by Dr. Paul and Pana Mastros, of Steubenville, who knew Kesling and have several pieces of his artwork.

Pam Makricosta, the event coordinator, explained that while Kesling is best known for his abstracts, he painted in a variety of styles. What made Kesling even more unique, she said, was just as he was influenced by Haworth, Kesling would go on to influence the art of others, traveling the country and often teaching at universities, high schools or through various organizations.

“Wherever he went, he taught art,” Makricosta said.

Makricosta grew up in the same neighborhood as Kesling, and said she remembered him often doing sketches in his youth.

Pana Mastros noted she and her husband first met Kesling when they were purchasing their first home in Steubenville. He was initially introduced to them as an interior designer, but soon learned of his other artistic abilities, which included landscaping, painting and being a concert pianist.

“He had an enormous talent,” she said.

Paul Mastros agreed, discussing some of the work Kesling did around their home, and pointing out features of some of the paintings on display.

“Our pool had Steubenville’s first mural,” he said, explaining Kesling painted it on a nearby wall in the 1970s.

The Robert Haworth Memorial Art Exhibition was first proposed by Dr. Ray Greco, who wished to find a way to honor Haworth for his years of teaching. He and others at the museum began to search for some of Haworth’s students who might be interested in having their work showcased.

“He had a list of 16. Now, we have 64,” Makricosta said, noting each year they find more of Haworth’s students who have continued with various artistic endeavors.

Past exhibitions have featured the works of Harry Ameredes, Anthony Sellitti, Bill “Vaso” Ameredes, Mary Ann June, William Zdinak, Virgil Cantini and Herman Capito.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)