WEIRTON - The influence one high school art teacher had over several generations could be found at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center Saturday during the fourth-annual Robert Haworth Memorial Art Exhibition.
Haworth was an art teacher at Weir High School from 1932 and 1969. Over the years, many of his students were recognized through national art competitions, and Haworth, himself, became known for his own work, which includes a mural painted at the Swaney Memorial Library.
Dr. Ray Greco, who chairs the art show, said over the years, as he was making house calls and speaking with patients, he began to see a variety of artwork produced by Weirton residents.
He later found many of them were taught by Haworth and wanted to find a way to pay tribute.
"My fascination wasn't so much with the art, it was this particular person," Greco said.
Pam Makricosta, also a member of the art exhibition committee, said Greco initially was able to find about 20 of Haworth's students, but in the last few years, the list has grown exponentially.
Mary Ann June was the featured artist of the fourth-annual Robert Haworth Memorial Art Exhibition. June was a sophomore during Haworth's final year of teaching in 1969. Much of her art work has been turned into prints, figurines, cards and other products. -- Craig Howell
"Every year, people come to this event and they say 'he was my teacher too,'" she said.
This year's featured artist was Mary Ann June, a 1971 Weir High graduate who was taught by Haworth during his final year at the school. June recalled how Haworth told her she would one day be a published artist.
"At that time I thought he was just being kind," June said.
June's artistic talent began in grade school as she started sketching various musicians and other popular figures of the time. She won her first art contest in junior high for designing the poster for a production of "The King and I."
Today, many pieces of her artwork have been turned into prints, figurines, holiday cards, ornaments, wallpaper and other products.
She currently is trying to locate a photograph of the old Colliers train station for a commissioned piece.
June said she wishes Haworth was still alive and could see her work, as well as the work of his other students who have carried on his teachings over the years.
"He will forever be remembered as the favorite art teacher at Weir High," June said.
In addition to June's work, the art of several other of Haworth's former students, including Bill Ameredes, Dan Lalich, Herman Capito and Anthony Selletti, were on display, as well as some of the community's younger artists, like Christina Angelo and Ashley Babinshok.
(Howell can be contacted at email@example.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)