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Crago featured at exhibit

ON DISPLAY — Irene Crago stands with some of her art on display at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, Saturday, as part of the 11th-annual Robert Haworth Memorial Art Exhibit. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Irene Crago remembers Robert Haworth as a kind and encouraging teacher, who inspired her and others to pursue their own artistic abilities.

“He was the first one to show me I had talent,” Crago said.

Haworth worked to inspire his students, Crago said, noting she can’t recall ever hearing him diminish his students’ abilities or talents.

On Saturday, some of Crago’s art, along with pieces by Haworth and several other former students, were on display at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center as part of the 11th-annual Robert Haworth Memorial Art Exhibit.

Crago was selected as this year’s featured artist.

Haworth taught art in Hancock and Brooke counties from 1932 to 1969, and primarily is known for his time at Weir High School.

Crago remembered how Haworth would show the students various items and discuss their different values and aspects to encourage them to take a new viewpoint in their art.

“It is really your own interpretation,” she said.

Several of Crago’s paintings were hanging on the museum’s walls Saturday, which she noted were inspired by her family, her Polish heritage and her faith. She recalled growing up during World War II, and often praying to God for peace and safety, noting she often feels a similar sense of peace while she is painting.

“I would just go downstairs and paint and forget about everything,” Crago said.

In her painting, she says while she has tried several media, she prefers to work with oil paints as they allow her opportunities to make changes.

“It takes longer for them to dry, so you can manipulate them better,” she said.

Also among her display Saturday were game pieces, crafts and decorations she has created using drift wood and scrap items.

“I try to use what we have,” she said, noting her resourcefulness can be traced back to her youth and learning not to waste anything.

She also has tried to pass on some of those lessons and skills through her family, putting together craft activities with her children and grandchildren, as well as painting for friends and others in the community.

“It’s been really fun,” she said.

The Haworth Memorial Art Exhibit was developed by the late Dr. Ray Greco as a way to honor Haworth and the students he inspired through his teaching career.

Past featured artists have included Kathryn Wright Mortimer, Harry Ameredes, Anthony Sellitti, Bill Ameredes, Mary Ann June, William Zdinak, Virgil Cantini, Herman Capito, Lewis Kessling and Robert Watson.

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

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