Local art group brightens the world with color

In the Weller Gallery Show at Mills Creek MetroParks, the Mahoning Valley Watercolor Society is presenting its artwork in an exhibit called ‘A Splash of Color.’

By Jessica Stamp

At Mill Creek MetroParks, the Mahoning Valley Watercolor Society is displaying local artists’ artwork in the Weller Gallery Show. 

The exhibit is called “A Splash of Color,” and the members of MVWS were given free range to paint whatever they had in mind. The point of the display is to brighten up the world with color because of the pandemic and hardships people in the Mahoning Valley are going through.

“Right now, when the world is so dark, what we need more than anything is creativity,” Elizabeth Ford, co-president of the MVWS, said. “I think the name of the show says it all, ‘A Splash of Color’… we’re just hoping to put a little more joy into the world.”

The exhibit will showcase 31 artists who used watercolor, plein air watercolor, acrylic and alcohol ink.  

Noreen Yazvac, co-president of the MVWS, used to work at Youngstown State University at the Center for Student Progress. She believes the MVWS is a way for members to calmly express themselves through artwork in a world that currently seems chaotic. 

“What we bring to the community in the way of art is very meaningful as well because right now — especially during this time of COVID — we’re in this period of stress and so much unrest in society,” Yazvac said. 

She said she has done research on serotonin levels in the human brain and has found that, like with chocolate and being in love, creating art after a stressful day can help people relax and increase serotonin levels. 

“It seems that artwork is a way to calm people down and help them relax,” Yazvac said. 

MVWS began 40 years ago in 1982 and had 11 members. Now the group has about 70 members and is hoping younger artists join. 

“The nice thing about our group is anyone can join,” Ford said. “There are people who have shown their paintings at international shows and there are beginners too, so it’s a wide range… we’re always looking for younger members.”

Yazvac added that the MVWS wants to bring in more young artists since they are important as future artists in the community. 

Ford recommends checking out a painting by one of the original members of the group, Mary Kay D’lsa.

“When you go to the show, walk out the far door and go around the corner and you’ll see a painting by one of the original members of the group who’s no longer with us anymore, but her paintings have been hanging there at Mill Creek for probably 20 years,” Ford said.

Ford took a watercolor course at YSU about 12 years ago and found the students in the course to be talented. She also thought the course helped show what an amazing hobby watercoloring can be.

“There’s something very satisfying about using water, paint and a brush and paper to create something, so it’s a wonderful medium,” Ford said. 

The exhibit is free and will be displayed until April 17. It is located at the Fellows Riverside Garden, inside the Davis Center and in the Weller Gallery Show. 

For more information about the Mahoning Valley Watercolor Society, call Elizabeth Ford at 330-314-4700 or Noreen Yazvac at 330-509-1363.