Art Showcase Features North Market Street House Members

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The walls of the Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library’s community room came alive with paintings, sketches, photographs and art quilting created by members of the North Market Street House during the organization’s first annual art show on Thursday, Aug. 7.

Cabinets and tabletops held handmade jewelry and three-dimensional pieces. Even poetry was on display.

North Market Street House is a place for Vinton Countians recovering from mental illness to “hang out, meet friends, and feel safe,” said recreational therapist Kim Jackson.

The House, open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., has about 30 members.

The House is entirely funded by a grant from the Athens-Hocking-Vinton 317 Board. It is located next to Circle Pizza in McArthur and is administered through Integrated Services of Appalachian Ohio.

Earl Kirby, a 317 Board member, said he was pleased to visit the House’s first art exhibit.

“The art is beautiful,” he said, pointing out a pencil sketch of a bird as one of his favorites.

Bob Gallagher, Director of Community and Public Affairs for ISAO, said opportunities and help provided by the North Market Street House is beneficial because those coming out of mental health facilities can often feel isolated and adrift.

“North Market Street House serves as a peer center staffed with supportive friends where recovering people can have a snack, work on a project and sometimes go on a field trip,” Gallagher said. “It’s an important factor in keeping the recovery process moving forward.”

Linda McPherson, a lifelong McArthur resident, has attended the North Market Street House for about eight months.

“I go on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons,” she said, “and I like having someone to talk to and something to do.”

McPherson’s wire and bead jewelry was a popular purchase among visitors to the art show. All money from art purchases went directly to the artists.

A special display noted the loss of Barb Stouffer, a member of North Market Street House and a frequent library patron. Many attending the art show noted that she will be missed.

Library director Clint Walker said he was happy to use the community room to showcase the artists.

“I was eager to work with Kim Jackson and the folks from North Market Street House to present a quality display,” he said. “(The House’s members) are a natural extension of the library’s services. Many visit the library every day and attend programs like our movie nights.”