“O, Appalachia: Art and Lives of Self-Taught Artists,” a documentary film produced by the Art Museum of West Virginia University, will air on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s The West Virginia Channel, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 31 at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Completed in 2015, and directed by Emmy Award-winning producer Jim Brown, the film features six self-taught Appalachian artists, who—along with several others—are part of the Art Museum’s current exhibition titled “Independent Vision: Self-taught Artists from Appalachia.”

“The documentary gives viewers a rare glimpse of these exceptional artists from Appalachia and also offers insight into the relationship between the artists and collector Ramona Lampell, who is a West Virginia native,” said Art Museum Director Joyce Ice.

“Several decades ago, Ramona and her husband Millard, a WVU graduate, began to track down self-taught artists from Appalachia who were producing works of raw power and striking originality. The collection they put together is recognized today as one of the premiere collections of its kind in the United States.”

The documentary features an interview with Ramona Lampell and visits to the artists in their studios, on their farms and in their workshops, as they talk about their art. Lampell championed their work and helped to organize many exhibitions by the artists, the most notable of which was a traveling exhibition and book titled “O, Appalachia! Artists of the Southern Mountains” (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1989).

Millard Lampell died in 1997, but Ramona, who now lives in Linden, Virginia, remains passionate about this art today and about sharing it with the people of West Virginia and region.

“Independent Vision: Self-Taught Artists from Appalachia,” organized by Art Museum of WVU Curator Robert Bridges, is on view at the Art Museum through December 15, 2016.

“In completing this documentary project, the Art Museum of WVU has produced an important educational resource that highlights the amazing work of self-taught artists in West Virginia as well as in other parts of Appalachia,” Bridges said. “It blends footage shot

more than 20 years ago with recent interviews and photography to capture the essence of these remarkable people, their impact and their lasting legacy.”

The documentary was made possible by a Media Grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council, with additional funding by the Friends of the Art Museum of WVU, Helen Bing, and the Myers Foundations.

For more information about the Appalachian self-taught artists exhibition or the documentary airing on West Virginia Public Television, contact the Art Museum of WVU at 304.292.4359.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, Art Museum of WVU
Charlene.Lattea@mail.wvu.edu, 304.293.4359

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