Ventures in Art Exhibit




West Plains Council on the Arts (WPCA) will host a mixed-media exhibition of pieces produced by the Ventures In Art group of West Plains. The exhibit will be displayed at the Gallery at the Center, West Plains Civic Center from September 11 – 29, 2017.  The Gallery, on the mezzanine, is open to the public during regular Civic Center hours.


The “Ventures In Art” group mission is to encourage and support members in their artistic interests. The group meets weekly to discipline themselves to paint on a regular basis, and presents a monthly art activity geared toward developing skills.


Membership is open to those interested in developing their artistic skills in a social setting. They meet Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to noon at the First Christian Church, 422 West Main Street in West Plains, MO.  Contact Karen Canby via for more information.


Artists who will be participating in this exhibit include:

Connie Benson                                 Robert Moore

Karen Canby                                     Judy Norton

Carolyn Forman                               Barbara Robinette

Joyce France                                     Sandra Shackelford

Joyce Heddy                                     Kathy Schloss

Angelika Hughes                              Patricia Thompson

Coleen Latta                                     Velma Wilson


Connie Benson – Benson started painting 35+ years ago when, on a whim, she answered an ad which simply said, “Art classes, call ….”  She says she was never interested in art and knew absolutely nothing but stepped out of her comfort zone and has never regretted it.  “The class turned out to be watercolor and I started on the most fascinating, challenging, and satisfying journey in my life,” she says. She especially enjoys painting animals, and is learning more about painting waterscapes.  Also a poet, she sometimes finds that the poem inspires a painting or likewise the painting inspires a poem.  She has tried other mediums, but always come back to watercolor.  Benson says, “Painting is my enjoyment and my relaxation.  It surprises me at every turn.  Art has been a blessing to me and the friends I’ve made share what they know, I share what I know, and we all laugh and learn from each other.”


Karen Canby – Canby enjoys being creative, using multiple media. She has expanded her interest in arts from an initial art class in California, and has participated with art groups in the West Plains area. She enrolled in art classes at MSU West Plains, and gained much more knowledge and experience from Wendy Zeigler’s classes.  She says, “It has been a slow process for me, but I am learning to use watercolor for paintings.  Being a member of Ventures In Art has given me the opportunity to associate with many other artists in this area.  It is a joy to interact with people who enjoy the creativity of art and to become friends with them.  Art has many dimensions of expression that are continually a new discovery for those who participate in the adventure.  Ventures In Art is a group that encourages this learning process at any level the artist may be . . . whether a beginner or one who has much experience as an artist.”


Carolyn Forman and Patricia Thompson are sisters and joined the Ventures in Art group because of their desire to participate in art activities in a social setting.  They are quick learners and have especially enjoyed the watercolor lessons.


Joyce France – Always an art lover, now a creator, France works in oil and pencil.  Her style is in the evolving stage as she experiments with different methods.  The Ventures in Art group has inspired her to go beyond self-imposed borders.


Joyce Heddy – Heddy always had a love for art. After she retired. she joined a small art group being taught by professional local artist Regina Willard.  Joyce is basically a self-taught artist, and loves art, nature and animals. She says, “Being able to paint in the open air with all its natural light and beauty, makes a painting come together in perfect harmony.”


Angelika Hughes – Hughes has always been creative.  Her mother said that all she had to bring when taking her to some appointment was a scissor and a couple of magazines.  She would sit for hours cutting out the tiniest fingers and other details.  Back home she’d often glue them onto paper.  In her later years she studied “Art-Therapy,” the purpose being to bring healing to people without the use of prescription drugs.  She has also pursued sculpting.  Watercolors have been her joy throughout her life and she is rediscovering painting during her “older years.”


Coleen Latta – Latta is a Certified Therapeutic Art Facilitator from Southern California who recently moved to West Plains. She has worked with US Marines who returned from the War in Afghanistan. She has also facilitated Art4healing in women’s domestic violence shelters, with children in poverty, and with adults and children in bereavement. The Art4healing methods help those who are hurting express themselves with color and paint when they cannot find the words. She also loves to paint with acrylic using various mediums of texture.


Robert Moore – Moore is a native of the Ozarks Mountain region and has worked with pencil and oils as an artist.  He concentrates on landscapes of his beloved Ozarks and attempts to convey his own emotional responses through his paintings.


Judy Norton – Norton attended an art class while in Texas as a “Snow Bird,” and enjoys watercolors the most.  She began painting 30 years ago while recovering from surgery, and says it has taken years to semi-master the art.


Barbara Robinette –  For many years Barbara Robinette has appreciated increasingly the charm of a good watercolor painting.  She dibble-dabbled in watercolors for fun giving them away as greeting cards and bookmarks to family and friends, but she realized she didn’t know much about the art and that her paintings could be much better.  She decided to seriously study and practice watercolors and then joined Ventures in Art.


Sandra Shackelford – Shackelford comes from a family of artists, but only recently became interested in pursuing the arts herself. Four years ago Sandra began wood carving.   When she had the need to paint her carvings, she was encouraged to join the Ventures in Art group to seek the help she needed.


Kathy Schloss –  In December of 2016, Schloss learned from a friend how to do watercolor painting in a workshop, and twenty years ago, took a short course on basic drawing.  Recently she has tried her hand at acrylics, but is most comfortable presently using watercolor.


Patricia Thompson and Carolyn Forman are sisters and joined the Ventures in Art group because of their desire to participate in art activities in a social setting.  They are quick learners and have especially enjoyed the watercolor lessons.


Velma Wilson – Wilson has always been interested in art and has taken advantage of classes from time to time.  Since retirement, she has become more active with her art.  She enjoys working with all mediums, but her favorite is oils. Wilson’s ambition is not to become an award-winning artist but to pass on her love of art and her joy of being creative as an artist to her grandchildren one day.


WPCA will host an Exhibit Reception on Thursday, September 21, from 5-7 p.m., in the Gallery at the Center, during the opening reception for the Ozarks Studies Symposium.  All are invited to attend, view and discuss these wonderful pieces.  The exhibit is co-sponsored by the West Plains Civic Center and West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding provided by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.