Art of sharing

Oviatts’ Art Show opens Thursday at Wilder Museum

Photos submitted to Times Observer Greetings from Egypt photo.

You are invited to the opening of the Oviatts’ Art Show at the Wilder Museum on Thursday, Aug. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Keith and Joanne Oviatt are local artisans and talented individuals who enjoy different forms of art.

Keith has been interested in photography since his preteen years, starting with a Kodak Brownie and progressing to 35mm and, later, going digital. While in high school, he had his own darkroom and developed film for his neighbors. Keith has also expanded into woodworking, while Joanne does more painting and sculpting, including gourds.

Joanne’s interest in turning gourds into art began when she was a teacher, wanting to explore art using unique sources. So began their learning curve in growing, drying, and cleaning gourds for student use. Each gourd is different, and she began to see the many possibilities that gourds provide. She is excited about including her new collection of nature’s little gems in this exhibit.

The couple often enjoyed traveling and exploring local areas to find hidden treasures, like a covered bridge, driftwood at the lake, or waterfalls, as young adults. Joanne would sketch what they saw, and Keith would take pictures. Later in life, they would take their children camping all over this beautiful county doing the same. Learning about the environment and different cultures as a family has been a high point in their life. Of course, throughout their travels, there were more photos and more sketches — many, many more.

Photos submitted to Times Observer Lilly Blossom Gourd.

After retiring from teaching, Keith and Joanne continue to pursue hobbies that include art, aspiring to have an exhibition that would show Keith’s photographs and Joanne’s sketches and paintings together. The Oviatts’ Art Show at the Wilder Museum will do just that, as displays include comparisons of photos and paintings/sketches, gourd sculptures, and more. With both being volunteers at the Wilder Museum in Irvine, it was a great match.

On the show’s opening night, Aug. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m., Keith and Joanne will share their artwork with all who join them. This opening evening includes free admission and is open to the public.

The Wilder Museum is located at 51 Erie Avenue, Irvine. Regular museum hours are Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. between May 15 and October 6. The Oviatts’ art will be displayed until September 28.

For more information, call (814) 723-1795 or visit