Gayheart and Eley to sign books at the Fine Arts Center

Donia Eley - Willard GayheartBy SARAH BRADBURY


Willard Gayheart, a pencil artist from southwestern Virginia, will be signing books along with Donia Eley, local researcher and writer, Sunday, May 18 at the Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley (FACNRV). Eley and Gayheart have collaborated twice now, and their new book, “New Art of Willard Gayheart” will be available for purchase and signing, along with their first book, “Willard Gayheart, Appalachian Artist,” which was published in 2003.

“New Art of Willard Gayheart” is a portfolio of 87 drawings dating from the early 1970s to the present.  The book features information about each drawing taken from interviews with the artist and the owners of the art.  The book contains information about the artist’s life and music and where his art can be found in the region.  Gayheart divides his time between art and music.

Gayheart represents Appalachia in a manner that parallel to the kindness of his nature.  Originally from eastern Kentucky, Willard lives in Woodlawn near the border of Virginia and North Carolina off Interstate 77.  Willard’s presentations of the region’s history, people and occupations, pleasures, religion, and celebrations are drawn from his own experiences as a native Appalachian.  His art has roots in his childhood, when he often drew unsuspecting classmates.  He also draws upon his memoirs of that time to help provide images for his drawings.

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