May 01, 2023 - May 26, 2023
  • Oglebay Institute's Towngate Theatre & Cinema
    2118 Market Street
    Wheeling, WV 26003
  • 304-242-7700
  • Hours
    Mon-Fri: 11:00am-1:00pm and during all events
  • Free Admission

Common Ground: Earthen Works by Jen Allen and Richard “Duke” Miecznikowski is on display at the Gallery at Towngate.

An artists’ reception takes place from 6-9pm Thursday, March 9. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit is part of “Ceramics Take Over Wheeling” and is on display March 3–May 26. The Gallery at Towngate is open 11am-1pm Monday through Friday and during all events.

About the Artists

Jen Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts (2002) from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and a master’s degree in fine arts (2006) from Indiana University, Bloomington. From 1998-2002, she worked as a production assistant to Kris Bliss at Bliss Pottery in Anchorage, AK. In 2008, the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts (NCECA) recognized Jennifer as an “Emerging Artist.” Among other awards, she was received the 2006-2007 Taunt Fellowship at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. In addition to keeping a home studio, Jennifer teaches ceramic classes at West Virginia University. She lives in Morgantown, WV with her husband Shoji Satake, their two kids, Annelise and Finn, and their two dogs, Billie and Ella.

Jen Allen Artist Statement
“My focus is to express sentiments of beauty and joy through tactile, handmade pots. Whether forming a vase that decorates a room or producing dinnerware that celebrates a meal, my pottery is intended to bring joy to moments of physical and psychological nourishment. As a lover of textiles and sewing, I draft two- dimensional templates to construct three- dimensional, slab-built pottery forms. Details like folds, seams, darts, pleats, tufts, and scallops relate to the craft of a seamstress. It is important that these methods of construction are evident in each finished piece as a record of process. Decorative imagery is gathered from specific textile sources created during times of optimism and progress: post WWII textiles, Arts and Crafts Era designs and Edo period kimono fabrics.  This imagery is then transferred to my pots by way of handmade stamps and/or carved imagery. Textures from the repetitive stamped patterns offer a tactile connection between the maker and the user.”

Richard “Duke” Miecznikowski, who hails from the New Kensington and Natrona Heights area, has been making pots since graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1967. Later, after graduating with a master’s degree in fine arts from the College of Ceramics, State University of New York at Alfred and widely recognized as one of the nation’s top ceramics departments, he took a teaching position at Fairmont State and Davis and Elkins colleges in West Virginia.

From 1976 to 1984, he made a living solely by making pottery at his studio in West Virginia. In 1988, he accepted a teaching position at Cal U. Through the years, Miecznikowski’s pottery has been exhibited and collected throughout the United States, including a prestigious White House commission he received during the Carter administration.

The Gallery at Towngate

Towngate Theatre is well known in Wheeling and its surrounding communities for community theater productions, children’s theater, concerts, ballet, film screenings, spoken word and other performing arts events. But did you know that Towngate is also an art gallery?

The Gallery at Towngate is a small space gallery that features the work of local and/or emerging artists and focuses on community engagement, inclusion and the mingling of visual and performing arts.

2022-23 Gallery at Towngate Exhibition Schedule:

September 9–November 20: Russ Schultz
December 1–January 15: Cheryl Ryan Harshman
January 21–February 26: West Liberty University Creative Arts Therapy Student Exhibition
March 3–May 26: Ceramic artists Jen Allen & Richard “Duke” Miecznikowski
June 2–August 7: Pamela Cooper