If you ask Liz Simmons the Linda Nochlin-esque question “Why are there no great West Virginia artists?,” she’s prepared with a reply.
“Of course there are, but you just don’t know them,” notes Simmons, curator of art and engagement for the Juliet Art Museum at Clay Center in Charleston, West Virginia. “There’s great stuff happening in the middle between the two coasts, too.”
In some ways, Simmons understands why it’s tough to get the word out about West Virginia’s artists. The state’s population (1.8 million) is small, as is its tourism industry compared to some larger destinations — and West Virginia is just one of many regions overlooked in a crowded art field. But she asserts that the quality of art in her home state deserves attention, and emphasizes the wide diversity across the region in the field — and in the people.