Verve Vertu Exhibit at Misericordia University to Open

The Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University, the Verve Vertu Art Studio, the Misericordia Student Occupational Therapy Association (MSOTA) and the university’s Department of Occupational Therapy are hosting, “Whimsy & Wonder,” an evening of art, film and music to benefit the Verve Vertu Art Studio on Friday, April 6.

The event begins with the screening of the film, “I’m An Artist,” at 6 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall on campus. “I’m An Artist” is a film about students with learning disabilities at special needs schools who achieve confidence, positive reinforcement and hope through their schools’ art programs. The documentary provides a glimpse into the challenges children with learning disabilities face. The unwavering enthusiasm of one school’s art teacher shows that students with learning and emotional disabilities can achieve more growth than most people believe possible.

Following the film, there will be the opening reception for the “Whimsy & Wonder” exhibit on display April 6 through June 2 in the Friedman Art Gallery. The exhibit features works by the students of Verve Vertu Art Studio, 24 Main St., Dallas Borough. Verve Vertu is a community art center of the Deutsch Institute, and provides recreational and leisurely activities to people with special needs, as well as art classes for members of the community. The studio enables the artists to tap into their creativity using a wide range of mediums, including watercolors, acrylics, fibers, batik, wool needle felting and inks. Gwen Harleman is the director of the Verve Vertu program.

MSOTA is hosting the event as a benefit in support of Verve Vertu. Verve Vertu is an affiliate of Misericordia University, and numerous occupational therapy students volunteer at the center to provide therapy to the artists and in turn, have an opportunity to learn about the challenges artists and others with disabilities face.

Donations will be accepted at the door. Verve Vertu will use the proceeds from the event to purchase art and studio supplies, such as paint, brushes, ink, canvas and fabrics, along with a variety of other artist’s tools and media.

In addition, the Ranch Wagon restaurant, 2043 N. Memorial Highway, Shavertown, known for its made-to-order foot long hot dogs, is supporting the project by selling a $10 voucher to customers. The voucher can be exchanged for $10 worth of food and beverages at the restaurant and can be used for admission into the “Whimsy & Wonder” event, according to Ranch Wagon owners Allen and Barbara Roberts, For each voucher sold, Ranch Wagon will donate $2 to the Verve Vertu project. Vouchers are available at the restaurant and at the Verve Vertu Art Studio.

Thirty-three Verve Vertu artists will have their works on display during the exhibition. They are: Ann Marie Alfano, Larksville; Victoria Brown, Swoyersville; Patrick Cleary, Dallas; April Cross, Edwardsville; Monique Dennis, Exeter; Eric Dodson, Wilkes-Barre; Erin Dougherty, Dallas; Mary Jo Evans, Wyoming; Carol Fulkersin, Tunkhannock; Jeanie Hammerbacher, Wilkes-Barre; Michael Hungarter, Kingston; Eamon Klinges, Wilkes-Barre; Shaun Lambert, Pittston; Kim Martin, Wilkes-Barre; Richie Morgan, Dallas; Joe Pascoe, Tunkhannock; Charles Pelton, Tunkhannock; Sherry Pudim, Exeter; Desiree Reed, Wyoming;  Kasey Riley, Plains; Christine Ruda, Hanover Township; Molly Schappert, Kingston; Josh Schlegel, Hanover Township; Nancy Search, Sweet Valley; Christine Snedeker, Wyoming; Billy Sukus, Dallas; Elizabeth Thomas, Forty Fort; Tracy Tribendis, Wilkes-Barre; Karen Trzcinski, Wilkes-Barre; Michael Turell, Sweet Valley; Selena Waters, Clarks Summit; Christopher Welgosh, Wapwallopen, and Edward Zebrowski, Wilkes-Barre.

Beyond Harmony, the Misericordia University a capella group, will perform during the reception, as will Zebrowski, who will perform on the piano.

The Friedman Art Gallery is open free to the public. The gallery is closed Mondays, all university holidays, and during any inclement weather delays or closings at the university. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

For additional information about the benefit, please contact Gwen Harleman at the Verve Vertu Art Studio at (570) 675-1465. For more information about the Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University, please call Lalaine Little, director, at (570) 674-6250 or visit

Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 56 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full- and part-time formats. Misericordia University ranks in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges. The Princeton Review recognizes MU as a 2018 Best Northeastern College and MONEY Magazine includes Misericordia in its 2017-18 “Best Colleges” list.