Local Artists Give Back to Allegheny River Clean-Up

From left to right, Piper VanOrd, David Snder, Wendy Bale and Bill Bale.

WARREN, Pa. – Artists Wendy and Bill Bale just finished up a unique exhibit at the Crary Art Gallery titled ‘Riparian Zone Up and Down the River Bank,’ that was more than just your typical art exhibit.

The Bale’s created a ‘zine’ with their artwork, which can be seen below that was and is still being sold for $19.99. (The online link can be found here, and there are still copies available at Allegheny Outfitters.)

And all of the profits are for a great cause, going to the Allegheny River clean-up and on Thursday, the Bales presented a check to Piper VanOrd and the Allegheny River Clean-up.

“As a companion to the show, I designed a magazine called the Riparian Zine,” Wendy Bale explained. “This has got articles in it from local people, the who’s who of people around here who know about the natural history of the area. Each of these people wrote an article for this.

“We originally were going to do a story slam, but then COVID hit and we had to change our plans. It also features my artwork and my husband Bill’s artwork that was in the show.”

So far, $706.86 has been raised.

Wendy credits her husband Bill with the idea to aid the Allegheny River Clean-up.

“We were talking about it and we’re thinking what we can do?” Wendy Bale said. “A lot of organizations were involved with this. It seemed like a perfect fit for the theme of the show. The work that we did was all celebrating the vegetated strip of land along the water which is the riparian zone. And so it focuses on all the animals and plants and scenery you get in that environment.”

And it has surpassed all expectations.

“I figured we’d get a few hundred dollars, so to be getting over $700 has been really cool,” Wendy Bale said. “Bill’s work, he does river-themed furniture, so we showed the two things together in the gallery and it was beautiful. It was a lovely show and I was really, really proud of it. We had an amazing number of people come through. Warren really came out for the show.”

It was a show two years in the making, with COVID putting a delay in it. But the Bales ultimately believe it was better because of it.

“It was a real kick,” Wendy said. “We got a chance to re-tool it a little bit and I think ultimately the show was better for it.”

And not only was the show better for it but so is the Allegheny River.

“The spirit of giving back to these waterways is what keeps us rolling year after year,” VanOrd said. “This is our 13th year of gettin’ grubby. This is just a really cool project that I felt the community should know about. Wendy and Bill both are just incredible artists. It was a really cool project to be a part of.”

VanOrd also credited David Snyder for all the work he does with the clean-up.

“David is that guy, without him there wouldn’t be a river clean-up,” VanOrd said. “We’ve got the boats and the transportation covered, but David is the man behind the curtain that really makes things happen.”