SHEN_MOCHA

From left, Porter Gaier, development and special events coordinator at the Shenandoah Museum of Contemporary Arts, director and chief curator Rupert Ravens and assistant manager Kirslyn Schell-Smith stand amid artwork by Kris Viemeister and Leigh Henry at the museum in Strasburg.

STRASBURG — The Shenandoah Museum of Contemporary Arts will host its first new exhibit of the year on Saturday.

Titled “Winter Moon Festival: A Celestial Celebration,” the exhibit will feature paintings, sculptures and other works of art from 27 local and national artists. Rupert Ravens, who serves as the founder, director and chief curator of the museum, said this will be the first exhibition that is focused on bringing in local artists.

“I would like one show a year dedicated to discovering and finding local artists that we don’t know about yet,” Ravens said. “I wanted to give them an opportunity and a venue to exhibit their work and help in the development of their careers.”

Ravens said that the show, which is open through Feb. 23, will also bring together local artists Jim Costello and Tim Maloney.

“The two of them are old buddies, and this is the first show that they have been in together in quite a few years,” Ravens said. “They both went to graduate school at Notre Dame, so they’re longtime friends and some incredible creative individuals.”

Ravens said that the idea for the exhibit came from the sky itself.

“A lot of our society spends their time looking down and we neglect looking up in the sky,” he said. “I wanted to encourage people to look at the celestial artwork above them, which includes the moon. The moon has all the different phases, and when it’s full, there’s an exhilarating feeling and brings out the craziness. I want to inspire people to look up at the heavens.”

The exhibit will kick-off with an opening reception from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The Strasburg Witchy Dancing Queens will perform at the reception.

The museum will also host a Valentine’s Day Soiree from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 14 The event will feature music, dancers and performers. Ravens said he hopes couples will come out for the event.

“It’s going to be a real experience,” he said.

The admission for the events is free.

For more information on the museum and the new exhibit, visit www.shenmoca.org.

Contact Donald Lambert at dlambert@nvdaily.com