Artists celebrate Appalachian folklore with ‘Weird and Wonderful’ show at Retrotique

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia’s folklore is filled with fantastical creatures.
Grafton and Flatwoods have monsters named for the areas where they lurk. Recent video game release “Fallout 76,” based in the Mountain State, features a megasloth among its beasts (West Virginia’s official state fossil is, in fact, Jefferson’s ground sloth, or Megalonyx jeffersonii, a giant prehistoric ground sloth.) And, of course, there is Point Pleasant’s Mothman, which was the focus of a 2002 horror-mystery film starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney.
The exhibit “Weird and Wonderful” will celebrate the state, and Appalachia’s, curious history with an opening reception and concert from 7-10 p.m. Saturday at Retrotique, at 218 Walnut St.
“I’m surprised there hasn’t been a show like this already,” said organizer Jillian Kelly, who owns Retrotique and is the founder of Morgantown Art Party, an organization with the mission to “make it easier for local artists to succeed.”
“I’ve always known about all these different cryptids and things. I’ve always thought that was very fun. And now a lot of people are discovering that. It’s become such a big thing.”
She said that’s due in part to area artists who have embraced the region’s lore, such as freelance designer and illustrator Liz Pavlovic (who also is the drummer for The Furr) and Captain Catfeesh, the hillbilly crypto-punk group fronted by Colby White.
Both will be a part of Saturday’s festivities.
Among Pavlovic’s creations are a series of buttons, stickers and prints featuring various West Virginia monsters. Most recently, she teamed up with fellow local artist Casey Hughes of Casey’s Cauldron to design a Mothman candle. It will be one of several items she will have on display and available for sale Saturday.
A handful of artists, such as Ben Kolb, Sarah Hoblitzell and Kelly herself, will also have artwork at the show. And Kelly said she continues to have artists submit works, which range from paintings to stained glass to 3-D mixed media pieces.
“It’s a show we thought would be really easy to get people involved and excited about,” she said. “And it seems like that’s been the case.”
Captain Catfeesh will perform, along with Haggard Wulf. Music begins at 8 p.m.
A look at Captain Catfeesh’s catalog reveals the group is preoccupied with all things spooky in the state.
The band’s latest record, “Muricana” features a Flatwoods Monster on the cover and the 2016 album, “A VHS Guide to Indigenous Cryptids” is filled with songs with names like “T.H. Mothman (Attorney at Law),” “The Braxton County Monster Truck” and “Crypto-Creeper.”
Haggard Wulf is a two-piece that blends blues, punk and rockabilly.
“We got the two bands we really wanted,” Kelly said.
Refreshments will be available, including homemade pepperoni rolls.
Organizers are asking for a $5 donation at the door, as well as donations for food and drinks.
“Everything Art Party does is through donation, because we want everyone to be able to come and be a part of it,” Kelly said. “People that can give, give more and people that can’t, do what they can. And everyone gets to enjoy a cool event.”

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