Featured Artist: Jaci Rice
Jaci Rice, a transplant to the area for almost 10 years now, is a local fine art painter. Focusing mostly on industrial landscapes, she interprets their legacies as she sees them daily, in all their states of use or disuse. Friendlier than oils and less toxic around children, Jaci uses acrylic paint on wood surfaces to make her pieces in her home studio.
She met her husband, a Weirton native, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while they were both attending Temple University (Jaci attended Tyler School of Art for her BFA in Painting while he completed a Masters degree in Liberal Arts). After marrying, the couple moved to Pittsburgh where she participated in an artist residency with the Brewhouse Association on the South Side of the city. From here, a job change to Robinson Township brought the couple back to Weirton.
Currently, Jaci manages a busy and active household of three kids all under the age of
12 while completing home restorations with her husband, as well as working to maintain
studio time. On top of being an active member of the Top of WV Arts Council (TWVAC),
she is also currently a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists and was an Emerging
Artist Fellow with the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts in 2020. “I am fortunate to
continue to keep up with some of my cohort and the foundation as I am able to. I try to
be careful with my obligations since my family is still so young,” Jaci said.
When asked what being a part of the TWVAC means to her, Jaci replied, “Honestly, it
means that I am slowly emerging from the “baby cave” so to speak. As my children
move forward with their independence, I can move forward in my involvement with the
arts outside my home. Gaining some insight into the local community, and maybe help
with its nurturing and cultivation, I have an opportunity to branch out and use my voice
to lift others up.”
“Just like our personalities, art is a means to enhance our individualistic facets of
communication with our own interpretations of the world, ultimately so we can
understand it and each other,” Jaci said. “Babies can sing and dance before they can
talk and walk. And some people see colors when they hear music. I think we are all
created to be creative in some capacity. It is innate from our very beginnings to wonder
and explore. It is only when we get in our own way that we lose sight. And I think art is a
way back into that mode of living.”
Jaci has a vision of what could be for the local art scene. “I dream a lot, and I’ve seen a
lot. A wonderful friend and mentor told me once, ‘Make it a place where you’d want to
live.’ I think the area, still young in its existence, has a lot left to bestow upon the world. I
would love for the Arts Council to have an active role in the revitalization of the area,
unearthing and cultivating the creative side of it,” she spoke.
“Communities grow where there are artists – where problems are being seen and solved
where creativity flourishes. Art is pretty hardy. It can pop up and grow in the darkest of
places. Life follows it. We want the area to grow and flourish. The artists, and those that
love art, will help lead the way,” Jaci responded when asked why she believes the
TWVAC is important to the community. “Being an artist can be a pretty solitary gig, and
loneliness rears its head more often than not some days, but finding yourself around
other creatives, and it being a surprise on top of that, is just wonderful.”
Check out Jaci’s work on her Instagram @jacirice as well as her website that features
her work and prints: www.jacirice.com.