The octogenarian has two more shows on the horizon. After that, who knows.
By JENNINE ZELEZNIK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- After graduation, Irene Was hung up her cap and gown, but not her dreams.
After the 80-year-old graduated from Kent State University last month with a bachelor's degree in art, her next dream was to share her work with the public.
She's doing that now, with a show at the Trumbull Art Gallery and has plans for other shows later this year.
Was has been on a high ever since her art was accepted for a show at the gallery.
"I hope I don't crack my head when I come down," she said, laughing. "I appreciate everyone who contributed to my 15 minutes of fame.
"I've had my 15 minutes and I'm enjoying it."
"Vibrations: Variations in Color" features 10 large, colorful paintings that were Was's senior project. The show runs through July 27.
To receive a showing at the gallery, artists go through a screening committee, which decides what will appear for the next year, said Janet Vogt, head of volunteers at the gallery.
Promoting Ohio talent: "We try to promote Ohio talent," she said. "We like to give people in this area a chance to display their work."
She added that the gallery has between eight and 10 shows a year.
Was, meanwhile, wants to move on to something a little different.
"One of my teachers told me not to get stuck on one thing...move on to a new idea and keep things fresh," she said.
She's trying a project next that uses the same form as what's on display now, but incorporates fish, animals of the forest or birds.
"When people ask 'Where do you get your motivation,' all I can say is a spirit within," Was said. "There is an inner spirit that is seeking expression, and it's taking the form of painting."
After her next show -- at KSU Trumbull in September -- her works go on exhibit at Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital in January.
After that she may apply for a show in Sharon or at the Butler Institute of American Art's Salem gallery.
No fear: "I will try to submit some of my things," she said, "and what is accepted, fine. I'm not afraid of being rejected. If you're rejected, move on - it's a part of life."
Her fondest dream now is to somehow have a show in Poland, Europe, the country of her ancestry.
"Who knows?" she said. "If you dream long enough, hard enough, dreams come true.
"Like mine did."