Wheeling Women Artists: Pat Jacobson

Local Painter Tackles Political Issues

Pat Jacobson has loved art for as long as she can remember. “Oh, I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I was a child. Of course, I didn’t know what I wanted to be at that point but I loved art.” she explains.

Jacobson was born outside of Chicago and lived there until her first year of college. She majored in fine arts at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., then attended a graduate program for fine arts at the University of Iowa. During her time at graduate school she met her husband, Karl Jacobson, and soon afterwards they both moved to Ohio Valley area where Karl received a teaching job at West Liberty University. “We lived in a wonderful falling-apart farm house near St.Clairsville. After a while we moved to Wheeling and have been here for almost 40 years.” said Pat.

After she and Karl were married and had three children, she didn’t have much time to create art. In her spare time she took up photography, developed her own film, and started pottery. Once her children went to school she took computer classes and got a part time job at Wheeling Jesuit University in the registrar’s office. “When my youngest son graduated from college, the next day I resigned because I really wanted to go back to art,” Jacobson laughed. She’s been painting ever since.

Pat is a founding member of Artworks Around Town in Centre Market. “I believe that we have been key in developing the community around Centre Market. When we first moved in, the area was run down and there weren’t very many shops.” said Pat. Each member has a set space to display their artwork, and one can also find featured student and special guest work. Pat displays her oil paintings and pastels there, and also currently teaches a drawing class.

As an artist Pat wanted to paint the “regular people” of Wheeling. One group that has stood out to her is the African-American community. “It’s a very small community, hardly noticed. I got to liking them and wanted to make paintings of them so that people can appreciate them.” Jacobson explained. She has displayed her paintings of this community for Martin Luther King Day and Black History month in the past. “It’s something I care about a lot,” she continued.

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Jacobsen also loves to paint landscapes. “I really like doing little things that you don’t notice much around here. So, I don’t paint very many buildings. I like to paint pockets of forest, flowers, or a tree that stands out.” she explains.

Other than art, Pat is very passionate about civil rights. She has been a part of various groups advocating for peace, and loves to be involved with the community. She is currently working on three paintings of women who have struggled for their civil rights. “I wanted to show a woman’s struggle to gain their rights and now it looks like it’s going backwards fast. I got angry, that’s why I am doing this.” she said. She also attended the Women’s March for International Women’s Day on March 8th. Political issues are something that has always been a driving force for her in her art and her advocacy work. “It may take away from my art but I do not believe it takes away from my person. It’s who I am. Sometimes it feels like a diversion, but it’s not really. I believe that the two feed each other,” said Pat. She also loves to be outdoors and can often be found working in her garden.

Pat attributes her most rewarding moments as an artist to her husband. “Since my husband was an artist too, I think the most rewarding moments are the wonderful conversations we have together about art.” Pat said with a smile. They also enjoyed canoeing and hiking together.  The biggest struggle that she has faced in her art career is finding time and space to pursue it. “I can’t just pick up a brush for a half hour and do something. I need a body of time,” she explained. She explained that it was even harder to find time when she was working full time. “I did take evening classes from my husband. That kept me going,” Pat continued.

Pat hope for young artists is that they find something they are passionate about. She also cautions they not get caught up in ‘advancement’. “You have to do things that speak to you and come from your heart. I had a chance to take a job to make a lot of money. I almost did. I am so glad I didn’t.” she said. She believes that if you’re not trying to ‘chase that dollar’, your life can be much richer and happier.