YNST Celebrates the “New Traditions” of Appalachia

“There’s this throughline that connects Appalachia together,” Adam explained, “and it’s obviously the mountains.” Though a half-joke, the Applalatican mountains are a guide for Adam’s goal, connecting artists from this oft-overlooked region. Adam Payne has been the Editor in Chief at YNST Magazine since 2023. You’re Not Seeing Things (YNST) is a print and digital media company that amplifies Applachia’s arts and culture. “It really stemmed from seeing a lack of representation for all of the creatives we have here,” Adam explained. YNST has definitely become a platform for creatives in this region. With three (gorgeous) print magazines under their belt, a recent t-shirt collab with artist Logan Schmitt, and a gallery exhibition at Two/Two/Eight in Fairmont, the last little-over-a-year has been busy. There’s no sign of slowing down any time soon, Adam talks of the many plans he is cooking up, but the next big event is the New Traditions gallery at Wheeling Heritage’s Artisan Center, opening this Friday.

Back in March, YNST posted an open call to artists all around Applatichia for the gallery, and the artists answered. Twenty artists from five states submitted work of all kinds, from earthware pottery to rust-dyed fabric work; they all found a way to answer the theme. “It’s inspired by the more historic and traditional arts and crafts practices that are so uniquely Appalachian, such as quiltmaking, ceramics, glass blowing,” Adam expanded on the them. Artists were encouraged to utilize traditional techniques with new materials, incorporate or reimagine Appalachian craft, or use modern methods to tell the story of the past. The styles of artwork are more diverse than YNST has seen before. “We’ve never had so many 3D works submitted!” 

  • Close-up previews of some of the pieces in the New Traditions gallery.

It was a challenge, Adam said, to select for this gallery as there were so many excellent submissions. He used the theme to help guide his selection. Adam is proud of just how unique some of the materials used by the artists in this show are. “It’s going to look different than a lot of galleries. I feel like they’re very often dominated by painting. While we do have paintings, I’m very excited to see large textile works and 3D work.” Adam kept coming back to the value of textile works in the region. “Some of these practices are too often associated with ‘cottage crafts’ or ‘folk arts’; we wanted to create a gallery that celebrates those.” These historic, generation-wide practices are rooted deeply throughout Appalachia. New Traditions celebrates that history while allowing artists to reimagine these techniques in new and current ways.

Subscribe to Weelunk

For students at Wheeling Park High School, Central Catholic High School, and the Linsly School, the New Traditions gallery offers a special opportunity. Any Wheeling High School student can attend the gallery opening and write a review of the show. The review should be between 500-1000 words, and include commentary on the exhibit theme, details of at least one piece of art in the exhibit, and discuss the overall experience and opening reception. The review voted the best will be published in YNST and get awarded a cash prize of $100, while the top five best will be published on Weelunk and receive $50 each. The reviews can be submitted by email to weelunk@weelunk.com by Friday, May 24, to be entered. The winners will be announced by Wednesday, May 29.

The gallery opening will be an event you won’t want to miss. With so many unique and stunning art pieces, there’s something for everyone. There will also be tunes by Wheeling songstress Ananga Martin throughout the night. YNST will also have a pop-up shop where you can snag the latest issue of their magazine, along with the debut sale of the Logan Schmitt-designed t-shirt and stickers. The Gallery will open at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at the Artisan Center Gallery at 1400 Main Street, Wheeling. The art will remain in the gallery through June 14 for anyone to come and enjoy; admission is always free. To learn more details about the event, click here. Learn about all things YNST and how to keep up with them at their website.

• Makayla Carney, a Wheeling native, is the 2023-2024 AmeriCorps member for Wheeling Heritage, where she will get to write all about the history and culture of her hometown. She has a B.F.A. in Film and Television from DePaul University in Chicago. She adores all kinds of art, a lavender latte, and the occasional performance on the Towngate Theatre stage.