The Morgan Hotel hosts an arts event downtown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Singer-songwriter Sarah Giles hosted a one-of-a-kind event in downtown Morgantown on Friday night thanks to her album release and art gallery event at the Morgan hotel.

Partnering with local visual artists over the past month, Giles has used his new acoustic soul record, “Burning Letters,” as a vehicle for cross-collaboration between creators of different art forms. The artists joined Giles in a gallery showcasing and silent auction of artwork.

Giles connected with various 2D artists to get their thoughts on the album. Participating in “listening sessions”, 12 artists created their reactionary piece, painting or drawing “live” throughout the duration of the 8-track album.

“It’s eight tracks that weren’t actually written together. It was just a collection of eight that I felt worked really well together, complemented each other,” Giles said. “The themes and lyrics really speak of an individual moving through this album track by track with realizations about communication and relationships.”

Participants were able to meet the artists at the hotel and see their works while listening exclusively to the album two weeks before the April 8 digital release date.

“The idea for Burning Letters is actually the last track and that’s after she’s been through the hardships of, you know, the relationships gone wrong, the distant friendships, the family and all those things. Which I think is also emblematic of COVID over the past two years,” Giles said. “Burning Letters is the finale, it’s, I wrote these letters that I’m burning before they got to you, and I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to speak my truth, I want to speak honestly, and I want to have a connection.

Giles is also a graduate student in the Music Industry program at West Virginia University. She said she uses this project as a cornerstone for her master’s degree. She also said she’s been in touch with Hannah Freeman, an assistant professor of painting and foundation education, for advice on bringing music to art. Installing a sound system in the art studio in early February, Giles organized the first listening session with Freeman and his advanced painting class.

David H. Henry