Somerset—Master pinstriper Casey Kennell is preparing to bring his work – including his motorcycles – into the Laurel Arts galleries, and he's bringing some friends and fellow motorheads with him.
Kennell, a lifelong Somerset resident, has been pinstriping everything from high-heeled shoes to motorcycles for decades. This will be his first appearance in the Laurel Arts galleries and Kennell said that he is excited about the opportunity.
"I'm really happy it's at Laurel Arts because that's where it needs to be," he said. "It's about just everybody getting together and just enjoying all this stuff. I'm looking forward to it."
The Casey Kennell Kulture and Art Show, as it is formally known, officially opened to the public Aug. 14. The gallery opening is to be celebrated with an open house featuring a car and motorcycle cruise on Aug. 18 beginning at 1 p.m.
Special guests at the car and motorcycle cruise include Mike Abraham from Valparaiso, Ind., who worked as a former painter for the John Force Castrol Funny Cars, Dragsters and Lemonn Cars. He will be joined by Jim Senkewitz, dragway announcer for the former Pittsburgh International Dragway (now known as Pittsburgh Raceway Park). Mike Szuba from Jalopyrama Hot Rod Shows in Annapolis, Md., is also planning to attend.
The Laurel Arts galleries will close at 4 p.m. that Saturday, but the entertainment is to continue throughout the evening. Music will be provided by The Runaways and food will be catered by Stairs Restaurant of Somerset.
Door prizes include a $250 pinstripe job giveaway. Attendees will have the chance to see a variety of different automobiles such as: Brougher's Speed Shop Car 1929 Roadster, World Famous Jan Opperman Sprint Car, Altoona Kid 1939 Ford Convertible and Brad Miller's ZZ Top Tribute Car. Other hot rods, custom trucks, motorcycles, old drag cars and vintage dirt drag cars will also be on display.
There will be special parking for bike and car haulers.
The following day, a Summit Diner Car Cruise is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m.
It's a jam-packed weekend that Kennell said he has been looking forward to for two years.
"I started planning it two years ago," Kennell said. "This is about bringing people together and letting them drift back into their young days, whenever they were young teenagers, hot ridin' around, going for hot dogs and hamburgers and finding cutie-pie girls. I want to keep that spirit moving in the business."
The gallery exhibit will encompass some major works that Kennell has completed over the past 40 years of his pinstriping career.
Kennell's pinstriping talents gained national attention just last year, when one of his custom pinstriped motorcycles was featured in the major motion picture "Machine Gun Preacher." In addition to pinstriping a motorcycle for the movie, he also pinstriped a bike for the show's leading actor, Gerard Butler.
Laurel Arts executive director Michael Oliver invites the community to stop by the gallery to see the motorcycles and Kennell's other unique memorabilia, as well as attend the back-to-back car cruises.
"This is something that is very unusual to the area," Oliver said. "It's a first for our gallery and we're excited."
Laurel Arts is located at 214 South Harrison Avenue in Somerset. For more information, visit www.laurelarts.org or call 814-443-2433. Kennell's website can be found at www.thepaintchop.com. The phone number at The Paint Chop is 814-443-2903.
Kennell's gallery exhibit is to continue through Sept. 14.