SHAMOKIN - Penguins, turtles and bears - oh, my.

These were only three baby animals that were chosen for the subject of 45 works of art displaced Friday night at the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities Fine Art Gallery.

Most of the pieces - works in acrylic, pastel, watercolor, pen and ink and colored pencil - were created by younger students, which brought in a packed crowd of parents and grandparents.

"It's exciting," said Lisa Welch, who organized the annual winter art exhibit. "People get to see the gallery who don't normally see it. They see this great facility, and that keeps it going. The last thing we need is another empty building."

The 45-year-old Welch, who has been teaching art since 1991, has studios in the arts and humanities building, Mount Carmel and Drums, where she teaches 26 students ranging in age from 4 to retired adult.

The theme of "Baby Animals: Lovely Little Wonders, Baby Beasties and Cuddly Creatures" was chosen by the students, Welch said.

Caroline Feese, 9, of Mount Carmel, was displaying a baby koala, but was originally going to paint an elephant.

"It was too hard. Koala bears don't have as much detail as an elephant," the Our Lady of Lourdes Regional fourth-grader said. "Koala bears are just really cute."

As a student of Welch for two years, she wants to take what she has learned and will learn from her class and combine it with her love of cooking.

"When I grow older, I want to be in the cake business," she said.

Annie Richardson, 13, of Shamokin, was displaying a baby seal as her piece, because it was cute.

The Shamokin Area eighth-grader said she has been a student of Welch for three years, and wants to learn more about art.

Gallery director Claude Harrington said she loves the "innocence" of the paintings.

Welch teaches classes every Tuesday - 5:30 p.m. in Shamokin and 7 p.m. in Mount Carmel - and charges $10 for each class with all supplies included.

The String Theory Acoustic Trio, featuring Paul Riffon on violin, Brett Mowery on guitar and Welch on upright bass, was also at the gallery opening to play traditional, folk and bluegrass music.

The gallery is located inside the Northumberland County Arts Center, Eighth and Arch streets, Shamokin, on the first floor. Visitors should use the lower handicapped entrance at the rear of the building and follow signs once inside the building. For those who cannot make the opening reception, the show runs until Feb. 13.

The gallery is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

For more information about the show or Welch Art Studios, go to www.welchartstudios.com or the Welch Art Studios page on Facebook.