Posts Tagged ‘Randolph County Community Arts Center’

This summer the Randolph County Community Arts Center is hosting a museum quality exhibit of Civil War art.  The collection which features the artists mentioned below, represents the best of Civil War art, painstakingly crafted using historical documentation.  Doreen Hall, a founding member of the art center board and gallery coordinator worked tirelessly on obtaining a museum-quality collection for the community.

Hall explains the social relevance of the Civil War in Elkins, West Virginia as profound, “everyone in the community has a connection to the Civil War because of our location and the events that took place here 150 years ago” she comments.  The Elkins area saw the first land battle of the Civil War in 1861.  This area was extremely important to the North and South because of the B&O Railroad.  During the 1800’s West Virginia was part of Virginia and the land within a 30 mile perimeter of Elkins saw ‘turf wars’ as General George B. McClellan (Union) moved 20,000+ troops to the area from Ohio and Indiana to control the railroad.  McClellan and his men were victorious and secured the location as a northern territory.  “Many outsiders forget what happened here in the Elkins area,” Hall explains, “We wanted to honor our history with visual representations.  Many people glass over this area and the fighting, we wanted to show it.”  The Randolph County Community Arts Center wanted to put a collection together for some time but struggled with ‘getting it right.’  She originally hoped the Community Art Center would obtain a slot for the traveling gallery of Mort Künstler’s works but the exhibit was booked from New York to Georgia, so she turned to the phones. With the assistance of sesquicentennial-celebration grant money, trustees, and persuasion, Hall started researching artists and cold-calling them to ask if they would loan a piece of artwork for display.  She said some were skeptical at first but when she shared with them her location, history, and followed each phone call with a letter explaining the importance of the area to the Civil War, they agreed.

Hall’s goal is to share with the people of her community, state, and country the importance of the Civil War and educate them about their own local history.  She believes the quality of the artwork stands as a reflection of the passion of individuals to preserve our American story.  The exhibit in Elkins has been extremely popular, drawing three displayed artists to various receptions held at the Center and inviting hundreds of visitors, free of charge, into the echoes of the past.



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