As a way to enjoy the sites of Pocahontas County, superintendent of schools Terrence Beam enlisted Pocahontas County High School art teacher Diana Nelson and her students to create artwork for the the walls at the board office.
“The original idea was to actually go to the location [board office] and do it right there, but it just isn’t possible to get kids down there, and they have jobs after school,” Nelson said. “So I suggested we work on big canvases and let them display them however they want to at the office.”
Nelson assigned the project to senior art students Josie McCarty, Violet McComb, Ryliegh Vaughan and Kylian Dennison and each selected a location in Pocahontas County as the focus of their paintings.
Each girl chose a point of interest that was close to them as well as having a special meaning.
“I picked Watoga,” McComb said. “I live near it, and I loved the pictures of it.”
McCarty’s painting is of the Green Bank Telescope, which she selected because she used to work there, so it was the first place that came to mind.
Like McComb, Vaughan chose a place close to home – the tower at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park.
“I go there a lot, and I think it’s pretty,” she said.
Dennison is painting one of the locomotives at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.
“I had a lot of pictures of it that I took, and my dad works for the railroad,” she said.
The four canvases are nearing completion and once Nelson finds a theme for the fifth, the paintings will be installed at the board office.
“The fifth one – I’m not sure yet what we’re going to do with that one,” she said. “I don’t have anyone to take that one up, yet.”
This is not the first large project for Nelson’s students, but it is a bit different than what they normally do in class.
“I’ve had students do murals in the past, like out in the hallway, but as far as a canvas is concerned, they’ve probably never done anything that large,” she said. “We work on paper that’s almost as big as this, but it’s not quite as large.”
The young artists have put a lot of time and effort into their creations and although none of them plan to pursue a career in art, they all agree that it is a fun hobby and talent to have.