As an Art-part of the First Friday events, Dirtbean in Marlinton is loaning its walls to showcase the talent and work of Pocahontas County High School students.
Art teacher Diana Nelson said she was contacted by Gail Hyer, who organized the exhibit with Dirtbean owner Kristy Lanier.
“Gail Hyer contacted me, and she said she was working with First Fridays and they wanted to display artwork at Dirtbean,” Nelson said. “Kristy was interested in having that done, as well.”
Since the majority of the school year was virtual or remote, Nelson started a Facebook page which allowed the students to display their artwork. From there, she was able to choose pieces for the exhibit.
“I had a Facebook page with all the artwork throughout the year,” Nelson said. “This was the first year that I’ve done that because, with COVID, we didn’t have our Evening with the Arts. I looked at a different way to get our art out to the public in a way that didn’t require people to gather.
“I picked which ones I thought were our most outstanding pieces,” she added.
Several of the pieces were also selected by the Pocahontas County Artisans Co-op to be part of the Children’s Art Trail which will be installed at the Marlinton Depot.
Despite the school year being a whirlwind of in-person and virtual class sessions, Nelson said her students still managed to let their creativity flow and use the materials available to them at home.
“I sent home paper with everybody ahead of time, so they had that,” she said. “Whenever I assigned projects, it was something they could do with minimal materials. Your basic colored pencils, pencils – just whatever you had at home. We didn’t do a lot of painting. If kids had paint at home, they could certainly do that, but we just kept it pretty basic.”
The students would do their art and then send photographs to Nelson through email or Microsoft TEAMS.
Then she posted it all to the Facebook page – PCHS Art Classes – for everyone to enjoy.
“Going through and looking at their artwork, I’m amazed at what the kids accomplished this year because it was a crazy year,” Nelson said. “With art – you really need to be in the class – but that second nine weeks, we were out in virtual. Considering the type of year it was, we were very productive with our artwork. I’m very pleased with it.”
Nelson said she plans to keep the Facebook page updated, even when school gets back to normal and students are in the classroom every day.
“I think it’s one of the good things that came out of this year, getting that Facebook page started,” she said. “It certainly opens up a larger audience to our work.”
The artwork selected for the exhibit at Dirtbean will be on display through August.