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Arthurdale to host children’s art reception

An art reception featuring projects by Preston County children will be held at 6 p.m., Aug 25, at Arthurdale Heritage Inc.

The kids, ages 4-13, were asked a variety of questions around the themes of identity, land, and community, and how they related to each, art teacher Raquel DeLoach said. Kids answered questions such as what made the land unique to them, what the differences between rural and city living were, and what kids in the area needed most.

DeLoach said the answers surprised her. Most of the kids noted that rural living requires a lot more travel — to the store, to schools, to things to do. The top answer to what area kids needed was paved roads.

The kids also recognize that rural living offers more of a connection with nature.

“They are very appreciate of their natural surroundings,” DeLoach said. “They were all excited about the mountains and the water and the opportunities they have outside.”

The answers to the questions will be on display at the reception as will three associated art projects by each kid. Light refreshments and Shirley Temples will be served.

Each painted a self portrait with oil pastels, watercolor maps of Preston County and a rock for geocaching. DeLoach said the kids drew things in the community on the maps. 

After the reception, the rocks will be taken home so kids and their families can place them in geocaches. Many drew landscapes but there are also 14 different species of bats that are native to West Virginia, DeLoach said.

The reception is the first in programming around an upcoming Smithsonian Institute traveling exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America, which is coming to Arthurdale in January 2022, said Claire Tyron, Americorps member at Arthurdale.

Executive Director Darlene Bolyard said it’s a “huge honor” to be one of seven sites selected in West Virginia to host the exhibit. 

“Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred,” the exhibition’s website states.

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