GRAFTON— In an effort to surround passersby and visitors with the warmth and love of the holiday season, despite the separation caused by the pandemic, a member of the Taylor County Arts Council (TCAC) added some charming Christmas touches to the windows of their home that is Gallery 62 West.
The gallery’s volunteer Curator Diane Parker took it upon herself to adorn the windows of the building with uplifting holiday messages and beautiful images, and put much thought in doing so.
Parker, along with her husband are the owners of J&J Graphics. Through their business, she created stencils that she used for the painting of the windows.
“I chose to apply them the old fashioned way with sponging acrylic paint through the stencils,” Parker explained. “I wanted to stencil them, opposed to using vinyl, to give the images a more vintage look, this way it looks more like frosted glass.”
And because the TCAC is a non-profit organization, it was purely out of the kindness of her heart, that she volunteered her own time, money and materials to complete the project, calling it an “in-kind donation” that she hopes sends a special message to members of their community.
“Many of us were concerned after the political devise nature of the elections,” voiced Parker. “At Gallery 62 West, we welcome all types, we serve a diverse audience, and we didn’t want anyone to feel alienated or alone. I guess you could say we are sort of a port in a storm.”
Fellow TCAC member Mary Shuttlesworth boasted about the windows, commenting on their exquisite beauty and expressing her deepest gratitude to Parker and her husband for their selfless work.
“The windows look magnificent. It is a beautiful sight to see when you’re visiting Main Street,” Shuttleworth said. “We are continuously working to make our space more attractive to our visitors and make improvements anywhere we can.”
In order to work on some of those improvements, now that the holiday season has come to a end, the gallery will remain closed through the month of January, however, TCAC members will still be hard at work.
Parker shared that during this time, the walls of the space will be refinished and will receive a fresh coat of paint to keep the area bright and crisp. But they aren’t stopping with new paint.
In addition to recently having some electrical work completed to the lighting on façade of the building, the TCAC brought on Tygart Electric to conduct some rewiring on the interior of the gallery, as well.
“They have rewired and installed golden floor outlets, and have also worked on repairing the wiring on the gallery’s track lighting and the lighting in the two box display windows,” enlightened Parker.
The organization is also hoping to perform some repairs to the original tin ceiling during their closure.
With work well underway, Gallery 62 West will once again opens its doors and welcome guests back in the beginning of February, with a full slate of shows and exhibits for the year.
“Our year’s schedule is full! We have so much in store for people to enjoy this year, and we are really excited to get started,” Parker expressed.
The first show of the reopening will be the works of two digital artists at the top of their fields and one traditional; Wayne Flint, Anna Dittman and Kimberly Keys.
The remainder of the year will feature work from artists such as Ben Kolb, Helen Hemeter, Michael “Goose” Sizemore, Diane Parker and a celebrated return of Cate Campbell with her new show, “Rusted Roots”.
“We will offer annual shows such as the 25th Annual Juried Memorial Day Exhibit, the Photography Club Annual Exhibit and our most beloved Festival of Trees once again in 2021,” Parker revealed. “We’ll host a Second Annual Art of the Ride show, as well.”
To be able to continue working on projects to improve their home, for the betterment of the community, as a non-profit group, the TCAC heavily relies on generous donations from individuals and businesses in the area.
To help out and be a part of keeping the arts alive and well in our small town, you can choose to donate any amount at any time by sending a donation check to Gallery 62 West, PO Box 165, Grafton, WV 26354.
Alternately, apps, such as paypal can be used to send funds via email to [email protected]. Parker noted that she is currently working to set up online donations to their website, which can be found by visiting https://www.gallery62w.com/.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude for supporting Gallery 62 West during a most challenging year,” said Parker. “Although our exhibits where disrupted and our open hours severely truncated, we still can say we had a wonderful year. From our beautiful exhibits through our most successful Festival of Trees to date, our supporters, members, board and volunteers continue to make us shine brightly in our community. So, again, we say thank you! All-in-all, it’s shaping up to be a wonderful year featuring artists of all genres and media. Stay tuned and involved. We hope you’ll join us at the Gallery!”