International Mother’s Day Shrine to unveil recently acquired painting at open house

GRAFTON—The International Mother’s Day Shrine is not only a recognized landmark for Taylor County residents, but also for individuals around the state of West Virginia. One Lewisburg resident spent years creating a work of art depicting the building.

The International Mother’s Day Shrine Board is proud to announce that Grace Brown’s painting titled “Mother’s Day National Shrine-Andrews Methodist Church,” will be displayed at the Shrine, and the “first look” will come on Sunday, November 5, at their open house.

Brown once shared that she chose the project because she was both a mother and a West Virginian. She wanted to portray the building where the tradition of Mother’s Day began.

“Being a good mother is the greatest challenge a woman can meet, and it is nice to know that there is a church in our state dedicated to the sacredness and beauty of motherhood,” Brown expressed.

According to Brown’s daughter, Sara “Sally” B. Higginbotham, who gifted the painting to the board, her mother worked for two years to create her work of art. During that time, Brown collected data to make sure her work portrayed the church just as it was during the time of Anna Jarvis.

After creating a sketch, Brown returned to Grafton, where she collected scrapings from the bricks of the church, so that her paint choices would match the color of the building.

In 1972, after being granted the copyright on the painting, she had lithographs made, and donated 25 of the prints to the Mother’s Day Shrine.

She then created a greeting card, featuring her painting. All of the proceeds from the sale of the cards were donated to the Tamassee School for Children, in South Carolina.

Brown, who grew up in Hinton, WV, was an avid artist, who got her start in the art world in the late 1960s when she enrolled in the Morris Harvey University. Higginbotham revealed that her mother worked diligently to perfect her talent, which led to her substantial success.

Some of Brown’s favorite items to depict included the skyline of Weirton’s steel mills, the suspension bridge that fell into the Ohio River and famed homes in the state, along with beautiful florals, landscapes and eventually the International Mother’s Day Shrine.

Higginbotham reported that her mother had created between 300-400 paintings in her lifetime, which were sold at different festivals.

She said that her mother often painted thistles, and often signed her works of art with a miniature thistle.

“She always explained that ‘thistles remind me of people; if you can get past the thorns, you can see their beauty,’” shared Higginbotham. “It is my family’s pleasure to give the painting to the Mother’s Day Shrine and we sincerely hope that it will be enjoyed by many.”

In addition to Brown’s painting, there will be numerous other historical items on display during the Shrine’s open house event including an extraordinary 1933 Grafton Depression-era Signature quilt.

While there, attendees can take a glance into the past with a Grafton Historical Photography Exhibit, consisting of more than 180 pictures from the Alex Forman and W.R. Loar and Sons Collection. Be sure to stop to visit the impressive 1962 Sundial, which was presented on Mother’s Day by Clara Glenn, World Mother of the Year and mother of astronaut John Glenn.

Shrine members will be proudly displaying the restored sanctuary murals, and guests will be serenaded by songs on the grand pipe organ. Refreshments will be served during the event.

Don’t miss out on this special event, which will take place on Sunday, November 5, from 2:00-4:00 p.m.