ARTHURDALE – A display of children’s artwork will be on display at Arthurdale Heritage Center Hall on Wednesday starting at 6 p.m.
The artwork is the children’s portion of a 2022 Smithsonian exhibit in Arthurdale titled “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.”
âWe focused on identity, land and community, and how children relate to the landscape around them,â said Rachel DeLouch, art teacher at Arthurdale Heritage. âThe children were given different questions each week as part of the program. “
Questions ranged from what they like about the community they live in to what is the difference between living in a rural area and living in a city.
âThe responses were cute,â DeLoach said. “For example, when asked about the difference between living in the country and in the city, a student replied that there was a rodent in his house, that the people of the city call someone, and that the people of the countryside draw their guns and shoot at them. “
Works of art on display include oil pastel self-portraits, watercolor maps of Preston County, and geocaching rocks.
DeLoach said that while making the maps in watercolor, she asked the students to add to their picture a landmark or something special for them in the county.
âFor the kids here in Preston County, this is a big deal,â DeLoach said. âTheir artistic projects and the answers to their questions will be on display for their families. “
Arthurdale Heritage will also serve light refreshments and ‘Shirley Temples’ to make it as close as possible to a true art reception.
âWe want to make this special for these kids because they’ve worked so hard on it,â DeLoach said.
The Crossroads exhibit will be in Arthurdale from January 4 to February 5, 2022.
According to a press release from the West Virginia Humanities Council, the exhibit examines the current turning point in many rural American cities. Since the early 1900s, rural America has undergone significant changes in terms of demographics, educational opportunities, access to services, and economic viability.
Today, the country’s rural population is less than half of what it was in 1900, but small towns in America continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development. Economic innovation, including investing in cultural and creative economies, has helped many communities create their own renaissance.
The tour is sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council.
âEach host community has a different take on the themes of the exhibit,â Kyle Warmack, program manager for the council, said in the statement. âIt’s so exciting to see these various efforts come together.
He adds that visitors can find something different at each site, from local exhibits to theatrical productions, and historical tours to craft demonstrations. âThe range of activities is very exciting,â he adds. âThis is the very essence of Carrefour: discussing the dynamic heritage and cultural life of our rural communities. “
The Crossroads tour is made possible by the Museum on Main Street program, an alliance of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, state humanities councils across the country, and cultural organizations in small rural communities.