Elkins Becoming an Art Destination for Randolph County

Date Posted: 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

WDTV - West Virginia may not be seen as the epicenter of the art world but one town is working to increase creativity downtown.

Elkins recently introduced their Street Melodies initiative. The collaboration between Elkins Make it Shine, The Delmonte Market and The Old Brick Playhouse is placing pianos throughout the city.

Two decoratively painted pianos were placed outside of both The Delmonte Market and The Old Brick Playhouse.

The main goal of the initiative is to increase artistic expression and welcome artists from throughout the state into Elkins.

Organizers would like to see artists use the instruments as a stage and are encouraging painters to join them and practice their craft in public.

Street Melodies was spearheaded by Missy Armentrout McCollam who serves as the director of the Old Brick Playhouse.

"The reason is because we really think that its important for tourists and visitors and local folks alike to be able to enjoy all the talents of the artists that live in the area," McCollam said.

One local artist also feels that Elkins offers a platform for painters and sculptors to disseminate their art to the public.

Joy Cooper first came to Elkins nineteen years ago after seeing a piece of artwork that caught her eye. She found the painter at Artists At Work, an art gallery that serves as a collaboration between multiple artists.

Almost two decades later, Cooper's artwork is featured at the gallery and can be seen on the first wall by the main entrance.

It was a work of another artist that initially brought Cooper to Elkins but she said that the artistic environment is what caused her to stay.

"I think some of its the natural beauty and for some reason, it draws a diverse amount of people that are creative," Cooper said. "And fortunately, it draws people who are able to appreciate the arts and purchase from us."

Cooper said that the close proximity to Davis & Elkins College, which is a liberal arts university, may have an influence on the focus on arts.

The group plans to place two more pianos in Elkins. They are currently being tuned and painted with plans to unveil them in the coming weeks.