Arts Center’s French-themed gala a success

Doreen Hall and Molly Propst were named volunteers of the year Friday during the 12th annual Randolph County Community Arts Center Gala. The duo said they were honored to receive the distinction, but felt they were just doing what needed to be done.

“When our executive director and development coordinator left, we jumped in the make sure our classes, concerts and day-to-day events were still moving forward until the arrival of our new staff,” Hall said. “We had great help from so many volunteers including Mary Frances Merrin and Kathie Karriker, who handled the office.”

“One of the great things about the Randolph County Community Arts Center is that it functions like there is more staff than there actually is,” Propst said. “We are fortunate to have Kurt Barkley as our executive director and Amy Beth Smith serving as our development coordinator. Both joined us and hit the ground running. They are doing a great job.”

Barkley said he thought the Gala was a great success.

“Tonight has gone really, really well,” Barkley said. “It features wonderful people, great food, great music and a wonderful exhibit. The Randolph County Community Arts Center is an important place for so many people, and we are very grateful for the fantastic community support.”

Propst, who is also vice president of the Randolph County Community Arts Center Executive Committee, agreed with Barkley.

“We have a great turnout,” Propst said. “We are fortunate for the wonderful community support. Our goal is to raise $10,000 through the event.”

Lots of artists and art supporters gathered at the event to spend “An Evening in Paris,” which featured an art exhibit with more than 50 two- and three-dimensional works by West Virginia and Mid-Atlantic artists.

Winners in the juried exhibition were announced Friday during the Gala. They include “Ribbon Dancer” by Laurie Goldstein-Warren, best of show; “Kodiak Bear” by Erin McKown, first place; “Tygart Nocturne” by Bill McWhorter, second place; “Bird’s Eye View – Pete Dye” by Katherine M. Crim; “Harvest Time” by Paul and Brenda Bonnes, special award; “The Magic of Yellow” by M. Grey Darden, honorable mention; “Peacock 3” by Lisa Alto Michele Kiser, honorable mention; “Pond” by Marjorie Moses; and “Tsunami” by Betty Neely, honorable mention.

Gala juror was Lynn Ferris, a member of the National Watercolor Society and the Florida Watercolor Society.

Ferris is originally from New Jersey and has worked as a commercial and architectural illustrator. She attended Moore College of Art in Philadelphia.

Ferris said choosing the pieces for the awards was difficult, and there were many more pieces she would have liked to include, but space was limited.

“Technical achievement is always a consideration when judging the pieces, but only one of the requirements for a successful work of art,” Ferris said. “As a juror, I first see a strong design, design with the ability to make me want to take a closer look. I looked for art with a point of view, something to say, whether speaking to the tranquility of a summer landscape or the edginess of a stronger emotion. The artist then needs to present it in a way consistent with that point of view and to be confident in their voice.”

Katherine and James Crim traveled from Clarksburg to show their support for the Randolph County Community Arts Center at the Gala.

“We came to the event because Katherine had two paintings in the exhibit,” James Crim said. “I also help by framing some of the entries in the exhibit. It has been a fun evening.”

The Gala and Juried Exhibit was sponsored by Elkins Rehabilitation & Care Center.

Entertainment for the evening was provided in the Great Hall by the Seth Maynard Jazz Quintet and by Katy McClane & Family in the outdoor tent.

Maynard said he enjoys helping out at Arts Center events.

“My kids have participated in lots of activities at the Randolph County Community Arts Center, and lots of my friends’ kids benefit from the center as well,” Maynard said. “I think the center also helps keep people abreast of who the local artists are and what they are doing. I usually get to play here two or three times a year.”

The event featured a French theme, including French decor, hors d’oeuvres and desserts, music, dancing, 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. Many attendees dressed in French-inspired attire.

More information about classes, concerts or events at the Randolph County Community Arts Center is available by calling 304-637-2355 or online at

Contact Beth Christian Broschart at Follow her @ITM-Broschart.