ELKINS – Local artists, students, parents, local residents and art supporters gathered Saturday at the Elks Club in Elkins, raising funds for ArtsBank during the annual auction.

Art education in Randolph County elementary schools was eliminated many years ago, so for 22 years, folks have gathered to raise money for art experiences in hopes of helping students become artistically literate individuals. The annual ArtsBank Auction is the main fundraiser for this program that provides hands-on art experiences for students, including those at the West Virginia Children’s Home in Elkins.

Local artists, art supporters and businesses donate items sold during a silent auction and grand auction during the event, which also offers attendees a dessert bar. Items during the silent auction included paintings and home-made foods, and grand auction items included a mandolin, artwork, memberships and sporting tickets.

“This year, the auction raised about $15,000,” said Bill McWhorter, coordinator of ArtsBank Council.

A new addition to the auction this year was the ability for donors to support classroom projects through the art cart.

“Donations are still being accepted,” McWhorter said. “A donation of $30 purchases instructional supplies for one teaching artist, $50 buys art supplies for one school for one month, $100 purchases art supplies for one classroom for one year, $150 purchases art supplies for one school for one semester and $200 supports one day with one teaching artist.”

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Patrick McKay and friends.

Artists in the school offer students experience in painting, drawing, pottery, ballet, song writing, collage making, quilting, square dancing, puppetry, graphic arts, printmaking, poetry and movement.

Artists heading up this school year’s programming include Carrie and Michael Kline, who help students learn the value of oral history and Appalachian culture by interviewing and interacting with the elderly; Kylie Proudfoot-Payne, who teaches fine art concepts of composition, color schemes, drawings, painting techniques, negative and positive space and how to critique; Diana Vera, who combines art, song, movement, creative writing and improvisation for expressive arts tuning to explore the creative process with students; Kevin Woodcock, who introduces students to painting, drawing and simple print techniques; Suzanne “Sam” Bowyer-McWhorter, who provides activities to pre-kindergarten students; Danielle Cade, who offers drawing and painting to elementary and secondary students including the basics of color, line and form; Akiko Endo, who teaches middle school students origami construction relating the experience to the functions of geometry and trigonometry; Sarah Ferguson, who teaches painting and collage, as well as the history of art and influential artists; Patricia Graap, who teaches language skills in kindergarten through fifth grade using innovative instructional strategies; and Rebecca “Becky” Hill, who teaches tradition dance steps and stories to students.

More information about the ArtsBank program is available by calling coordinator Bill McWhorter at 304-636-9150, or Facebook at ArtsBank, Inc.


ELKINS – The Elkins Rotary Club was invited Monday to continue its support of the Artsbank program in Randolph County.

Scottie Roberts Wiest, an Artsbank board member, invited Rotary members to attend the annual Artsbank Auction, slated for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Elks Country Club.

“Rotary has long been a good supporter of Artsbank,” Wiest said. “Tickets will be available at the door.”

Wiest introduced Patricia Graap, one of the Artsbank instructors who teaches art in Randolph County classrooms.

“Patricia found Elkins on the computer when she was teaching at a Zuni Reservation in 2006,” Wiest said. “She did some research and chose to move to Elkins. She moved here and has a career as a teacher. She is a writer, a songwriter, a musician and a poet.”

Graap led Rotary members through a “train imagery tour.” Graap said students affectionately refer to her as the train lady. This year, she has brought her tour to students at Midland and Third Ward Elementary schools.

“With train imagery, I incorporate so many different art ideas,” Graap said. “And when I come into the classroom, in my mind, I know it’s performance art. Whether you are in kindergarten or eighth grade in Pickens School, I come in the room and sing, ‘Good news, train is a coming, good news, train is a coming.”‘

Graap asked everyone to sing with her and said all the students sing with her as well.

“I have them right there, at the very first song,” Graap said. “I begin with the train. When I bring a workshop in to the students, it is well-researched in music, history, art images and science.

“The train is built around legends, myths, facts, history and heroes,” Graap said. “Singing is so much better when I am doing transition. It works much better than me saying for everyone to sit down and be quiet, or the great trick where you turn off the lights. All I have to do is sing I saw the train – everyone clear off your desks, she was coming in to Elkins, sit right down. And there they are, they have had movement in the class and they are focused and ready to work.”

Graap said she can keep the students’ attention for a full 40 minutes.

“I bring in different literature, ideas, reader’s theatre and poetry,” Graap said. “They get to actually select in their classroom where they will work in small groups before coming to conscience with the larger group. And they are wonderful and respectful of one another.”

For 22 years, concerned artists, teachers, residents, parents and students have gathered to provide art experiences for Randolph County students through the Artsbank Program. The Auction is the main fundraiser for the group, with local artists and businesses donating items to be sold in a silent auction and grand auction during the event, which also offers attendees a dessert bar. Items in the silent auction will include paintings and home-made foods, and grand auction items will include a guitar, artwork, memberships and sporting tickets.

“Normally the auction brings in between $12,000 to $15,000,” said Wiest.

Wiest said a new offering at this year’s auction will be a “buy it now” category, along with the traditional silent auction and grand auction. Monies from the auction help defray the cost of art supplies and provide stipends for local artists who teach art in Randolph County schools.

Additional information about Artsbank is available online at