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Randolph County approves arts funding

Submitted photo Coalton Elementary Principal Alyssa Tallman and Artsbank Instructor Kylie Proudfoot-Payne received reproductions of murals done by Coalton Elementary students during the past two years as part of a Mountain Arts District program.

ELKINS — The Randolph County Commission approved funding Thursday for a local collective that promotes art and works with students in the local schools.

The Commission heard the funding request Thursday from Pat Schoonover, a board member for Mountain Arts District, which she described as “a newly formed nonprofit organization.”

“Primarily what we have been doing for the last five years is make a real effort to place our artists in our web sites and be a marketing tool for artists in this region,” Schoonover, defining the region as Randolph, Upshur, Barbour, Tucker, Pocahontas and Taylor counties.

Community projects supervised by Mountain Arts District include the installation of student-created art at both George Ward and Coalton Elementary students, as well as in Elkins City Park and Glendale Park.

This year, Mountain Arts District conducted an online Student Art Contest in June and the Great Community Pumpkin Patch Virtual Carving Contest this fall.

“One of the problems that we’ve encountered this year is the fact that our hotel/motel tax, which is what we use to fund these programs, has taken a significant cut” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Commissioner Mark Scott said. “We’ve had to reduce the amount of funding that we’ve done for a lot of different programs.

“We still believe in what you’re doing with the Mountain Arts District so I move that we approve a $1,500 donation taken from the hotel/motel tax,” Scott said.

Commission President David Kesling and Scott voted to approve the funding. Commissioner Chris See was not at Thursday’s meeting.

Last year the commission approved $3,000 in funding for Mountain Arts District.

Also at Thursday’s meeting:

∫ Commissioners also approved a funding request from the Beverly Heritage Center CVB.

“Our CVBs are struggling” during the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott said. “In the past they have used money from their budgets to do trips and bus tours. National companies do bus tours, and it’s important for (the CVBs) to have a presence in these.”

Commissioners approved a $1,595 expenditure “to allow them to go a national bus tours association convention.”

The funding was taken from the county’s hotel/motel tax fund.

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