Bath County Art Show Uplifts Locally

On this past hot July weekend, a dedicated group of volunteers spent their time turning the cafeteria and several classrooms at Valley Elementary School south of Hot Springs into a regional, and very current, museum. All of the works entered in the show must have been completed within the last two years. Allegheny Mountain Radio spoke with Shawn Puller, director of Garth Newel Music Center, and Bath County Arts association member about the annual event. I asked him how he came to be involved with the association.

“It is a natural connection for me to be involved in the Arts Association as the largest music venue. Prior to coming to Bath County, I was on an Arts Association Board in Tallahasee Florida, so I already had that in my blood to be part of the Arts community, finding ways to create partnerships, and really ways to uplift an entire area in terms of art and culture. It’s just the way I like to think; it’s the way I like to be involved in a community, of finding ways of reaching out, and getting all of our people making art in whatever form that is, whether it’s visual or dance or folk arts or music, or whatever that is.”

**The annual Bath County Art Show is a benefit for the Arts Association, and what are a few of the things the arts association brings too Bath County?

“I think for the most part people see the Art Show, and they think that’s all the arts association is, and that’s not true. We support our community every year with over forty thousand dollars of assistance at the schools, in scholarships programs, programs like the Missoula Theater, programs like the Allegheny Mountain String Project, for students to go to excursions to go to The Blackfriar’s Theater, or trips to museums, so the Bath County Arts Association is there helping fund these projects for our students and for the people in our community. Over the last three years the arts association has contributed more than a hundred thousand dollars to our local community for arts, and that is arts of all sorts. We helped the high school buy a kiln for their art program. We bring in every year an innovative program called ‘Science Songs Rocks” which helps for the Standards of Learning for science and math. Yeah, there’s just so much going on with the arts association, but it seems like it might be just under the radar of people’s awareness.”

**One way to increase awareness, and appreciation is to stroll slowly through the exhibits, and maybe return for another visit if there is too much to take in the first time.

“The art show is July twenty-second through July twenty-ninth, and it’s held every year at the Valley Elementary School. We have a great partnership with them, and we are so grateful that every year we get to host it there.

Last year we had over two hundred and sixty-two artists participating in the art show from over six states, and in total we had over seven hundred and fifteen pieces of art in the art show, which of course was for sale. It is our largest fundraiser that we have every year. We love when people just go to the school to look, because it’s almost like we have a little museum set up.”

**So, if you are an aspiring collector, or a gallery scout, or simply would like a summer afternoon outing in the mountains, there will be something at the Art show for you. It is open from one until five o’clock from Saturday the 22nd through Sunday the 29th. The Sunday hours are 10:00 until 12:00, so that artists can come and pick up their art, and buyers can collect their new purchases too. For just a little more on this very special, uniquely Bath County event, please stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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