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."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Artsbank instructor Patricia Graap takes Elkins Rotary members on a ‘train imagery tour’ Monday as she explains her art workshops in the schools where she teaches.
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 www.artsbankwv.com.