Grant to allow for free art classes

Wood County teacher Heather Royer has received a grant for a program she hopes will build relationships in Parkersburg.

Through a recently awarded $5,900 grant by the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, Royer will be providing free art classes for students, parents and alumni of VanDevender Middle School. Royer, art teacher at VanDevender, plans to begin the art program at the Parkersburg middle school in September with a drawing class.

Subsequent classes will involve painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and upcycled (recycled) art. The classes for 25 participants each month will meet on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. in Royer’s classroom.

Signups will be announced this summer. “My goal is to teach 15 children and 10 adults in each class,” Royer told me this week.

Royer envisions youth and adults working together to create art in a relaxed, comfortable setting through the program, with the hope of also improving relationships within the community.

Royer has already established an after-school art club for students at VanDevender.

Royer’s proposal stood out when she presented it to the foundation for possible funding, said Marian Clowes, program and development officer with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation. The foundation saw the art program as an opportunity to reach out to parents and their children, Clowes said.

Royer’s free art program, submitted through VanDevender Middle School, is one of more than 30 organizations set to receive grant funding totaling $150,000 from the PACF next Tuesday afternoon at the foundation’s office at 1620 Park Ave.

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Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will be returning to the Smoot Theatre for a performance at 8 p.m. Aug. 22. Tickets will go on sale beginning next Wednesday at the downtown Parkersburg theater. Murphy, the 2011 “America’s Got Talent” winner and popular singer from Logan, W.Va., sold out both shows at the Smoot Theatre in December 2011. Smoot Theatre director Felice Jorgeson said Murphy’s appearance 2.5 years ago was the only time she could remember a performance selling all 700-plus seats in two consecutive nights at the Smoot. Piano player Duane Flesher of Williamstown, a member of the Smoot House Band, has toured with Murphy, Jorgeson noted. Tickets for the August show can be reserved by calling 304-422-7529.

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Teams representing the high school classes of 1970 and 1958 were tied at the end of this month’s Parkersburg Area School Boy Golf Challenge at Worthington Golf Course, but the 1970 team won on a tiebreaker. Shooting an 11-under par 60 was the winning team of Sam Winans, Gary Brightwell, Kim Marshall and Dallas Wingrove. Recording the same score was the 1958 team of Buzzie Dils, Roger Crowley, Dick Wildt and John Pfalzgraf. The seventh annual challenge brings together graduates of Parkersburg and Parkersburg Catholic high schools and raises money for charitable causes. This year’s golf tournament raised a “couple thousand dollars” split between PHS through the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and the Parkersburg Catholic High School baseball program, said tournament spokesman Tom Longmire. The PHS donation was in honor of Tom Croft, Class of 1962, who participated in track, basketball and football at PHS. The Parkersburg Catholic donation was in honor of Mike McCarthy, a 1958 graduate of PCHS who participated in baseball and basketball. Teams representing the high school classes of 1955-80 played in this year’s golf tournament. Lew Johnson was co-chairman of the golf challenge with Longmire.

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Nashville songwriter Arlos Smith, a 1983 graduate of Parkersburg High School, has recently written a children’s book “Sky: The Little Bird Who Is Afraid To Fly.” The book, co-written by Australian native Will McClean and illustrated by Tamara Helene Arrington, is the first in a planned series of three books. Smith, a Vienna native, said he has been working on the children’s book for a couple of years. It is available through Amazon.com. Smith’s hit song “Mayberry” was recorded by Rascal Flatts.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com