Kristen Colebank is back offering a new three-part series of watercolor classes for HCAC. “Watercolor lies at the confluence of pigment and paper, a study I’ve been devoted to for several years,”  Kristen writes in the introduction on her website, and she says she enjoys sharing this study with her students so they can find success on their creative journeys.

“Know Your Watercolor Pigments” is the first session and will consist of exercises and activities to learn how pigments behave, their characteristics, etc., which is invaluable for knowing how they will work together when mixing colors and achieving special effects.

The second session is “Wet and Wild,” where exercises and some loose suggested landscapes will encourage students to let their colors and washes mingle on paper. Kristen offers this session as she has observed that “this is the number one thing I’ve seen from developing watercolor painters…. they are hesitant about getting enough water into their mixes and letting the water do its thing, and that’s really where the magic of this medium lives.”

Lastly, “Bits and Pieces of the Landscape” (which will be organized as a Saturday workshop) will examine typical elements of a landscape painting — skies, trees, grassy areas, and bricks and stone — and students will learn strategies for painting those subjects.

The three sessions together are designed as a next step for those who have had some previous experience with watercolors and will provide students with a toolbox of skills they can apply to their own projects. (Don’t worry if you feel like a beginner, 

Students will bring their own watercolor materials (a list of suggested supplies will be provided in advance).

The first two sessions are set for Tuesday afternoons, Sept. 12 and 19, from 4 to 6:30 pm in Studio 203 in the Brannon Building on the WVSDB Campus in Romney. The third session will be a workshop in Room 203 on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a half-hour lunch break. Fees for the classes are: Session 1 – $30, session 2 – $30, and the session 3 workshop – $55. The separate costs are offered for those who can’t commit to all three sessions. To have the full experience, a discount package price is offered for all sessions at $90.

To learn more about Kristen and her artwork, go to

For more information or to register for the classes, email or call Dale at 304.834.8369.

An event on August 26, 2023, honoring Delegate and Reverend Marlin Lane Rankin, the alumnus of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind went very well and was well-attended.   Melanie Hesse, the Dean of Students/Principal emceed the event.  The auditorium in the Brannon Building is now officially Marlin Lane Rankin Hall; the portrait of Rankin by Nancy Judd was unveiled and will be mounted at the hall; and the geocache honoring Rankin was officially activated.  There was much cheering for these activities and throughout the ceremony.  

Pastor Rob Vaughan of Romney Presbyterian church, which has a connection with Reverend Marlin Lane Rankin who periodically preached there, gave a prayer to formally open the ceremony. Additionally, the school’s choir, Tapestry, sang and communicated by sign language a heartwarming rendition of their school song; the Honeybees beautifully performed the suffragist song, “Warrior;” and historical background was provided by Luanne Smith and through Mayor Beverly Keadle’s Town of Romney Proclamation.  


Videos from our two U.S. Senators fit well with the presentations and were well-received by the audience.  
Melanie Hesse addressed the “Who Are You Issue,” regarding Marlin Lane Rankin’s name that was incorrectly listed in the West Virginia Blue Book of 1920.  
The final presentation was given by Melanie Hesse, who introduced the audience to geocaching, explained that a geocache walking tour had been developed highlighting the town of Romney’s role in ratifying the 19th amendment, and proudly announced the school’s first geocache, which has been made accessible to the blind.  The cache, entitled “Marlin Lane Rankin and the 19th Amendment,” will ensure he will be remembered long into the future, and fittingly it was found later August 26th by two students from the school – finding their first geocache – who attended the ceremony.  
To end the event, as the right to vote was a central theme, attendees not yet registered to vote were invited to register at a table that was set up for that purpose; two students enthusiastically did so.  
A relative of Marlin Lane Rankin was able to participate through the school’s live streaming of the event.   The school provided delicious refreshments, and the Town of Romney contributed the beautiful floral arrangement.  The school videotaped the event, which can be seen at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Facebook page under videos.    
The planning group for the event consisted of Melanie Hesse, the Dean of Students/Principal of the WVSDB, Mayor Beverly Keadle, Nancy Judd, and Luanne Smith, and we were all delighted with the results.  Our press release and other measures (including fans) to gain attendance drew attention to the event, which was well-attended.  Ken Caldwell provided a flyer to various organizations to publicize the event. The Hampshire Review published an article a few weeks prior to the event and helped publicize it with its weekend “What’s Happening” email that is sent to subscribers.  They also published an article after the event.  


Dale Brady helped with getting contact information to the WVSDB for their press release, which received attention in various WV News locations, including Jackson County, Rankin’s home county.  Now, when you search on Marlin Lane Rankin’s name, you’ll find his true name numerous times and with pictures (including a painting done by Nancy Judd) bearing his name.  

Two new exhibits by local artists are now available through the Art In Public Places program. V. Lynn Moore’s work is on display at The Bank of Romney on Main St. in Romney until February 24, and Kristen Colebank’s watercolors are offered at FNB Romney’s main office until February 22.  Most works are available for sale via directly contacting the artist.




Hampshire County Arts Council is looking for people who would like to teach or learn any and all of the arts. Dream the Big Dream and let us know what you would like to explore. Anyone can be a teacher – just have a desire to share your art with others. 

Beginning in 2023, the Arts Council will be offering classes in the Brannon Building on the WV Schools for the Deaf and Blind campus for students of all ages. 

To prime the pump, as it were, ideas for possible classes include painting (Oil, watercolor, acrylics), drawing, sculpture, papier-mâché, paper making, kite making (and flying), the fiber arts (weaving, spinning, quilt-making, knitting, embroidery and more), writing workshops, music lessons, dance, photography, quilling, alcohol ink art, seasonal decorations, basket making, theatre, film-making and more. 

While teachers are being found, people who want to learn a particular art could form a class and study on their own. There are many sources now between books and YouTube to teach oneself and working together with others can be very rewarding. 

One idea being thought about is to have a corner where art can be created from “trash,” especially bottles and cans, as well as recycling paper into woven baskets, decoupage and more. 

Times will also be set that people can gather to visit, work on art projects, make music, meet artists and find new friends. 

The classrooms are available any day of the week. And there is also studio space for artists to rent to work on projects that they might not have room for otherwise. 

If anyone would like to share their art through teaching or knows someone who would, please email Also, people who would like to learn about a particular art can send an email so that the Project Manager can look for the appropriate teacher. For more information on the Arts Council, their projects and how one becomes a member, explore this website.

The Hampshire County Arts Council Photography Group is now meeting at Romney Public Library in the AV room on the 2nd floor  the first Monday of every month between 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. starting January 2023.  If the Monday is a holiday, the meeting will be moved to the following Monday.  All levels of knowledge and experience in photography are welcome to join.
Each meeting a theme is selected for the member to photograph and then to bring in 3 matted prints to share and critique.  Here are the meeting dates and themes for January-June 2023:
January 9, 2023                                                            FOOD
February 6, 2023                                                           WRINKLES
March 6, 2023                                                               COLOR PURPLE
April 3, 2023                                                                  STRANGERS
May 1, 2023                                                                  RAIN
June 5, 2023                                                                 UMBRELLAS