CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — After deciphering through many talented applicants, The West Virginia Community Development Hub has chosen Joel Dugan to commission a mural for the Kelly Miller Community Center in downtown Clarksburg.

Joel Dugan working on the Palatine Park mural in 2020.

Joel Dugan is no stranger to public art. Currently an assistant art professor and the Department Chair of Architecture, Art, and Design at Fairmont State University, Dugan has completed massive works like the mural at the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan during his college career, the most recent Palatine Park mural in 2020, and the downtown Mannington oil and gas mural in 2021.

Dugan and his students working on the Palatine Park mural in 2020.

The Kelly Miller Community Center mural will be in honor of Mary Hunt for the community work she accomplished before retirement as Community Economic Development Senior Program Director with The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. 12 News spoke with Joel Dugan about his take on the building.

“What an outstanding structure that has meant so much to so many people throughout its’ existence. In many ways, it was a lighthouse or a beacon that presented opportunities for education to a group of marginalized minorities throughout the state that really traveled a long distance just to be a part of that facility,” Dugan said.

The Kelly Miller Community Center was once a segregated school only serving African Americans, now, it is a facility that harbors space and activities to engage and connect the Clarksburg community.

Dugan said that he has spoken with elders and current youth associated with the facility, as well as Mary Hunt herself to help decipher the design that will go on the building, “it’s important to me to meet with all three of those entities and find threads that can marry together some of the commitments, the resilience and in many ways, the hope that was left from being a part of that community,” Dugan said.

Dugan and associates working on Mannington mural in 2021.

The mural will be painted by Dugan and his art students at Fairmont State University on aluminum panels that will be installed to face Main Street in Clarksburg. Painting begins in May with the reveal set for the beginning of June. Dugan and his students will also be painting the W.I.C. office in Fairmont and the Union Mission building in Clarksburg over the course of the summer.

The reveal is set for the beginning of June with the Kelly Miller Community Center and the commission for the Union Mission building in Clarksburg will begin directly after.

Dugan said that he’d like to extend the projects in downtown Clarksburg to help restore the history of the community, “I think if we’re going to really rewrite the way that the general populous sees West Virginia and Appalachian people, I think we just have to make sure we enrich our story a little bit more,” Dugan said. “There’s a great story here of people that overcame so many struggles but still kept community in mind when they pledged their commitment to others.”