FAIRMONT, W.Va – Fairmont State University art students are working to beautify their community.  

A class offered by the university allows students to work with different Marion County organizations to create an art concept and then bring it to life. Currently, students are painting boards that will sit in the windows of the old Fairmont YMCA building. 

Draft of what the finished product will look like at the old Fairmont YMCA building (WBOY Image)

The design was done by student Madison Knight who said she was inspired by the natural beauty of West Virginia and the golden hour right before sunset when the sun hits the trees and buildings. She thinks the project will help brighten up Fairmont.  

Madison putting the final touches on some of the art panels (WBOY Image)

“I’ve always wanted to do community art because I myself am from Clarksburg. I was born and raised there, and I was around all these people that were phenomenal artist, and you just haven’t really seen that in Clarksburg. So, to be able to just do it in general it’s just really exciting to be able to say ‘yeah I did that for my community,’” Knight said.  

This is the second semester the university has offered the course and its teacher, Joel Dugan, hopes to continue to offer it in the future.  

“For me, this is just a great opportunity to offer a service to the community that helps to use art in a way to hopefully start a conversation about revitalization about viewing our community through a different lens,” said Dugan, who is also the chair for Fairmont State’s Art & Architecture and Design Department.  

The class is a way to offer students real-life experience for those that are considering a career as an artist. It also serves as a unique way to display students’ work outside of the typical art galleries.  

Dugan helping students map out their next brush strokes (WBOY Image)

“This is a great opportunity to try to build respect and also acknowledgment for what the arts can do. So, it empowers the students, it empowers the community and it creates what I think is the best exchange with it as possible which is an opportunity to uplift cultural understandings of what our community is and who we serve,” Dugan said.  

All the paint and supplies for this project have been donated to the class by community members. 

The class’s next community art project will be painting a mural for the Disability Action Center in Fairmont.