Annual Report

Hampshire County Arts Council

2002 - 2003

Given on March 14, 2003


Barrelhouse Bonni and Joe Hermann were some of the Arts Council members providing entertainment at our Annual Meeting.


Since we met a year ago, your Arts Council has been alive and well, thanks to the support of a whole lot of people and businesses. As we recap the past year's activities, keep in mind that everything we have accomplished has resulted from the hard work of committee chairs and members. We always welcome willing hands to help…Just check our Volunteer Page. This past year the library asked us to set up monthly displays by local artists on their upstairs balcony, and Bess Rexroad has coordinated a steady showcase of impressive local talent. Be sure to check it out whenever you stop by the library.

Last April our Ice Mountain Writers joined forces with award-winning poet Eddy Pendarvis for an evening of readings and music after taking her to spend a day in two elementary schools, thanks to help from Title I funding arranged by Deb Hartsock.

In May we enjoyed another Coffeehouse at Taggart Hall with by Colleen Anderson and George Castelle, Michael Hasty and a humorous reading by Nancy Judd. We also sponsored a performance by Lonesome Highway. Beginning with that show, HCAC members receive a discount on admission to our events.

June brought our 6th Annual Herb & Arts Gathering on the grounds of Taggart Hall with workshops and music by Annie Wenz. For the first of our Free Summer Concerts on the Lawn at The Potomac Center, we heard Bob Zentz with Songs of the Sea. The Summer Concerts were again generously sponsored by the Bank of Romney. The periodic Arts Alerts by e-mail started a year ago in June have become more regular and more thorough. I hope all who receive them will find plenty of arts activities of interest.

July brought the songs of Stephen Foster performed by Mick Souter. We learned that WV Commission on the Arts dealt with their flat funding and too many applicants by declining a good bit of our request for the season. Thanks to some great individual supporters who dug deep in their pockets to help us with the costs not covered by our grant. Summer art camp took to the air in July with the theme "Art is in the Air", under the able guidance of camp coordinator, Nancy Judd, and with much assistance from a host of member volunteers. Pictures and poems from camp appear on our website.

In August we had-amazingly-sweltering heat, but those who braved it were treated to a dynamic performance by Blues Works, who many have said they'd like to have back. The Regional Arts Assembly we planned for didn't come to fruition, but we meet twice during the year with representatives from arts organizations in the surrounding counties, continuing its efforts to tap nearby resources that can work to our community's benefit on the arts front.Our website,, marked its first birthday and webmaster, Isabel Plowright keeps making it ever-better, with features like the photo journal of member Sibyl MacKenzie's painting of the fantastic mural at the library. Isabel updates regularly, with info about coming performers, so make a point of visiting the site often.

September took HCAC into the schools with performances by the folk duo Magpie, despite not receiving an Arts In Education grant. Our participation on the GEAR UP resource committee paid off with GEAR UP funding to help fill the gap. With help from the Hampshire Historical Society, First National Bank of Romney,and Sam and Joe Herrmann, their program was made available at no charge to the general community on Saturday of Heritage Days.Also during Heritage Days came our visual arts highlight of the year, our 8th Annual Fall Fine Art Show, took place at The Bank of Romney Community Center, supported by a pool of awards that topped $1,000 in recognition of excellence. Several works were purchased by pleased viewers to grace their homes, and many of the award winners were photographed for a slide show on our website-if you missed the show, check it out there. In late September Harmonia wowed a good crowd with music from Eastern Europe. They fully lived up to the high praise from Shepherdstown Music and Dance Society that recommended them to us. That concert did not receive grant support, so we were especially grateful to the Augusta Animal Hospital and the Romney Moose Lodge for covering the gap between what First National Bank of Romney had already committed as sponsor and the total cost of the performance. Many people have told me they'd love it if we could bring Harmonia back again. In follow up to the homage held in September 2001 to fiddler Israel Welch, who taught and influenced so many of the old time music players in Hampshire County and surrounding area, a CD was recorded and sold to raise funds for an Israel Welch scholarship to nurture the continuation of his tradition here in our community.

With November came another Java & Jazz Coffeehouse featuring the jazz guitar of Micah Burgess. We moved to The Bottling Works due to an exhibit in the space at Taggart Hall. HCAC representatives met with nearby arts organizations in Berkeley Springs to discuss mutual interests. We continued making good use of the Eastern WV Arts Board e-mail forum for exchanging information with our neighbors. One result of these collaborations is that Hampshire County has been included in Morgan Arts Council's Challenge America Grant.

For our annual holiday gathering in December Eileen Eddis invited everyone to her house to socialize.

This year our February Cabin Fever Concert couldn't have been more aptly named. Those who were able to get out found the eclectic sounds of Nordika very satisfying. It was again sponsored by First National Bank of Romney. The month also accommodated our Annual Hampshire County Artists display at the Library. And a special committee worked to select the winner of the Israel Welch Scholarship, Dakota Hobbie.

Winners of the Hampshire County Young Writers Contest read their work at our Annual Meeting in March.


The sketch group has been meeting each month, and growing, with several new members as a result. Ice Mountain Writers have also continued collaborating each month and a Photographers Group started up to satisfy the needs of another niche of talent in our midst. So we now have three interest groups nurturing members in their particular artistic pursuits.

Tapping the talents of yet another interest in our midst, work started on an Arts Council Quilt coordinated by Nancy Judd with much help from Carol Hobbs, quilter extraordinaire. The next quilting bee will be April 12, with several ladies expected to be with us from 10-2 pm. When it is finished we'll have a raffle to benefit HCAC's activities.Our year ended with submission of grant applications for the coming season, which starts in July. And I'm pleased to note, with guidance from our treasurer, Isabel Plowright, we are in sound financial condition.

A few other developments in the past year demonstrate your arts council is becoming a valued part of the community. The Loy Foundation invited HCAC to have a seat on their governing board. Nancy Judd currently represents us and provides input from HCAC on the developing plan for The Bottling Works facility, which is expected to include art displays and use for performances.
The Arts Council also has a designated seat on the board of the newly formed Hampshire County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in recognition of the valuable contribution the arts can make to attracting tourism. We have also participated since November 2001 on the Hampshire 250 Planning Committee, which now is officially a committee of the Visitors Bureau.
And recently the Hampshire County Public Library approached the Arts Council for assistance as it embarks on a plan to put an arts addition onto the Romney library that is expected to have both gallery space for displaying artworks and performance space as well. These are all promising developments that say our Arts Council has had an impact that is appreciated and respected. Not bad for our first decade!

Hampshire County musicians
Hampshire County musicians