Regionally acclaimed textile artist says ART26201 inspired her to create Buckhannon’s newest piece of public art

BUCKHANNON – An award-winning West Virginia artist’s largest project ever was installed at the corner of East Main and Kanawha Streets Friday.

Regionally acclaimed textile artist Suzan Morgan and Fish Hawk Acres teamed up to display a new public art project overlooking Buckhannon’s downtown area April 29.

The completed installation / Photo courtesy Suzan Morgan

“It started off as my inspiration – I kept seeing those windows, those bricked-in windows – and I was definitely inspired by the work of ART26201, with all the public art they’ve sponsored in Buckhannon,” Morgan said Friday. “I kept looking at those bricked-up windows, and then the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History opened up a grant program for public art for artists, so I just approached Dale (Hawkins, owner of Fish Hawk Acres), and he was immediately excited about it, so I created the art, he approved it, we spent the money and here we are.”

The art features images in five of the bricked-in windows displayed on the side of the building.

“I’m inspired by the little things about our town, and I think that art is all the little things,” Morgan said. “It’s all from photographs that I took around town, like fire hydrants and utility poles and cars parked on Main Street. I took photographs of all the things that are up there, translated them into fabric, printed them myself with a screen onto fabric, and then had it reproduced on vinyl to put up.”

As a textile artist, Morgan hand-dyes and hand-prints every piece of fabric she uses in her artwork and does not utilize commercial fabric. An Upshur County resident since 1988, she learned to dye, print and screen on fabric at the Oregon College of Art & Craft.

“I’ve never done anything so large, and I was nervous about how it would translate,” Morgan said. “I had to envision it in my head, look up there and try to picture it in my mind, and I am happy with how it came out.”

She said her favorite of the five images is the piece with the moon, Earth and sun.

“It has the courthouse dome from the Upshur County courthouse on the top image, the columns are from the Poling St. Clair Funeral Home there – the one close to Chapel Hill,” Morgan said. “I hope people will think about Buckhannon and what a great place it is to live and what an art-centric community we are. I hope they learn even the little details can be turned into art; they can be beautiful, whether it’s a fire hydrant or a utility pole.”

A reception to celebrate the new public art project took place at 6 p.m. Friday following the installation.

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