Through the support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Wheeling Country Day School has been the site of a full-year teaching artist residency. Funds were made available to the school through Oglebay Institute and the Rural Arts Collaborative Arts Education Project — an initiative to deliver hands-on, project-based learning programs to schools.

Wheeling Country Day School hosted nationally known Japanese watercolorist Hiromi Katayama, who worked with third- and fifth-grade students, producing large connecting thematic panels of artwork created in the traditional Japanese watercolor method. Katayama has been recognized nationally for her unique, yet traditional style, incorporating lessons in Japanese culture during her teaching artist residencies in schools.

The finished artwork will be unveiled at a special reception set for 6:30–8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, at the future site of the Grow Ohio Valley Public Market, located in the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center at 1401 Main St., Wheeling.

The Public Market, planned to open later this year, will sell locally grown produce and natural foods to the Wheeling community. Once open, the market will eliminate a USDA-classified food desert and help grow a regional landscape of farmers growing healthy food.

Danny Swan, head farmer at Grow Ohio Valley, said, “We are so excited to have Ms. Katayama’s work here. Farming is where human intention intersects with natural beauty. Ms. Katayama’s art expresses the same. It’s a fine match for our mission. Her collaborative art fits beautifully with the community-led spirit of the Public Market.”

Elizabeth Hofreuter, head of school for Wheeling Country Day School said, “We were incredibly grateful to host Ms. Katayama for this experience, which was truly embraced by our children in third and fifth grades. During the project, our students were immersed in authentic learning of Japanese watercolor painting, and engaged in Japanese culture as well.”

Danielle Cross McCracken, president of Oglebay Institute remarked, “We are truly grateful to the Benedum Foundation and the Rural Arts Collaborative for providing us the opportunity to expand our reach even further into schools throughout the Ohio Valley. This program allows us to send teaching artists, like Ms. Katayama, into a school for a year-long residency where they work collaboratively to create a piece of public art to be displayed in the community. We are thrilled that the work developed by students at the Wheeling Country Day School residency will become a permanent part of the new Ohio Valley Grow location. Displaying this work in a public venue sends a positive message that education, creativity and collaboration are valued in Wheeling.”

James V. Denova, vice president of the Benedum Foundation stated, “The Benedum Foundation strives to fund promising art education programs across state lines. We are pleased to fund those that will robustly support existing arts education curriculum in schools, and positively enhance the community through installation of student artwork at public sites.”

Katayama and the fifth-grade class worked on a watercolor project which entails important historical structures located around Wheeling. The third-grade class project was based on a unit they covered through the year called mapping the U.S. Each class had the chance to mix and apply traditional Japanese watercolor pigment. Both works are vibrant in color and full of life. Wheeling Country Day School students and faculty were very excited having Katayama on campus for an entire year.



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