WEEasked some simple questions — and your neighbors, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, even some strangers, answered. Get to know them a little bit better with our fun series, “WEEasked.” Look for it a couple of times a month, most likely on Mondays. Do you have someone you’d like to see featured? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and please be sure to put WEEasked in the subject line.
When my family and I moved to Poplar Avenue on a cold January day in 1994, we were privileged to gain a wonderful set of neighbors. Anne Foreman, her husband Noel, and their six children — the youngest of which, Will, was my son Leland’s kindergarten buddy.
Will told his mom one day that his best friend was moving next door. She didn’t quite believe him — not until that “adorable little boy,” (Anne’s words) came knocking on the door one afternoon.
Coincidentally, we moved from a big, old Victorian house on Wheeling Island — a house that had been deeded to Anne Cummins Hazlett in 1885. Hazlett, who was Anne Hazlett Foreman’s grandmother, grew up in that home at 304 S. Front St. Anne has told me that some of the paintings in her Poplar Avenue home probably graced the walls of 304 S. Front St. at one time.
And speaking of painting, Anne is one amazing artist who has made quite a name for herself in the local art world and beyond.
She put her artistic talents aside for many years — after graduating from Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy and attending Wheeling College and Chatham College in Pittsburgh — to marry and raise her six children. But about 25 years ago, she picked up the brush again.
One of her first projects was a dinosaur mural for Will’s bedroom. Since then, she’s illustrated books for several local historians, has artwork throughout the country in private homes, and one of her paintings, “Little Drummer Boy,” is hanging in Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. It won first place in a national Daughters of the American Revolution contest, which she says is the “best award” she’s ever received.
Other awards include first place at Oglebay Institute’s Crosscurrents exhibit; first place in drawing at the Waterford, Va., annual Arts Festival; merit and honorable mention prizes at Steubenville Art Association’s annual show and Bethany College art show.
Pet portraits and drawings and paintings of local historical figures are her favorite subjects.
Anne has served as chairman of the Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum Committee; served two terms and was vice president of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation; served on the Oglebay Institute Board of Directors (and was co-chair with yours truly of the Board Benefit for several years); has been a member of Artworks Around Town for 20 years, having served on the board for the first four years; served on the board of Fort Henry Days; and was on the Wheeling Hall of Fame board. She’s also a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
Always generous, she has donated many works of historical subjects to area groups including West Virginia Independence Hall, Oglebay Insitute, Linsly School Archives, Ohio County Public Library and Artworks Around Town. Three of her murals depicting life at Fort Henry during the 1700s can be viewed in the Fort Henry Room at Wilson Lodge, Oglebay.
Anne also loves family gatherings, making jewelry, reading and gardening (her garden is a sight to behold!).
Here’s what Anne answered when WEEasked:
Can you address this statement: “The arts are alive and well in Wheeling.” Is it true? If so, how?
It’s TRUE, and I believe the Centre Market area including Artworks Around Town and Towngate have been responsible for the burgeoning creative scene in downtown Wheeling.
What book is on your nightstand or e-reader right now?
“Among Other Things,” essays by son Robert Long Foreman. (Editor’s note: worth a read!)
If you could be the best at anything in the world, what would it be?
I would be the best mother/grandmother/caregiver in the world. Everything else is just frivolous. The artist part of me takes second place to the nurturer.
What’s your favorite Wheeling neighborhood and why?
I have to say, it’s Woodsdale. It’s where I grew up on Echo Point Circle, where I raised my six children (Shady Lane and then Poplar Avenue for the past 45 years) and where I am ensconced with a house big enough for all of my children, plus dogs, to come home to visit. Good friends next door and two wood-burning fireplaces, one inside and one on the deck. Woodsdale is a historically recognized neighborhood, originally developed in the first part of the 20th century. The homes represent most of the styles that were popular during this building phase — everything from late Victorian, Georgian, to Arts and Crafts.
Tell us something that would surprise Weelunk readers about you?
I don’t understand cats, but I love to paint them.
What is your wish for Wheeling?
That Wheeling can realize its potential as a historical destination. A re-created Fort Henry should be built. Our Revolutionary history is incredibly unique and, with the correct interpretation, the fort and supporting buildings (exhibit area, gift shop, etc.) would be great draws for those interested in our past.