From Staff Reports
Artisans are now being sought for the new White Oak Artisans Gallery to be located in the White Oak Depot at the Corner of Virginia St. and Central Ave. in Oak Hill. A meeting of all artisans interested in being juried into the gallery has been set for Saturday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Oak Hill Fire Department to distribute artisan applications and to also begin the jury process.
The first 30 artisans accepted will enjoy Charter Member status in the organization. Artisans will need to bring a sample of their work with them to this meeting either as actual items or detailed pictures if their items are too big to comfortably bring along.
Those who wish to fill out paperwork in advance are asked to contact Susan Craun at 304-719-8885, on Facebook under White Oak Depot, or e-mail her at email@example.com for an application.
A second meeting of the folks interested in the White Oak Depot was held Saturday, Feb. 2 at the fire department. With so much to do in such a short time, interested folks began volunteering for the different operational committees.
The Finance Committee will be headed by White Oak Chapter, NRHS, Treasurer Paula Murdock with Adrienne Ratliff-Hughes as fundraising coordinator and Susan Craun as gallery manager. Robert Sanger, Cindy Whitlock and Renda Morris, all having experience in the areas of accounting and grants, will be valuable advisors to this committee. The group is actively seeking donations of money, time and/or materials to be used toward the matching grants that are currently being sought.
The Building Improvements Committee, headed by White Oak Chapter President Ray Murdock III and Eugene Ratliff, is busy making a list of everything that will be needed to get the depot in tip-top shape for opening day, May 4. Top priorities include a new handicapped-accessible bathroom, boardwalk ramp and a dog watering station all available for use by patrons of the rail trail.
A work day has been set (weather permitting) for Saturday, Feb. 9 starting at 10 a.m. Future projects will include finishing the wiring, installing display lighting, painting, building display cases, storage boxes, shelving, signage, walkways, benches, landscaping and repairing the broken rails and railway bed.
If you are interested in joining committee members Orville Thomas, David Bragg, Ed Craun and Cindy Whitlock, please contact Eugene Ratliff at 304-640-0304. Anyone wishing to donate fixtures or construction supplies should call Ratliff or Ray Murdock III at 304-465-3182.
Robert Sanger and Allen Burnside are interested in the preservation of the heritage of the depot and as members of the Heritage Committee they are actively seeking like-minded individuals to help oversee the display of railway artifacts and the historical interpretation of the depot. By looking at the guidelines and agreements that are currently in place at other area interpretive centers, they will be setting up similar ways to insure the future of donated or loaned museum pieces.
The committee also would like to continue the work started by the late Isabelle Tyree to honor area people who have worked in the railroad industry or at the White Oak Depot by displaying the plaques that she had been working on. Plaques designating the depot’s recognized place on the National Registry of Historical Places are also being sought from the National Park Service and the National Railway Historical Society.
David Bragg has been elected chairman of the Artisans Gallery Committee which includes Eugene Ratliff, Cindy Whitlock and Wendy Golten. Anyone wishing to help in any way with the gallery such as clerking, serving as hosts and hostesses, conducting demonstrations or classes, publicity, marketing, display, gardening, maintenance or housekeeping should contact Bragg at 304-573-5683 or gallery manager Susan Craun at 304-719-8885. Anyone who might have an old trunk or display case that you would like to donate to help with displays is also welcome to call. Artisans also may contact the individuals listed or attend the next meeting on Feb. 16 to begin the membership process.
Cindy Whitlock and Renda Morris have also agreed to be advisors on the advertising committee, along with Susan Craun and Adrienne Ratliff-Hughes. White Oak Depot now has a page on Facebook where all information about the depot meetings, future events and comments will be posted. The committee is in immediate need of ways to get the word out as quickly as possible about new ventures, therefore anyone who would like to help with brochures, rack cards and a website may contact Susan Craun as soon as possible.
Anyone who is interested in the rejuvenation efforts ongoing at the depot who is not necessarily a train buff or an artisan can still be a vital part of the endeavors by becoming a “Friend of the White Oak Depot.” Being a Friend will keep you informed of all happenings through the monthly newsletter and also special future privileges as well. Introductory dues will be $10 a year for Friends if you have e-mail, or $22 if you need a printed copy of the newsletter.
Membership in the White Oak Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society is $47 per year ($39/national, $8/local) and adding $7 will include your spouse. Youth, ages 5-12, also may join at a cost of $7 per year and students, 13-24 years of age, pay $24 for their national and local dues. Friends of the Depot will have no connection to the national organization.
The membership chairman and editor of the White Oak Times would be glad to sign you up at the next meeting or you may call her at 304-573-8316.
Future events include chapter meetings the third Friday of each month at 7 p.m. and work days the second Saturday of each month starting at 10 a.m. Gallery and Heritage Center hours will be Wednesday through Saturday starting May 4, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with summer hours to follow after Memorial Day.
Plans for weekly craft demonstrations, classes and a farmers’ market are also in the works. Local musicians can also find a place to showcase their talents with monthly performances “On the Dock.” Plans for a USO show, fall festival, murder mystery dinner, wheels along the trail, and supper with Santa will be added to the list of returning events such as Oak Leaf Festival Depot Days, Rail Trail Trunk or Treat, Haunted Depot and the White Oak Rail Trail Expo.
If you have an interest in any of the future events, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the committee members at the phone numbers listed, write to the group on Facebook, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org