Art & Culture

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, if you live in or have ever been to Morgantown, West Virginia, you’ve probably driven over or near the Monongahela River -- or, as some people pronounce it, Mononga-HAY-la. 

So, which is the correct way to say it? And where does the name come from, anyway?

On a recent episode of Inside Appalachia, guest host Glynis Board explains -- in our series called “What’s in a Name.”

Coutesy of Joe Turner

The jet dropped like a silvery stone out of the sky overtop West Virginia’s capital city. It evened out just over the Kanawha River and roared down its length, water flashing in the jet’s wake. 

Crazily, the pilot charged toward a bridge over the river. Was he going to pull up?

Joseph Ellis Turner, age 11, watched in awe as the jet dashed under the bridge, not over it.


Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Wheeling's Jewish community got together over the weekend to celebrate 170 years of faith and service in the Northern Panhandle. Rabbi Joshua Lief grew up in Wheeling’s congregation. He says despite challenges throughout the region, he’s proud to be a part of a legacy of resilient, caring people with deep, multi-generational roots in the Mountain State.


Farragutful / wikimedia Commons

The Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has announced new efforts to improve financial transparency and accountability. The announcement this week comes in the wake of reports of excessive spending by the former Bishop Michael Bransfield.


Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In June, 2017, West Virginia University Medicine was studying a little-known approach to cancer treatment called narrative medicine. The aim was to improve the treatment experience for doctors and patients alike through storytelling. We met and followed a cancer patient, Lacie Wallace, who was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer.

The art of storytelling has had lasting effects for her family and community. Almost two years later, we pick up her story again. A group of artists in Wheeling recently made good on a promise to Lacie and the two daughters she had to leave behind.


Brittany Patterson / WVPB

A collaborative art exhibit at West Virginia University focuses on one of the state’s most abundant resources -- water. It also celebrates the many women who protect it.

Featuring brightly colored panels covering wide swaths of the downtown campus library’s walls, “WATER: Exploring the Significance, Power and Play of Life’s Critical Resource” explores the state’s rivers and wetland ecosystems, celebrates the art and recreation opportunities afforded by water, and explores challenges and solutions facing the state’s water resources.


Rebecca Kiger

In addition to musical artists, a recent Wheeling event — Hip Hop: A Black Tie Affair — featured visual artists such as photographer Rebecca Kiger. Kiger photographed members of the hip hop community including the artist Joshua Lamar Pethtel — also known as Poetic Peth.  Kiger and Pethtel sat down to talk about creating art in the Ohio Valley, and how a photographer and a rap artist collaborate.


Caitlin Tan

West Virginia Public Theatre is hosting professional actors and musicians this week in Morgantown. They’re rehearsing a new musical based on a novel about life in the coal camps of southern West Virginia leading up to the historic Battle of Blair Mountain. Authors and musicians aim to highlight the sacrifices that laid the groundwork for the modern labor movement.


Reclamation Day: 'Fallout 76' Released to the Public

Nov 14, 2018
Bethesda Game Studios

Imagine a world devastated by nuclear war. You’re one of a handful of lucky survivors who took shelter before the bombs fell and destroyed civilization as we know it. Your Vault-Tec bomb shelter is well-stocked and secure. You and your fellow survivors could live in the vault for years, decades even.

Jim Antonini, an occupational health science researcher, fields a ball at shortstop for Chico's Bail Bonds. As team captain, Antonini is in charge of the always-entertaining game write-ups that recap the misery suffered by the Morgantown softball team.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As we head into the final weeks of summer, this week on Inside Appalachia we explore the impact of baseball throughout the region. We’ll learn about the history of early baseball in the coal camp towns of southern West Virginia, and go inside the legendary baseball bat factory — the Louisville Sluggers. And we’ll meet a man who went from living in an isolated timber town in Pocahontas County, West Virginia to being a professional umpire for the Cincinnati Reds.

Joe O'Connell

Historically, the Catawba River Valley in North Carolina is pottery country. The Reinhardt family worked here for generations, making utilitarian pots for farmers.  Now, Michael Gates is building on his ancestors’ work. Gates has always been creative, but it took him a while to find his calling as an artist. 


comedian John Oliver performs at the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit in New York. A West Virginia judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against HBO host John Oliver brought by coal company Murray Energy.
Brent N. Clarke / AP file photo

A West Virginia judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by coal company Murray Energy against HBO host John Oliver.

A segment of Oliver’s Sunday show “Last Week Tonight” in June poked fun at Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who blames regulatory efforts by the Obama administration for damaging the coal industry. Oliver said the 77-year-old looked like a “geriatric Dr. Evil.”

courtesy photo

Folk artists, musicians, and chefs across the mountain state will be teaching their crafts to apprentices during 2018, as part of a new project by the West Virginia Folklife Program -- a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council. The Humanities Council selected five master artist and apprentice pairs, including salt rising bakers, gospel musicians, and Appalachian fiddlers.

courtesy Derek Akal

This is chapter four of Derek Akal’s Struggle to Stay. In the first chapter, we met a young man from Harlan County, Kentucky, who thought a college football scholarship was going to be his ticket out. But a serious neck injury led Derek to drop out and move back home.

Benny Becker/ WMMT

Derek Akal, 22, grew up in the famed coalfields of Harlan County, Kentucky. He’s a bit over six feet tall, he’s black, and he has an athlete’s build. Neat curls of black hair rise off the top of his head, and on his chin, he keeps a closely-trimmed mustache and goatee.

I first interviewed Derek in October 2016. At that time, he said he was trying to become a Kentucky state trooper, but also making plans to move to Texas to work on an oil rig. 


USDA/ Daniel Boone National Forest

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we visit communities impacted by creation of flood-control lakes. Like the Village of Lilly, where back in the 1940s, about 40 families were pushed off their land along the Bluestone River in Summers County, West Virginia. Many of these families had lived there for more than 200 years. 

Inside Appalachia Host Jessica Lilly has deep roots to this community, as we hear in this episode. 

Commentary: Rebirth of a Nation -- The Klan’s Long Shadow Falls in Charlottesville

Aug 14, 2017
A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of victim, Heather Heyer, sits in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

Hours after white supremacists' violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors killing one woman and leaving scores hospitalized, President Trump read a strategically vague, equivocal statement from his private golf club in New Jersey.

Catholic News Agency

A Roman Catholic diocese has closed two Catholic schools in a West Virginia county this year, citing low enrollment.

Local news outlets report the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announced Thursday that All Saints Catholic School in Moundsville will not reopen for the 2017-2018 school year. The announcement follows the closure of Bishop Donahue High School.

Isabella Scafidi

As a young man Steve Scafidi hungered "for something like magnificence." Or so he explained when asked by Marc Harshman how he came to writing poetry. 

"I found it reading aloud some Walt Whitman one evening and I never quit," Scafidi said in conversation with Harshman. "I remember thinking to myself, 'my life is changing here but don't make a big deal out of this -- just follow the thread of it.' And I did."

Scafidi is a cabinet maker in the Eastern Panhandle. He encourages aspiring writers to do more than write, so that metaphors may be discovered and writing enriched with life.

He was a featured poet in the Wheeling Poetry Series. He spoke with Harshman and delivered some of his published poems. 

Emily Hilliard/ WV Folklife Program

Along Davis Creek, in Loudendale, WV, outside of Charleston, there’s a long green building on the side of the road with the words “Charleston Broom and Mop Co.” painted on the side. That building is the workshop of James Shaffer, who at age 87, is the last hand-made commercial broom maker in the state. He first learned the trade in 1946, meaning he’s been making brooms for 70 years.

Marc Harshman, poet laureate of West Virginia has just seen his second full length collection of poetry published by the Vandalia Press at West Virginia University called Believe What You Can

WVU

Hundreds of digital photographs from former Sen. Jay Rockefeller's archives have been released.

The 1,500 photos are available at the website of West Virginia University Libraries' West Virginia & Regional History Center. The photos document moments from Rockefeller's 30 years in the U.S. Senate, beginning with his first swearing-in ceremony in 1985.

A sculpture of John Henry by S.L. Jones at the Art Museum of West Virginia University.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

When you think of classic fine art, works by Picasso, Monet and Dali may spring to mind. Art from Appalachia doesn’t tend to feature much in the mind’s eye. But that might change if you visit the Art Museum of West Virginia University.

More than 100 works from 25 Appalachian artists are on display at the museum. The exhibit was decades in the making and spans everything from sculpture to paintings and baskets.

On this week's episode, we’ll hear from a midwife who started delivering babies in the early 1970's. We find out what it’s like to deliver a baby at home. And we speak with one doctor about why she opposes home birth. We also visit a famous hippie commune in Appalachia that's said to be the birthplace of modern midwifery.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, reporter Anne Li visits one of the towns devastated by last month’s flood to find out how many residents there had flood insurance and host Beth Vorhees talks with the Executive Director of the Tamarack Foundation about a recent study of the state’s artisan community. 

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

ArtVoiceWV is a new collection of artist videos and corresponding art lesson plans on West Virginia LearningMedia.  After receiving positive reviews of our In the Making Collection, a similar project which

May 20, 1922: Artist Della Brown Taylor Hardman Born in Charleston

May 20, 2016
Dr. Della Brown Taylor Hardman
e-WV Encyclopedia

Artist Della Brown Taylor Hardman was born in Charleston on May 20, 1922. After graduating from Charleston’s segregated Garnet High School, she attended West Virginia State College (now University) at Institute and Boston University. For 30 years, she was an art professor at West Virginia State.

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

One Big Family was written for very young readers over two decades ago, but didn't find it's way to print until this year. West Virginia poet laureate Marc Harshman's book celebrates family togetherness by describing a classic summer family reunion.

On West Virginia Morning a southern West Virginia businessman who moved to Pennsylvania to take advantage of the natural gas drilling boom is closing his clothing store because the boom is now a bust.  Also, Glynis Board reports from the Ohio Valley Hip Hop Awards.

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting - Telling West Virginia's story.

Kate Long

West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman delivers the poetry of his predecessor in this Poetry Break. Irene McKinney was a remarkable woman, greatly admired as a poet and teacher, " Harshman said. "She was the kind of poet who could accomplish in a few seconds that deep trust with her readers that compel them to follow her words."