Quilt mural adds color to West Virginia town

In this recent photo, from left, Elkins Elkins Mayor Van Broughton, artist Kiana Hartman. Deborah and Jeff Welshonce, Space-ial Places Storage Units owners, pose by a mural Hartman painted in Elkins, W.Va. Hartman spent the better part of a year creating the quilt mural on the wall of Space-ial Places Storage Units. (Tim MacVean/Daily Inter-Mountain via AP)

By TIM MACVEAN, The Inter-Mountain
ELKINS, W.Va. (AP) — Kiana Hartman, 21, spent the better part of a year — using more than a dozen different colors — to create a quilt mural at Space-ial Places Storage Units on Randolph Avenue in Elkins.
“I kind of went by a design that I found online and went by it myself. I actually added to both sides so we weren’t really going for a specific design when we started,” Hartman explained.
Hartman added the storage facility owners, Jeff and Deborah Welshonce, had wanted something painted on the wall and she was introduced to them through Elkins Make it Shine representatives.
“It was Merllene Yorkey and Melodee Price through Elkins Make it Shine that introduced us. They said they wanted this done so we started talking and made it work,” Hartman said.
“Melodee talked to Merllene and Merllene put me in touch with Kiana,” Jeff Welshonce added.
Jeff Welshonce said he believed the mural would be something colorful that residents would like to see as they travel through town.
“We just thought it would beautify the wall and it seemed like a lot of people in town were putting up and making quilts,” he said.
Hartman and Welshonce agreed the idea to make the mural a quilt stemmed from the Elkins Main Street Downtown Heritage Quilt Trail concept, which features paintings of quilts affixed to downtown businesses.
Hartman said between pursuing her education and career, the project took roughly a year to complete.
“Between being in nursing school and Elkins weather, it was probably a little over a year, I’d say,” she said. “Once I finished nursing school and could really get started on it, just a few months to finish it up.”
Elkins Mayor Van Broughton said he believes the addition of the mural shows a real community spirit between citizens and property owners.
“It’s another win-win for the community. It shows the pride that the citizens and property owners have taken into Elkins,” Broughton said. “It’s about working together and it’s exciting the direction we are going in.”
Hartman said her boyfriend, Dan Richardson, and her grandmother, Corrine Hartman, both helped her with the project.
She added she also has painted a dumpster at Riverbend Park.
Hartman said anyone interested in having a painting done can reach her on her Facebook page.
“I haven’t had anyone ask me to do anything else yet, but, of course, if it comes up, I’m more than willing to because I really enjoy it,” she said.
Hartman said she has been painting since she was a small child.
“I have always been drawing and doodling since I was really young because I really enjoy art,” Hartman said.
Information from: The Inter-Mountain, http://www.theintermountain.com