Parkersburg, W.Va. (Oct. 8, 2020) – The WVU Parkersburg Fine Arts Committee will lead a community-wide volunteer initiative to clean up the Wood County Poorhouse and Farm gravesite on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., on the WVU Parkersburg main campus, in honor of the college’s Poorhouse Week celebration.
Volunteers will pick up trash, trim bushes and trees interfering with gravesite markers, replace rotten crosses and put new crosses on unmarked graves. This is a socially-distanced event, and participants are required to wear masks during service.
WVU Parkersburg now sits on the former site of the Wood County Poorhouse, and the Fine Arts Committee focuses on the social justice-related themes of the Poorhouse to emphasize its historical value.
The committee honors the Poorhouse every year with the release of The Poorhouse Rag. This literary magazine contains the published works and art of students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families and addresses social and political marginalization and lack of equity in opportunity.
The Poorhouse Rag has also restarted the creative initiative on campus. Part of this initiative is offering education to combat poverty to create a more enriched community as a whole.
“The college catalog says we consider education a ‘sacred trust,'” Dr. Sandra Kolankiewicz, WVU Parkersburg professor, said. “We share the property with souls who have come and gone before us and who most likely suffered in their lives.”
The Fine Arts Committee finds importance and value in honoring the Wood County Poorhouse, so keeping it clean and preserved is both a goal and a promise. The graveyard is a reminder to those who serve and volunteer to keep the historical aspect alive.
“Poorhouse Weeks is a way to celebrate our efforts to help others, be reminded of the past and be conscious of the importance of our efforts as educators,” Kolankiewicz said.
In addition to the clean-up, the Fine Arts Committee will celebrate Poorhouse Week by publishing The Poorhouse Rag, giving a Poorhouse Farm virtual tour and providing a virtual reading and art show.
The Fine Arts Committee also encourages students to use their voice and is open to any ideas to continue the Poorhouse’s education.
For more information about the gravesite clean-up or future Poorhouse initiatives, email firstname.lastname@example.org.