Sibling artists design art installation in Grafton

GRAFTON, W.Va. — Two young siblings from Taylor County will have their artwork on display at Grafton for years to come. The statue, titled Hope for Renewal, was designed by Elias and Violet Rubenstein. The statue was designed by artist Michael Sizemore of Mountain Artworks.

Some of the inspiration for the sculpt was taken from the Grafton and Flatwoods monsters. A phoenix is ​​depicted at the top “rising from the ashes” as artists view Grafton’s path to revival.

“What I hope people take away from this is that there are capable minds in Grafton, West Virginia who can do things like this. And that anybody who wants to go out and do something can just go out and do it. What you interpret from it and what you take away from it is special to you, and we want it to be special to people,” said Elias Rubenstein.

Elias encouraged other local Grafton artists to get out there and create the art they are inspired to create.

“I think we were both trying to show that [Grafton’s] not completely gone, and there’s hope that’s still there, and when they see it, there’s a special talent that’s in Grafton, and it’s not just like, empty, he’s capable of a lot of things, and I’m glad that Elias and I have to do something like that,” said Violet Rubenstein.

Violet wants to draw attention to the unique people who make up Grafton and their talents.

“It’s kind of my jam really, you know, working with the community, working with young people, getting people in the spirit of community engagement and the arts, and what better way to do that through young people of the community, and when you put all of that together and you have something that’s actually erected into a sculpture, it’s just a wonderful thing,” Sizemore said.

Funding for the sculpture came from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.

Joseph E. Golightly