As the summer season ends, so does Purcellville’s town-wide art project. The Painted Barrels Around Purcellville had its debut at the music & arts festival, showing off the art of over 40 local artists.
“We wanted it open to all artists of all ages, [so] there were no limits,” said coordinator Michael Oaks “We had two 11 year-olds, couple of teenagers and some of the top artists in Loudoun County too.”
The project started with the intention of encouraging tourism and to support local artists, but it’s also given the town a stronger sense of community.
“You see the horses [in Leesburg] and the painted apples in Winchester, and it’s kinda nice to have something of our own to see around town,” Senior Emily Scott said. “Any art project that gets the community involved I think is a really good idea.”
The barrels are Oaks’ first project as a member of the Purcellville Economic Developement Advisory Committee all sponsored by local businesses, at $200 a barrel. This covers the cost of the physical barrels as well as the advertising, allowing the money from the auction on October 8th to be reinvested in future art projects.
“What we’re doing is creating self-funded art projects in the town, no taxpayer money or town money supports any of this, we raise all of the money.” Oaks said.
Scott has plans to implement a similar system to help with funding for the school’s art program.
“As the Treasurer of the NAHS, National Art Honor Society, I’m also trying to get a program started where students come in and volunteer their time to paint paintings and then we sell them to fund the art program,” Scott said.
Scott also said that she hopes the local art projects will become more of a presence in Purcellville.
“It’s really nice to see local artists get recognition for their work, so I hope they continue,” Scott said.
Luckily, Oaks already has prospective concepts for more local art projects, including bicycles and large stone flowerpots. He plans organize another project for this December.
“The next project will be hand-painted Christmas decorations” Oaks said, “We’re looking at about 90 different pieces.”
photos / Tyler Valentine