CLIFTON FORGE — The Public Art subcommittee of Corridor Curb Appeal, Vision 2025, continues to work on creating and installing colorful fish on the fence at Booker T. Washington Park as its latest public arts project.

The project is the fourth in a series of public art pieces in Clifton Forge and has been in progress for approximately half a year.  Several delays were caused by the COVID pandemic, but the subcommittee persisted in part because of eager volunteers.

The elements for the school of fish were cut from plywood by volunteers from Clifton Forge School of the Arts and Boys Home of Virginia, guided by woodworker Mac Beard.

“Occam’s Mill is very happy to participate in this wonderful project,” Beard said. “As part of the Clifton Forge School of the Arts, this is a perfect way for us to demonstrate our mission of providing opportunities for better living and education to adults and children through the arts. We look forward to many future collaborations.”

From the School of the Arts, the school of fish traveled to Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center.

 The cut outs were painted by the Children’s Art class, taught by art teacher Kaarn Thomas, and later by Thomas’ Clifton Middle School’s art students.

“My students were so excited to be able to participate in this public art piece, and they hope everyone will enjoy their creations,”  Thomas said.

As more fish were cut out and painted, more were installed on the public fence by a dedicated volunteer team from the Corridor Curb Appeal sub- committee.  All supplies for the project were donated.

“As part of the Corridor Curb Appeal Public Art subcommittee here in Clifton Forge, I am sure I can speak for our group when I tell you that we are very excited by the growing positive impact the School of Fish display is making as we add more elements to our latest Public Art project along the fence at Washington Park, ”said committee member Mott Atherholt.

“We hope you will drive by soon,” Atherholt continued. “It is so colorful that even on a cold winter day it will bring a smile to your face.” 

The first sighting of colorful fish appeared in November with two more installations appearing in December and February. One more set of fish will be installed soon.

The community’s reaction has been overwhelmingly positive with many commenting on the splash of color the fish provide.

The project may expand even further with future additions elsewhere on the fence featuring birds of the sky to compliment the creatures of the sea.

Members of the Corridor Curb Appeal subcommittee are Mott Atherholt, Bill Atherholt, Martha Atherholt, Nancy Newhard, Kaarn Thomas and Gayle Hillert.

Additional public art projects in the town of Clifton Forge include painted steps at the rear of Jack Mason’s Tavern and at the Rose Street parking lot, the “welcome” bicycle at the front of SonaBank and the “to do” list next to Earl’s Automotive on Main Street.

The Corridor Curb Appeal committee is one of the committees for the Vision 2025 effort. For the past few years, committee members and volunteers have spent time working on enhancing the entrance corridors of the Town.  

To learn more about Corridor Curb Appeal Vision 2025 and its many projects, please visit the Facebook page.

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The Vision 2025 Corridor Curb Appeal’s Public Arts subcommittee is continuing to work on creating and installing colorful fish on the fence at Booker T. Washington Park as its latest project. (Photo Courtesy Vision 2025 Corridor Curb Appeal)