Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 9, 2013

Bland High student’s ‘LOVE’ on display at Indian Village

BASTIAN, Va. — Click here for video.

The Wolf Creek Indian Village is spreading the love as part of a Virginia tourism initiative.

A new “LOVE” sign was unveiled Monday at the Wolf Creek Indian Village in Bland County as part of the “LOVEwork” project created by the Virginia Tourism Commission to promote the “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism campaign. The sign now featured at the village was designed by local high school student Kara Deaton and built by museum guide Kimberly Beagley and her husband Jake Beagley.

Sherri Dillow, general manager of the Wolf Creek Indian Village, said it was an honor to be chosen by the Virginia Tourism Corporation to take part in the “LOVEwork” project.

“We started working on this around November,” Dillow said. “We did a contest in the local schools at the suggestion of our local Board of Supervisors. It’s important to have this sign on so many different levels. We feel here that history is fun and exciting. To be acknowledged by the Virginia Tourism Corporation shows that we are getting to a place we want to be and are being recognized for our work. The plan is to keep the sign up for at least one year, but we would love to keep it up as long as possible. We love being able to be a part of this initiative. This is a place where history meets tourism.”

Deaton, 17, is a sophomore at Bland High School and her design for the sign was chosen for the project.

“Sherri told me she wanted it to be inspired by Native America,” Deaton said. “I came up with the design in about an hour. I was shocked that I won because there were a lot of great ideas others had submitted. It is amazing for me to see this sign go from paper to reality. I’d never done anything like this before. I love the sign and how it turned out.”

Jessica Woody, Kara’s mother, said she was proud to see her daughter’s design become a reality.

“It showed her she can really do things with her talent,” Woody said. “It was great motivation for her. The community was really supportive of her project and it has really shown her all that she can do.”

John Paul Jones is Deaton’s art teacher at Bland High School and said he is proud to see her work displayed in such a prominent place.

“She has always been a talented student and I’ve encouraged her to do more to show her work,” Jones said. “Her talent for her age is just incredible. She has a God-given gift. When the Board of Supervisors asked who should participate in this contest she was one of the first names that came to mind. She has a lot of talent and I expect we will see a lot more great things from her.”

Kim Beasley with the Wolf Creek Indian Village worked with her husband Jake to make Deaton’s design a reality.

“After (Kara) submitted her entry I had to figure out how to make it 8 feet tall,” Beasley said. “It all became about what I could use that could last outdoors and look like her drawing. We used plywood and included black, white, red and yellow, which are the colors of the village’s medicine wheel. We had to weave an 8-foot tall dream catcher, which took several hours. ABB here in Bland County cut the feathers out for us. The ‘E’ is based on the symbol for the thunderbird in native folklore. It’s very exciting to see it complete.”

Gary Jefferies with the Virginia Tourism Corporation said the sign in Bland County is one of 16 sites across the Commonwealth chosen for the project and the sign will join 20 other sites statewide where the signs are displayed.

“They will be featured on the Virginia tourism site,” he said. “These will become photo opportunities for travelers. We are encouraging them to share their pictures with the signs online on our website as well as on Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites. Part of this initiative to was to show that there is love in every Virginia vacation.”

To see the sign at the Wolf Creek Indian Village and others from across the Commonwealth visit www.virginia.org.

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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