Beckley Art Center gathering volunteers to bring color to city

submitted photoThis tree was decorated in Morgantown by students and volunteers.

Beckley Art Center is trying to splash some color on the gloom of winter.

Volunteers at the Beckley Art Center are trying to localize an art project that was wildly popular in Morgantown, officials said.

“This is a project that Carol Hummel, the artist, came and did it with us (in Morgantown) about a year ago,” Alice Yurick said. “It was fall of 2014. She came and taught the kids and teachers how to crochet (at WVU). There were a lot of people crocheting a ton of circles in all sorts of colors and sizes. She showed us how to do all of this.

“The (Morgantown) community really got involved and helped us out. People started getting in little groups and doing this for fun. We ended up with hundreds of little crocheted circles. We selected a color palette first. Once we had decided about the colors, it was really easy to get people to just start making. The installation process came next. We had bucket trucks. We had ladders. There were people wrapping themselves on trees to stitch the circles together.”

So what exactly are they doing? They’re stitching a community together.

They’re joining together dozens and dozens of crocheted shapes into a “tree cozy.” Think of it as a nylon sweater for the tree that protects the tree from the elements while adding a splash of color to the landscape.

Yurick said the rope used to put together the tree cozy is weather-resistant and should last for years.

“It took probably a month to do the circles and then it took about three days to get them all on,” she said. “It took about 15 people to put it all together. This was a very big tree though.

“This is just a beautiful project. It’s especially meaningful right now, with all of the gloomy weather. You can look to the tree and see a rainbow every day.”

The project is just getting started and it needs all the volunteers it can get, participants said.

If you crochet, or even knit, you can go to the Beckley Art Center at 600 Johnstown Road in Beckley at 4 p.m. Tuesdays.

Those running the project ask that you bring your own knitting needles or crochet hook. The rope will be provided for $6 that covers the cost of materials.

For more information about the project, e-mail Peggy Debnam at or call her at 304-923-4822.

— E-mail:; follow on Twitter @RHCodyNeff

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