Cecelia Mason Published

Morgan County Couple Wants You to Meet Local Artists


Many artists, crafts people and musicians have made Appalachia their home, contributing to the culture and economy. A Morgan County couple is working to document the local arts scene through an online video project called ArtVoiceWV.

Jack Kelly is a retired public television documentary filmmaker. He and his wife Marla Carr moved to Berkeley Springs a little over a year ago.

“I had an interest in continuing to do video work and video stories and found that the artists attracted me and they have great stories in themselves,” Kelly said. “And I thought it was a great way to pay back to the community that we now live in because my career has always been about doing stories that relate to the community that I live.”

ArtVoiceWV offers short videos of about a dozen or so artists who live in Morgan County or who perform and create there.

“We wanted people who had been able to make a living at selling their art,” Carr said. “And I think the other thing was that we wanted the arts to be diverse, so we looked at somebody who, photography, metal sculpture, water color, and we wanted a mix of men and women.”

“When we first started I was looking at things that would be visually compelling, not just a good story but they had to have a visual because we shoot at their studio,” Kelly added. “So having someone who’s doing something like pounding metal, that’s visually interesting in my mind.”

The videos show artists demonstrating their craft and telling their stories. Carr does the research and conducts the interviews, Kelly shoot the video and edits the stories together.

“So much of what I do when I work with the artist is to try to find out who they are and how they got where they are and at what point they made those decisions and why they’re passionate about what they do,” Carr said.

Kelly said the goal is to let the artists tell their stories in their own words. 

“To explain who he is and who she is and what drives them,” Kelly said.

Kelly and Carr primarily focus on Morgan County artists right now but hope they can expand the project to include artists across the state. And they hope the videos give people a better sense of who creates the art in their community.

“I want them to take away who the artist is, what sparks their creativity, and if the person comes across as likeable and sincere and all that,” Kelly said. 

“I love the arts and I very much would like to see artists successful,” Carr added. “I want people to see that and also how difficult some of it is.”