Artwork by Passion Works
Artwork by Passion Works
Athens Conservancy and Passion Works Studio saw the sign.
Area residents will have the opportunity to do the same when the new Art Trail display is unveiled during a grand opening celebration from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday at the Mary Beth Zak Lohse Preserve located about two miles from the state park entrance.
Organized in partnership with Live Healthy Appalachia and Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery, the event will include trail snacks, rock painting, leaf pressing, and additional activities for families to enjoy while viewing the whimsical acrylic art created by nine local artists from Passion Works Studios that has been duplicated in a high-resolution image and subdivided from a five-foot original painting into 10 individual pieces of art, emblazoned on 10 12-by-18-inch trail marking signs installed around a small pound along the 2/3 of a mile pathway trail area.
Images featured on the colorful nature-inspired permanent markers include various wildflowers and animals, among them a deer, bobcat, salamander, cicada and dragon fly.
Designed with inclusion in mind, the trail project combines art and nature in a way that encourages visitors to explore the natural world.
A $6,000 grant from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio has helped bring the project to life. Also included in the mix are two display cases to be added on the trail head kiosk that will include displays promoting health and wellness activities from Live Healthy Appalachia and a list of nature based activities for families from the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery.
A related sister project display at Athens and Nelsonville public libraries will feature replicas of the permanent trail art signs for viewing through the end of June.
“We are thrilled to open the Art Trail to help connect individuals and families to the joys of art and nature around us,” said Christine Fahl, presisdent of the board of Athens Conservancy. “The shared initiative focuses on the value of being active outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, and experiencing our precious natural world.
“Appalachian Ohio is rich in so many things, including our amazing natural spaces and beautiful forests and woods. We are also known for our creative spirit. This project is a unique and purposeful way to combine these two resources that Southeastern Ohio is known for — nature and art — and we couldn’t be happier to work with community partners on this initiative.”
Victoria Ellwood, development director of Athens Conservency, said she hopes the project will inspire future projects impacting trails at the 13 local nature preserve locations in the area. She sees the collaborative project as a positive means of bringing together multiple local organizations working together for the betterment of the community.
“Making these partnerships in this part of Ohio, which is known for its beauty of nature and creativity of artwork, is a fabulous thing,” she said. “We definitely think families will enjoy it.”

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