PRESTONSBURG – The Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) Art Gallery will feature the artwork of Laura Ford Hall and her mother Janice B. Ford through April 15.
The art showcase, entitled “Blessed,” will feature 40 paintings in watercolor, oil, acrylic, tempra, drawing pencil, and colored pencil created by the mother and daughter duo.
Janice, who passed away in 2007 of cancer, taught her daughter, Laura, art lessons nearly every day, according to Laura. “We were always into some kind of artistic project when I was little,” Laura said. “As far back as I can remember, when I was age three or so, I remember painting with my first watercolors, colored pencils and crayons. She would teach me how to mix colors even when I was very young. When I got older, my mother taught me to use acrylics and tempra. And when I got into high school, I became even more interested in art taking art courses at the high school, and my mother would help me learn more at home with every painting or project that I did. Then, when I became a college student, I enrolled in my mother’s classes at the University of Pikeville. I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not having art lessons from my mother.”
Janice, who was from Pikeville, was an art teacher, and she was an artist from her early years and studied art on all levels of schooling. She was a graduate of Pikeville High School (1960), Pikeville College (1963), and obtained her Masters Degree from the University of Tennessee (1969). A master teacher, her teaching career in art spanned 41 years. She began her teaching career at the age of 20 at Johns Creek Elementary. She later taught art for the Pikeville Independent Schools, and concluded her teaching career as Associate Professor of Art at The University of Pikeville. Janice was married to Bob Ford for 43 years, and Laura was their only child.
“In 2007, when my mom was age 64, she went to be with our Lord and Savior after a short battle with Multiple Myleoma, a cancer of the blood plasma. It broke me in two. I didn’t pick up a paint brush for a long time, but I realized that would be the last thing she would want from me… to stop creating. So, I dove back in, and continued to use the techniques she taught me.”
Laura, also from Pikeville, is an Associate Professor of Communication at BSCTC. Laura began teaching in 2004, and she was the founder of the Big Sandy Singers and Little Sandy Singers. She was the co-founder of the Big Sandy Idol Program. She serves as an advisor and the Chairperson of Big Sandy O.N.E. (the Orientation for New Employees Program). Laura loves to sing. She sang with the Kentucky Opry for 14 years before coming to BSCTC. She now sings in the praise team at her church and also directs the children’s choir. She is married to Brad N. Hall. They have no children, but they adore their Bichon Frise puppy, Sammy.
The works of Laura and Janice portray cheerful subject matter with bright colors. Because of this, the show featuring their work is entitled “Blessed.”
“The most special part of the art showcase to me are two paintings that my mother was working on when she passed. This year, I picked up where she left off and finished them,” Laura said. “These two paintings are more precious than gold to me.”
The BSCTC Art Gallery is located on the first floor of the Magoffin Learning Resource Building on the Prestonsburg Campus and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A reception will be held to celebrate Ford’s work on Monday, March 14 at noon in the gallery. The community is invited to attend.