Court lobby gets an artistic touch

When Marietta Municipal Court opened at its new Butler Street location in June 2012, employees and regular visitors raved that it was an improvement over the old, leaky, cramped court in almost every way.

But the bland concrete lobby on the ground floor-the first contact most new visitors have with the court-left a lot to be desired, said court administrator Jason Hamilton.

“When we were still in the remodeling phase, we knew we were going to be stuck with a lobby that had some unattractive features,” said Hamilton.

In an effort to spruce up the lobby, Marietta Municipal Court Judge Janet Dyar Welch had the idea to contact local schools and see if they would be interested in displaying students’ art.

The schools jumped at the chance, and since January the lobby has hosted a rotating display from several area schools and groups of local artists.

So far Marietta, Warren, Fort Frye, and Belpre High Schools have each taken a month or two helming the display.

“Warren and Marietta are slightly bigger schools so they rotated different pieces in and out during their shows,” he said.

During the summer, the court also hosted some local artists groups. Riverside Artists Gallery and the Marietta Photographic Society both took turns setting up a display.

This month, Waterford High School took charge of the display, which features a couple dozen paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces.

Wolf Creek Local School District Art Instructor Beth Smith said she was excited about the opportunity to put her students’ work out there for the community to see.

“It’s nice that they’ve taken this opportunity to bring arts to the forefront. Usually arts are sort of put on the back burner. When classes get cut, art is always the first to go. So it’s nice to get a chance to highlight this positive aspect of Waterford High School,” said Smith.

The students are also excited about the extra exposure.

“There’s a lot of people who are going to be seeing our art and somewhat of an older crowd that typically sees it,” said Waterford junior Alana Heiss.

The public has definitely taken note of the displays, said Marietta Municipal Court Security Officer Vic Knick who is stationed in the lobby.

“People always ask ‘Why does all these?’ and when I tell them it’s a lot of local high school students, they are pretty amazed at how talented the local students are,” said Knick.

People who are interested in stopping by the courthouse just to see the display are always welcome, said Hamilton.

In fact, Waterford senior Randee Seevers said some of her family members plan on doing just that.

“My mom has been down there to look at it. I told a lot of people when we set it up last week and I think they are excited to go see it,” said Seevers.

People have even inquired about buying the artworks, said Knick.

“I tell them to contact the school or group,” he said.

The court still hopes to get Frontier High School to set up a display and plans on continuing the displays on a rotating basis, said Hamilton.

“We’ve had only very positive feedback. The public really appreciates it. I think once we give all the Washington County schools a chance, we’ll try to get it on a more set schedule,” he said.