Nationally recognized artist Robert Singleton, 85, has been a full-time practicing artist and painter for over 65 years. He moved to the mountains of West Virginia in 1978 in search of privacy, time, and space. He designed and built his home and studio and has since called a remote mountain top home. Ambient Music by Dan Morro These galleries are best viewed withfull screen on a Mac, PC or Tabletturn on soundThe galleries will open on a phone however, such deviceswill not provide the visitor with the full quality of the galleries or art work. GUEST BOOK Index of Individual Virtual GalleriesVirginia - 1949 ~ 1963 Gallery 01 A BeginningFlorida - 1963 ~ 1974Gallery I Finding A Way Gallery IIDiverse WorksScreamer Mountain – 1973 ~ 1978Gallery III Mystical Meditations Gallery IV Hard Edge PastelsWest Virginia 1978 ~ 2023Gallery VQuest For Grace Gallery VI Quest For Grace IIWest Virginia 2012 ~ 2023Gallery VII Romanced Horizons
The Works of Robert Singleton
Life's Connected Events . . .Now,thatIaminmy85thyear,Icanonlylookatmypreviousworkasapreamble.Iwork daily,exploring,discoveringnewinspirationsfornewimages.Knowingthevastnessof the unknown becomes ever clearer.Thelifelongstoryofmyartisticapproachistoquestioncreativityitselfandwhereit comesfrom.Isitreallyabouttheartist/creatorastheauthorofmetaphors;the biographerofillusions?Or,isitmoreaboutlifeandtheinfluenceoflife'sconnected events which result in the measured evolution of the imaginative act?Inthemid-1950'sIstudiedpaintingunderaprofessorwhowasadiscipleofHans Hoffman.Inthesixtysomeyearssince,myarthaspassedthroughmany transformations.InthesamewayI,asaperson,haveevolved.LifeandArt,thetwoare still analogous paths; side by side, my work has always reflected these many passages.Oneofthejourneysofgreatimpactinmyartisticdevelopmenttookplacein1960. Asayoungadult,ItraveledacrosstheUnitedStatesandsawforthefirsttimethegreat expanse of the plains of the Midwest.VisuallywhatIexperiencedwasprofound. TheHorizonLine. Iwroteinmy sketchbook,"Youcanturn360degreesandseenothing.”FromKansason,thisline spellboundme. Alinethatwasthedivisionbetweenskyandthewide-openprairie; uncluttered space, empty space with this hard, crisp line intersecting.Continue to Next Page
Asachild,onmanylevels,Iwasaccustomedtoloneliness.Visually,whatIwitnessed translatedtodeepemotions. IsawwhatIasachildhadfelt.Ifoundinthenaturalworlda humanemotion. Intheyearstocome,thisemotionwouldtranslateintoimagesofempty spacedividedbyasinglehorizontalline. Thetiebetweenthevisualandtheemotionalself would merge. Creativityhasbeenavoiceexpressingadeeppersonaldesiretospeakofthebroad spectrum of human emotions. Our state of existence . . .Thecreativeprocess,asoftenasnot,isclutteredwithhumanfrailties.Still,artisa subjectivemanifestationofthosefrailties,anexpressionofboththepainandthejoyoflife.The pain of the internal search and the joy of the found.... expressed!Theoneabsolutetruthofmylifehasbeenmyart,avisualcommunicationofpoetic perception,areflectivestateofanauthenticsearch.Atagivenmomentintimethatcreative expressionbecomesacompositeoftheentiretyofthisperson’sbeing...bringingallthe creator is to that discipline.Inthemid-1970slookinguptowardstheskymyimaginationwascapturedagain,this timebyclouds.Imagesweoftentakeforgranted,seeneveryday;abovethehorizonline filled with abstract forms of light and atmosphere, the ever-changing poetry of clouds.Creationisoftendescribedasamovementfromaneternalunformedandunchanging darkchaos.Skyandearthlietogetherinachangelessembraceuntilforcedapartbytheir offspring,whodriveawedgebetweenthemproducinglightandmovement.Mypaintings explorethesecreationdynamics.Whydidourearlyancestorspickthemeetingofskyand earth as a creative beginning? Eachofmylaterpaintingsisacreationwhosesubjectiscreation.Skyandearthare usuallymaleandfemaleinmythandfromthispolarityallotherthingsderive.Withoutpolar tensionsthereisnomotionandnostory.Thus,theskyandsea/eartharealwaysdividedby ahorizon-wedgekeepingthemintensionandproducingclouds,which,intheirmovement andreflectionoflight,bringtemporalityandprocess.Nothingchangesmorequicklythan clouds,whoseshapeandcolorcanannouncebrutalviolenceorreflectgloriousspectacular light through which our consciousness seeks to gain unity with nature.
Whileeveryworkofarthastoachieveabalanceofthetensionorforcesthat motivatedit,mypaintingsincludeasenseofimminentfuturewhichisfullof potentialities.Mostofmycloudsannouncebetterandmaybegreatereventsareaboutto happen. The paintings reveal the "world" of our moment in a more relevant way. Why continue this quest? The answer is not complicated. My art is my Life.Creatively I see the future of my work/life as a continuation of providing a means of uncovering the core of our collective evolutionary message; our intuitive understanding and cumulative experience ingrained and transmitted through generations since the dawn of time. Creativity is the search for our shared universal awareness.
“War is a place where young people who don’t know each other, and don’t hate each other, kill each other, by the decision of older rulers who know each other and hate each other, but don’t kill each other…”Erich Hartmann: German fighter pilot during World War II.
*March 24, 2022: I saw this picture in the news. It collided with me at the core. Bring back images from the distant past.
Casualties of WarsRomance on CanvasBy Grace KehrerSpring 1969Robert Singleton as an artist stands in the shadows of Romantic, realistic and transcendental movements where notions like Nature, Man, Society, Individualism and Responsibility are strained though the reality of two world wars, police actions, a crass materialism and an intensifying depersonalization. Finding himself caught up in a miasmic atmosphere created, in part, by computer, "Wagers" and a relativistic viewpoint, Singleton, the self-admitted incurable romantic, attempts to understand a sick society and bring intelligible order to a chaotic universe. Singleton's paintings on oversize canvases, done in primary colors, stand testimonial to contemporary styling techniques executed under the banner of "Art for Art's sake." However, the questions, often spelled out in block letters, are timeless and universal. While Singleton does not offer a solution to the problem of man's inhumanity to man, nor locate a center of human spirituality, he does examine the phenomena, continuing the quest in a personal, thoughtful and sensitive manner.
Two paintings commissioned by the Orlando Sentinel represent the artist personal statement and not a compromise. The first painting seems to suggest the Influential nature of newspapers and the danger present in the, "facts" presented by the editors reflecting the "opinions" of the publisher.
The second painting develops the idea of journalistic responsibility and influence. Interjecting often ignored, possibly forgotten notions of equality, ethics, freedom and unbiased news, printed upon a white field surrounding a patriotically colored centre, one can only hope these subtleties are not lost on the Sentinel staff.
Journalistic Responsibility – 1967 – 78” X 120” ~ Commissioned by the Orlando Sentinel
Singleton's latest work, one produced after much thought, recognizes the reality of the generation gap. A literary message, in dialogue form over the figure of a dying boy, it exposes the inarticulate nature of questions, the naivete of answers and the pain suffered by men separated by chronological age and appetite. Text as it appearers in paintingIJUSTDEPARTEDWHYNATIONALSECURITYWHATTHEYCALLWARWHYSOWAGERSMAYLIVEBUTYOUARESOYOUNGTHEYOUTHHAVETHESTRENGTHOFBODYWHATOSLIFETHATISFORTHEWAGERSWONTYOUMISSITWHATOFLIFEWHYWHATOFLIFEWHYWONTYOUMISSITWHYWHYWHYWHYLegible"I just departed." "Why'?" "National Security; what they call war." "Why?" "So wagers may live" "But you are so young" "The youth have the strength of body" "What of life?" "That is for the wagers." "Won’t you miss It?" "What of life?'' "Why?" "Won't you miss it?" "Why?" "What of life?''
WHY? - Panted at the MacDowell Colony - 1969 - 82” X 92” Oil on canvas
1969 Florida State University – With WHY? hanging the background; students discussing the responsibility of artist according to what they believe is morally right, to document their time, to protest, to reflect through their work the contemporary violent values of humanity and the world. Be it visual arts, literature or music.
GENESIS: Excerpt from book, Core of My Joy FLORIDA 1965 - 1973I returned to Orlando, Florida, and my position with Jordan Marsh. I was good at my work and they were happy to have me back. I found an apartment in Winter Park, a community near Orlando.Because of my skills as an artist, the director of the display department soon put this ability to use. The men and women’s fashion windows were changed monthly. Each of these display windows had 8 foot by 18 -foot background panel. Each time, I would paint a thematic scene on ten of these panels.These display windows became quite popular, as each of the background panels were original painting. Over a period of time, they were saved and reused. It was not fine art, but I was working and very happy with my $50.00 a week salary.Several months after my return, I discovered a small cottage for rent north of Orlando, in the tiny community of Altamonte Springs. This cottage was perfect, located on an acre of land, surrounded by great spreading oak trees. The owner told me no one had lived in it for a number of years. If I chose to rent the cottage, it would be on an as-is basis, for $50.00 a month. It had so much character, built of old brick, with a very large fireplace and screened-in porch on the back, a real fixer-upper. I saw all kinds of potential and happily agreed to rent the cottage.Within the first year, I cleaned, painted, landscaped, and furnished it. This wonderful little house was more than a place to live. It gave me a sense of stability and roots. It was my home. As a result, I was stable, working, and paying the bills. My life was on an even keel. The fates were indeed being good to me. Except, there was one thing missing. I was not painting. I had not put brush to canvas since I left St. Augustine, the year before.It seems the fates had other plans for me. I became physically ill, a full-blown case of mononucleosis. I could not go to work. The doctor instructed me to have lots of bed rest, and at work, they thought I might be contagious. Weeks went by as I began to improve. I was bored. In order to help pass the time, I pulled out my paint box and on the back porch, began to paint. There was no pressure. I even wondered if I still had that creative drive. Well, I did paint again. Within a short time, I had produced five or six canvases. Most were my remembrances / impressions of Conk Island and the dunes. As a result of not being able to return to work at Jordan Marsh, my cash flow was running short. Coincidentally, I had been told that in a few days there was going to be an art show/competition held just a few blocks away from my home at a small shopping mall. This clothes line art show was open to anyone who showed up. I had never submitted my work to a competition or ever entered an art show of this nature. I just thought maybe peddling a painting or two would help the financial situation.I strung a heavy wire between two poles and hung the paintings like hanging out the wash. All I had to do was sit and wait; hopefully someone would purchase a painting. I did wander around looking at all the other artists’ works that were on display. My paintings by comparison, appeared to be very different, almost abstract to the very realistic work of the other artists. I thought, “I must have an odd way of painting, of seeing my visual world.” I did not feel encouraged. There were lots of lookers, but none were interested in purchasing my work. By afternoon, the judging was to take place. There were three awards, with a blue ribbon and a gold pin for best in show. I won! --- A painting entitled “Dunes I” won Best in Show. There was much excitement as all the other artists came over to congratulate me.The next day I sold a painting for $30.00. In addition, a number of the artists present told me there were many sidewalk art shows of this nature all over the east coast of Florida, almost one or two monthly. They persuaded me to enter these other shows. And so, I did. The following weekend at the Daytona Beach sidewalk art festival, I sold three paintings. The next weekend at the New Smyrna Beach sidewalk art festival, “Dunes II” won first prize, another blue ribbon and one hundred dollars cash.I found myself faced with having to make a decision that could potentially affect the rest of my life. I was now well enough to return to the stability and security of a $50.00 dollar a week paycheck. “Don’t rock the boat. You are stable and doing just fine with your job at Jordan Marsh. Your painting should be just a hobby. Be a Sunday painter.Would it be an irresponsible act on my part to quit my job and become a full-time artist? Even now, as I describe that moment in time, I feel the anxiety, the insecurity of not knowing. To follow the dictates of my heart and take a chance, to invite the lack of security into my life.The choice was made. A definition given, a commitment to explore beyond my human boundaries, to take chances, to become vulnerable. In time this choice would be the instrument that would lead to exposing the very image of my soul. My identity was found both internally and externally. It was a beginning, a fresh start in life.From April 19, 1965, when my painting won that first award, my art career escalated at a rate almost beyond belief. These sidewalk art shows were for many aspiring artists, an important means to have one’s artwork exposed to the public, museum curators and commercial gallery owners. Gallery owners used these art shows as a means to find artists, who they would in turn invite to become members of their galleries stable of artists.On June 17, 1966, just three short months after winning that initial award, the first public showing of my work through a commercial gallery opened. Webb Gallery was a new and provocative gallery handling all the major artists from the entire state of Florida. This one-person show was the first significant endorsement of the work. For me a validation of its worthiness. In all honesty I was humbled and honored to have my work hanging with such an auspicious stable of artists. The exhibition was even reviewed by the art critic with the Orlando Sentinel. With the headline, “He’s best when he’s different. July 10th, 1966, another one-person show opened with another gallery, this exhibition established the begin of an association with the Salty Dag Art Gallery in Cocoa Beach and its owner, Kit Young. Kit became a close personal friend and in time became my agent. From the very beginning she believed in my work and me, always encouraging, coaxing and advocating both professionally and personally. If I were to credit one person for nourishing the establishment of my career, it is Kit. Kit came to my studio once a month. I would show her all the new works.She would make a number of selections, take the new paintings back to her gallery and immediately put them on display. There seemed to be an enormous interest in my work growing in the Cape Canaveral space coast region. Generally, by her next visit, all the paintings she had picked up the previous month had been sold. After several of these visits, Kit suggested that she would be willing to purchase all the monthly works from me outright. What this did mean for me? I did not have to wait for the works to be sold before I would be paid; it became the security of a steady monthly income. November 5th, 1966, encouraged by Kit, I entered one of the major art shows for the state of Florida, the Cocoa Beach Art Festival. One of the paintings entitled “Evolution” won first prize.The list of shows and awards would grow. In just four years, my works won 22 major awards, including 12 best of shows. In just one show, the 1968 Daytona Beach Art Festival, the work won two first-place, a second, Judges Choice and two honorable mentions. Every painting I had on display won an award.
The judges for these art shows were exemplary. They ranged from nationally recognized museum directors to curators and critics. Including Dr. Lester Cook, [at the time the curator of American painting at the Smithsonian Institutes’ National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.]. On three separate occasions Dr. Cook gave my work the highest award. Apparently, Dr. Cook felt the work was strong. “I am very impressed with Robert Singleton’s work. He is obviously a mature, serious, and a sensitive artist.” Dr. Cook also wanted to help further my career by making a number of opportunities available to me. On one occasion, on behalf of the United States State Department, he invited me to go to Vietnam as an artist war correspondent. I thanked him for the offer, but refused. Winning all these awards was certainly a boost for my self-esteem. However, what were most significant were the caliber of the judges and their endorsement of my work by selecting it for the top awards. Listed below a few of the judge’s statements which appeared either in the press or in personal letters to me:James Johnson Sweeney, former director, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and The Houston Museum of Fine Arts. “Knowledgeable, competent and sensitive, also extremely assured in its handling.”Dr. David W. Scott, Director of Fine Arts of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. “I was impressed by his breadth and largeness of concept, and by the combination of control and vigor. The works conveying a sense of authority, which made them outstanding.” August C. Freundlich, Director, Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery, University of Miami, Miami Florida. “I personally find his work fresh and exciting, and worthy of serious consideration. I look forward to hearing more from this artist.”Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr., former Director, Addison Gallery of American Art. “I find in his work, an abstract feeling for nature itself as we understand it in our present century. Its quality seems so obvious that it hardly needs words to fortify it.”Cleve K. Scarborough, Director, Mint Museum of Art. “Mr. Robert Singleton recently had three prints accepted into the Mint Museum’s annual Piedmont Graphics Competition. Two of the prints received purchase awards. The prints were extremely unique, especially in technique. The subtle modulation of the ink on the metallic-like surface was a most unusual effect. The abstract forms seemed to float without the existence of a ground. We were very anxious to have one of Mr. Singleton’s prints in our permanent collection.”As my work became more widely known, it seemed opportunities were coming at me right and left. I was deeply flattered, but many I could not accept. For example, the Dean of the Art School of the University of Hawaii invited me, with all expenses paid plus salary, to the University campus as Artist in Residence for an indefinite period. NASA, along with a number of nationally known artists, invited me to come to Cape Kennedy to witness the launches of the Apollo moon missions. Though I did not attend I did witness the Apollo 17-night launch by the invitation of the Mayor of Orlando as part of Vice President Spiro Agnew’s party.I was nominated and awarded a Ford Foundation Grant to attend the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tamarind had been established to encourage or assist recognized artists in the creation of lithographs.In March of 1967, and the two following years, I entered my work in perhaps the largest and most prestigious art show in the Southeastern United States, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Winter Park, Florida. This show represented five to six hundred, preselected, artists from the entire country. Over a period of three days, three hundred thousand of the art-loving public would attend this show. In 1967, a painting entitled “Double Entendre” won the First and Second awards in painting. This special award resulted from the two judges refusing to concede on their choice for First Place. As a compromise, First and Second Place was combined, this was split between another artist and myself.As with many artists, I began to explore other creative mediums of expression. In my case, I started working in sculpture and printmaking. In 1968, at the Winter Park show, I won best of show in graphics. In 1969, I won best of show in sculpture.I recall jokingly saying I had a Michelangelo syndrome. I was being recognized for sculpture and print making, when my passion was in my painting. Michelangelo’s passion was sculpture, but he was forced to make a living painting ceilings.Suddenly, there was always food on the table. As Kit would say, metaphorically, “I went from flour pancakes to smoked oysters.” This was such a long way from painting in that room in the Seattle YMCA, a long way from that starving artist eating peanuts and Coca-Colas and hustling his wares in bars. It is time to slow down and backtrack. My career had taken off like a rocket. Also, within that first year, 1966, I started teaching with the Lock Haven Art Center. Within just a few years, I was teaching almost full time, as many as three, three-hour studio classes daily. Teaching beginning drawing, painting to master critique classes. There was always a waiting list of students wanting to attend these classes. Sometime in the early 70’s when the art center went through a significant remodeling and expansion, the Lock Haven Art Center became the Orlando Museum of Fine Arts, a major museum and art school.One of my other skills was happily put to use, that of exhibit designer. On the occasion of the gala grand opening of the new museum, I designed and installed all the new exhibitions. I continued to design and install all the major exhibitions throughout my tenure with the museum. Fortunately, adjacent to my little cottage was a small two-room building. A retired doctor had constructed this building as a woodworking hobby shop. As the doctor became too old to pursue his hobby, all the tools were sold and the building emptied. This was the state in which I found it, when I first rented my home. I contacted the doctor’s wife and she agreed to let me rent the building. My first studio! What a luxury, a space devoted exclusively to my work. I later purchased this building and created, between the cottage and studio, a walled-in courtyard.What was I producing in this studio? I was very prolific. Every single image created on either canvas or paper originated from my imagination. On very few occasions have I used my photography as a reference. The subject matter of these early paintings was almost exclusively of nature and my memory of it, that is, in generic terms, land and seascapes. The specific images were my many remembered impressions of Conk Island and of course of that Midwest horizon line. As in music many times the works were themes and variations. I now feel it was not just that I was so prolific, but foremost, I was constantly searching, pushing and exploring my creating boundaries, always reaching beyond, growing beyond the previous painting.From 1966 to 1970, through this constant searching, the work passed through a major metamorphosis. It was a transformation from impressionistic studies of nature to very large canvases which were totally nonobjective (no recognizable subject)At the end of 1970 I made an important decision, I stopped entering all art competitions, side walk art shows etc. This decision was based on competitive presser. I, my work, had an unbroken record of winning the top awards. It was uncanny what happened. Because of my “perfect score,” I was told, that when a number of artists made application to enter these competitions, they would want to know if “Singleton” was going to be in the show. If the answer were to the affirmative, they would say, “Why bother?” and not enter. This both embarrassed me and put more undue pressure on me. There was a second reason, which I recall expressing the following way, “It was like being the fastest gun in the west sooner or later someone was going to shoot me down.” And so, I quit while I was ahead. As soon as the word circulated around that I was no longer participating and competing, I was invited back as a juror.
Awards – Honors2021 -22 ~ Tamarack Foundation for the Arts, Master Artist Fellow, Lifetime Achievement Award.2018 ~ George Mason University “Where it comes from: An exploration of human creativity” Guest lecturer for the 2018 “Vernon and Marguerite Gras Lecture in the Humanities.”1986 ~ Benefit Exhibition “Robert Singleton Weekend” –Guest of honor at black tie dinner and exhibition of new works. Donated twenty-nine works to raise funds for the Maitland Art Center’s building fund. The event rose over $20,000 for the art center. Gallery talk and lecture at the Maitland Civic Center. Maitland, Florida.1985 - 1995 - Served on the Board of Directors of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Center.1977 ~ Endorsement of influential art dealer / artist agent Leo Castelli.1970, 71, 73 MacDowell Fallow Grant, MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire.1973 ~ Received invitation to be Visiting Artist and Instructor – University of Hawaii – (Did not accept)1970 - 1971 ~ Piedmont Graphics Competition Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, Juried group graphics show. Two purchase awards.1970 ~ Ford Foundation Grant to attend Tamarind Institute, College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico. (Did not attend)1969 ~ Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Best in Show, Sculpture, Award of Merit, Painting – Winter Park, Florida.1969 ~ Ocala Art Festival, Best in Show - Ocala, Florida.1968 ~ Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Best in Show Graphics, Winter Park, Florida.1968 ~ Daytona Beach Art Festival, First Place (oil painting), First Place (non-objective)Second Place (representation), Judge’s Choice (special award) 1967 ~ Florida Seaside Art Show, First place in painting. Indialantic, Florida.1967 ~ Cocoa Beach Art Festival, Beat in Show in painting, Cocoa Beach, Florida.1967 ~ M & C East Art Show, First Place in painting purchase award, Ocala, Florida.1967 ~ Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, First and Second place in painting. Winter Park, Florida. 1966 ~ Cocoa Beach Art Festival, First Place in painting, Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Toxic Methyl Bromide a health hazardEssay by Hardy Ghost"There they are. You can see the white spots on their heads and tails." Robert Singleton points at the pale blue sky. A pair of Bald Eagles are circling between his house and the next ridge north of him, about half a mile away. They came back sometime during the last 20 years, he says. The majestic bird of prey has been the national symbol of the United States for a long time. Once on the verge of extinction because of pesticide use and hunting, its numbers have increased, and the population seems stable and thriving again. They have also found a home near Robert’s house, nestled in the forest of the Allegheny mountains in Eastern Hardy County, WV. “We also have Golden Eagles, lots of Wild Turkey, Black Bear, Raccoons, Opossums, and I even saw a Bobcat in my front yard a year ago or so.” In this area, wildlife is thriving, there are springs and creeks with clean water, and now in spring, with the forest waking up from winter, the air is filled with scents of new life. An idyllic place away from noise and pollution, a landscape that has not been touched by industry, overpopulation, or climate change, nature’s refuge. Singleton, a landscape painter who is nationally acclaimed, moved here 45 years ago to escape the fast lane of life and find peace, live in nature, and clean air. Since then, many more people have discovered the beauty of this place. They have built cabins and homes in these woods, many of whom have moved here permanently. Several National forests and protected areas in Eastern Hardy County attract hikers, mountain bikers, kayakers, and nature lovers. Hunters, out of the area and local alike, appreciate the richness of these woods flush with deer and fill their freezers with game during the season. Organic farming has been emerging in nearby Wardensville, where local youth learn to grow food, treat land and soil with respect, as well business skills. But there is trouble brewing in paradise. On the next ridge, less than a mile northwest of Singleton’s residence, located at Park Farm Drive between Baker and Moorefield, the company Allegheny Wood Products International Inc. is planning to open a wood fumigation facility on the grounds of an old poultry farm, which may be issued a permit by the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to emit up to 9.54 tons of Methyl Bromide per year as determined by a preliminary evaluation. Methyl Bromide, also known as Bromomethane, is a toxic, hazardous, ozone-damaging gas that has been banned in most countries of the world and also neighboring states like Maryland. It is strictly regulated and being phased out in Virginia and North Carolina. The gas can harm human health, including neurological, reproductive, respiratory, kidney, liver, and esophageal damage and nasal lesions. While close proximity contact is the most dangerous, low-dose exposure over longer periods can be harmful. Little to no regulation exists regarding the protection of residents and the general public from the toxin in ambient air, so of course, an Air Quality permit notice in the Moorefield paper can state rightfully that “all State and Federal air quality requirements will be met […]” because there are little to none. When you try and find more information about it, the most puzzling fact may be that Methyl Bromide was to be phased out completely in the US in 2017, “so why will we have to worry about possibly inhaling it in a pristine natural environment like the one we live in here?” asks a resident living close by. Furthermore, the toxin is subject to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), a federal law designed to inform communities about planning efforts involving potential chemical hazards on the state or local level. Neighbor Neil Gillies, whose homestead is about a mile and a half from the proposed facility, would like to know, “How in the world did an industrial facility that will emit significant quantities of an extremely toxic gas go under the radar and get to the point of receiving a provisional permit? Why have there been no public hearings about this?” Pete Osinga “moved here for the clean air and might have made a mistake.” His new house is less than half a mile to the southeast of the site, and he may bear the brunt of chronic low-dose exposure since winds mostly come out of the west and northwest and may carry Bromomethane released by the company onto his property. Other folks from the larger Hardy community want to turn up at the next Planning Commission meeting and object to this development. Still, there is also a feeling of being powerless among some. One neighbor with a property adjacent to the site shrugs his shoulders in despair. “Williams, the owner of this land, also sits on the Planning Commission. You know how this county works.” Indeed, when digging a little deeper, one can find articles about a huge Poultry farm near Old Fields, WV, about 2 years back, having received permits against the protest of local people and without the knowledge of the then President of the County Commission, who “had no clue that there was even an application submitted or approved.” The owner of the land for the proposed fumigation facility turns out to be the same entity, having pushed for and now running a Mega Poultry farm in this county. Back then, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future had sent the new Hardy County Planning Commission president a letter pointing out risks. “We believe that expanding poultry operations in Hardy County will create similar hazards as those observed on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, marked by an increase of contaminants and risks to soil, air, ground, and surface water quality and the health of Hardy County residents.”There is a pattern emerging. The health of residents and the environment does not seem to matter versus the mighty dollar, where there is little regulation and oversight in rural areas. Local opponents of proposed projects that threaten to endanger their well-being have no choice but to step into the ring against a Goliath out of their weight class. How do you win a fight like that when the other side is that well-organized and can seemingly bend the rules to their will? Will landscape painter Robert Singleton have to resort to painting toxic clouds? Will the Bald Eagle in this area survive Methyl Bromide, a chemical used in pesticides for farming back in the day, after recovering? Will the indifference of cold business practice win over the value of public health and nature still unspoiled? There is also concern about the effects on livestock, with a small poultry operation less than a mile from the fumigation site. Dennis Funk has his cattle grazing just a few 100 feet over on a neighboring property throughout the season. Will someone inform him about the potential hazard looming? Last but not least, property values may drop in the immediate surroundings because who would want to potentially buy a home and property with the outlook of having hazardous gas dispersed over their heads? Baltimore Harbor had an average amount of 26 to 37 tons of uncontrolled annual emissions of Methyl Bromide before fumigation for export reasons ended in the port around 2016, and the use phased out in the state of Maryland. In comparison, that would mean that local neighbors, residents, wildlife, and the environment may soon be subjected to the toxic emissions of roughly a third of a Baltimore international port near Baker, WV. “For now, all we can do is get organized and find out when the next Hardy County planning meeting takes place and turn up in numbers!” Sue Ryan, who lives in the county and would like to see air quality and the environment preserved, is trying to stay positive and mentions how we can still write representatives, start petitions and try to make our voices heard. Right now, any resident can write a short letter of concern and send it by May 5th, 2023, to: Steven R. Pursley, PE WV Department of Environmental Protection Division of Air Quality 601 57th Street, SE Charleston, WV, 25304 If public interest is expressed significantly, a meeting will have to be held. This arguably should be the case in any way due to the federal law of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. But as this written piece has been trying to show, Hardy County, WV, seems to be off the beaten path in location and when it comes to rules and regulations. Residents must be motivated to speak up and participate in protests to keep Hardy County’s air clean. Written by: Hardy Ghost Links: