First ‘Cornerstone’ named

PARKERSBURG – The executive director of the Parkersburg Art Center Monday was named the Cornerstone of Our Community by Our Community’s Foundation, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates through its 50th Anniversary Awards program sponsored by Superior Toyota.

Abby Hayhurst’s dedication to ensuring that the Parkersburg Art Center thrives, her willingness to share of her abundant talents with other organizations and her superior stewardship over a wide array of arts programs that nurture public interest and engagement have earned Hayhurst a Cornerstone of Our Community Award to celebrate 50 years of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, foundation Executive Director Judy Sjostedt said.

“A cornerstone is a fundamental building block on which the foundation of something is set,” Sjostedt said. “Abby Hayhurst was chosen as a cornerstone in the field of ‘Arts and Culture’ for her many years of service to the Parkersburg Art Center and community-at-large.”

Hayhurst received a gold Fenton vase and the privilege of awarding $1,000 for charitable purposes.

Upon assuming management of the Art Center more than eight years ago, Hayhurst led it through a period of financial struggle, uniting its supporters as a family and remaining steadfast in her resolve that the Art Center could – and would – overcome its challenges, Sjostedt said.

“We have to be creative in addressing problems,” she said. “When our funding became limited for shipping, we found we could identify all these great artists within just a day’s drive. Now we represent 92 artists in our gift shop.”

The nomination cited Hayhurst as the “heart of the Parkersburg Art Center” and credited Hayhurst’ fun-loving and hard-working leadership style as developing the ideal environment to encourage involvement and volunteerism.

Hayhurst’ creative and innovative ideas have contributed significantly to the development of the center’s Zocolo gift shop, Frame-Zilla Framing Shop, art classes for adult and children, the clay lab, Camp Creativity and the art exhibits, that comprise the Art Center, Sjostedt said.

“I love it,” Hayhurst said. “I love the artwork, the people, the volunteers, and even the building. It’s a family and we’re a team; we have a great board and a wonderful chairman.”

Hayhurst is a former president of the Parkersburg Actors Guild and was an advertising designer for numerous causes. She also worked in radio.