Joint Government Center Gets a Make-Over

The hallowed halls of Clarke County’s Joint Government Center are in the midst of an artistic makeover thanks to County resident Phyllis Nee and Winchester’s David Herman. Nee has been contracted by the County to add bit of local interest and color to the building’s otherwise barren walls. Herman has been tasked with matting and framing the photographic images the project.

The 40+ photos selected by Nee and approved by the Joint Government Center oversight committee are a mix of well-known local photographer’s work as well as historic photos pulled from several archival and historical collections.

All of the photos feature beautiful Clarke County, Virginia.

By 8:00 pm Thursday night, Nee and Herman had just finished the painstaking tasks of hanging 18 framed and matted photos on the JGC’s second floor walls and had finally reached the point of stepping back to admire their work. Completion of the several-hours-long picture hanging job also coincided with Clarke County Board of Supervisors chairman Michael Hobert’s appearance after exiting from the latest in a series of evening budget review sessions.

Phyllis Nee and David Herman with new artwork at Clarke County's Joint Government Center - Photo Edward Leonard

“Wow!” Hobert said upon seeing the wall-mounted photos for the first time. “This is really beautiful!”

Nee said that so far she was very pleased with the result from the one-and-a-half-year long building beautification effort.

“All of the photos are of local subjects” Nee explained. “The photography work is excellent and I am really excited to finally get the images up so that people can see them.”

David Herman, owner of Winchester’s “Pleasures & Treasures” framing shop, said that he had spent several weeks preparing the 18 photos for mounting on the Joint Government Center’s walls.

“Each photo has to go through several stages including printing, dry mounting and matting before it can be framed” Herman explained. “All of the framing materials are preservation quality and use the latest techniques to ensure that the photos won’t fade over time.”

The 18 photos that now hang in the JGC are just the first installment of a building-wide project intended to add interest and color to the walls of the County’s new office building. Featured photographers include Steve Lee, Matthew Klein, John Lewis and others. Historic sepia photographs were selected from Maral Kalbian’s recent book Images of America – Clarke County.

Enders Fire Engine by photographer Steve Lee

“It’s amazing how much the photography dresses up the walls, it really gives the building life” Nee said. “I think that people will enjoy seeing the images because everything is of Clarke County.”

Nee and Herman still have several weeks of work ahead as the duo prepares to complete the building’s second floor – which will include a 6’x9’aerial shot of the County by Matthew Klein taken from a balloon – before moving on to the first floor and stairwells. Klein’s over-sized photo is planned for the large wall that greets visitors entering the second floor auditorium.

In addition to the modern photos, selected historic photos include a World War II victory parade on Main Street, African American life in Clarke County, Castleman’s Ferry, Bear’s Den, White Post, Millwood, Berryville and other subjects from the late 1800’s through the 1950’s.

“I love the project because people will come into the building and say ‘I’ve seen that place’ or ‘I know the story behind that photo’” Nee said. “It’s really like a walk through Clarke County.”

A familiar face and place captured by photographer Steve Lee (click to enlarge)