College student carves path for young artists

Frederick County resident Hana Malone, 18, holds an example of her hubcap art at The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester. The youngest artist ever to exhibit her work in the museum's Art in the Halls series, she has displayed her hubcap art in the show "Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art." Courtesy photo

Hana Malone was on vacation one time when someone gave her slate from a historic church. It might have ended up in a landfill, but in her hands it became a work of art.

“I don’t like the regular canvas,” said the 18-year-old Frederick County resident. “That’s too boring for me.”

These days, the Lord Fairfax Community College student mostly works with hubcaps, painting them with acrylics and adding details like shells, sparkles and wire. She didn’t expect The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley to share her artistic eye.

Corwin “Cory” Garman, director of exhibitions, said he decided to add her to the exhibit “Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art” after learning of her art through Daniel Martin, a friend of Malone’s and general sales manager at iHeartMedia, which sponsors the exhibit.

It’s Malone’s first community art exhibit and the museum’s first time including anyone as young as Malone in its Art in the Halls series at 901 Amherst St., Winchester.

The exhibit has displayed art by 287 professional artists from around the world, all of whom accepted a challenge issued by the Landfillart Project of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to make art out of one or more discarded hubcaps.

“Whoa, this is a thing?” Malone remembered thinking when she learned of the exhibit. “Hey, I do that too.”

The exhibit opened in September, and Malone joined it in October.

After the first display of hubcaps ends this Sunday, students in Ryan Royston’s art class at Powhatan School in Clarke County and Geraldine Kiefer’s art class at Shenandoah University in Winchester, working through the museum’s education department, will display their hubcap art through March 1.

Thanks to Malone, more young artists might find a place at the museum, said Julie Armel, deputy director of community relations.

“She’s kind of broken ground for young artists,” Armel said.

In organizing the exhibit, Garman was looking for themes of repurposed art or even environmental themes and said Malone and her art were a perfect complement to the exhibit.

That she’s so young, he said, “I think in some ways that speaks to the theme. Younger generations are growing up with environmental issues.”

What’s neat is that she was there all along, he said, creating hubcap art organically in the museum’s “backyard” while artists worldwide were sending their art to Winchester to be part of the show.

“I can’t say enough of how important it is that people come here and see the show … and get inspired,” he said. “[The art is] approachable, and that way you can be part of this movement.”

Malone was inspired by her mother, former Winchester artist Savitri Khalsa, who used to run Dancing Fire art gallery on Boscawen Street but now lives near Silver Spring, Maryland.

“I think I get it from her,” Malone said. Like her mother, she enjoys pottery. She also makes jewelry and recently experimented with making art from gourds.

Her best work starts with an interesting shape and takes on its own meaning. “I get more ideas that way,” she said.

“I think hubcap is pretty out there.”

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com