Rare Alms House print found

By Ryan Cornell

WOODSTOCK — A recent discovery has lifted the spirits of those in the Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter.

When the historic Alms House — used by the nonprofit to provide temporary housing for homeless people — burned down in April, everything inside the Maurertown building was destroyed, including an original painting of “The Shenandoah County Farm.”

The painting, done by local artist Elizabeth Strippy, depicts the Alms House in the early 1900s with two residents of the former poor house and a scattering of maple trees.

While cleaning out her attic this summer, Nan Powell, a founding member and former board president of the Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter, found a rare print of the limited edition painting covered in plastic wrap. There were only 250 prints made, according to Alliance Program Administrator Kerry Keihn, and all of them were sold.

“We were shocked beyond belief,” Keihn said. “We couldn’t believe it. She just came by and knocked and was like, ‘You won’t believe what I found when I was cleaning out the attic.’

“I mean, the first thing almost all of us thought of when the [Alms House] burned down was that the original painting was in the fire, and we loved that painting. Everybody who came into the office, clients or donors, always had questions about it.”

After the discovery, the print was sent to the Woodstock Gallery & Frame Shop, where it was restored and framed, and donated to the Alliance.

The framed print, which is number 39 out of 250, will be raffled off at the Alliance’s annual Empty Bowl Soup Supper on Nov. 21. All proceeds will benefit the Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter.

Participants do not have to be present to win.

To purchase tickets, contact the Alliance at 540-459-3212 or sassc@shentel.net.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com