BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — West Virginia Wesleyan College unveiled a new piece of art in Wesley Chapel during the Annual Methodist Conference of the United Methodist Church Friday morning. “The Family Tree,” created by artist Wolfgang Flor, will be on display at the front of the chapel.
The piece, which was constructed from chestnut and treated with sulfur water, is rich in symbolism.
“The girl in the lower right corner has her palm turned outward symbolizing her impending departure from this family to start her own. Her younger brother in the lower left corner is clinging on to the family tree with both arms. The parents in the upper right corner are holding on to each other while also holding on to the family tree. In the upper left corner, grandfather’s old hand symbolizes his struggle to hold on to the family as he slips away,” the description stated.
“For me, it’s very simple,” Flor said. “Family is the more important thing in society, and I wanted to give it a monument.”
“Hopefully, it will mean something to people when they see it,” Flor continued.
Flor, a native of Silesia, Germany, and a resident of Rock Cave, first worked with West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1963. The class of 1964 presented, as a gift to the college, his carving of the college seal in black walnut to hang over the fireplace of the social hall in the Benedum Campus Community Center.
Flor was commissioned by Wesleyan in the mid-1960s, as work began on Wesley Chapel, to produce the Twelve Apostles, which are still displayed at the rear of the chapel today.
Flor, now 88, had a “things happen for a reason” meeting with Buckhannon native and retired educator Greg Cartwright, who was searching for a piece of the wood Flor uses. Cartwright, owner of Cartwright’s Creations, saw the nearly completed piece, “The Family Tree,” at this meeting, and contacted Wesleyan about permanent placement in the chapel.
“It was a things happen for a reason meeting, and now, we understand that reason,” Cartwright said.