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In The News


Brent Woodard and The Rock Cries Out Studios have received tremendous media attention.

Here you may read the latest articles covering the studio's work.

4-19 Carter Hall Showcase.jpg

WVU Tech student Holden Hopkins is introduced by adjunct art instructor Brent Woodard at a Student Arts Showcase at the school Tuesday in Beckley. 
Jenny Harnish/ The Register-Herald

Students display art and culinary talents at showcase

By Josephine E. Moore The Register-Herald Apr 19, 2022

The best of visual and culinary arts from students at West Virginia University Institute of Technology were on full display Tuesday afternoon for a showcase in Carter Hall Auditorium.

The purpose of the showcase was to announce and honor the winners of an annual art contest.

For two students who will be the first to graduate from WVU Tech’s Hospitality/Culinary program, the showcase also served as a final exam for their pastry course, which meant attendees could sample the pastries from their final assignment while perusing the artwork.

Although this is the first time the Hospitality/Culinary program has been part of the showcase, Adjunct Art Instructor Brent Woodard said he’s held this competition for his art students since 2018.

As part of the competition, students are asked to draw Carter Hall, an iconic landmark on campus that was built in 1918.

“This assignment is pretty much the culmination of everything they learn in a semester,” Woodard said. “I start with what I call ‘the elements of art.’ I start with line, then shade, then value, perspective, buildings, 123 point (perspective) and then we go all the way through. By the time they get to color, they're able to use every single lesson for this project.”

He added that a total of roughly 60 students from his fall 2021 and spring 2022 art classes submitted their color art rendering of Carter Hall, which is then viewed by a panel of judges who select a first and second place.

This year, first place was awarded to freshman biology student Holden Hopkins for his digital rendering of Carter Hall.

Hopkins said he was surprised when he found out that he received first place. In addition to that honor, Hopkins said he also received a $500 tuition waiver, which he will use to pay for a summer course.

Woodard said Hopkins’ drawing was the first digital piece that has ever been turned in for this competition.

Second place was awarded to electrical engineering student Ethan Vance, who was awarded a $250 tuition waiver.

Vance said he has always been interested in art and really enjoyed Woodard’s class as well as this assignment.

“This was just a class to fill in a credit, but I'm glad I did it,” he said. “I learned a lot and really enjoyed it ... I did art in high school and I really liked it. Wasn’t much good at it, but that’s one of the things we learned in class. You don't have to be good at art to do art. That was one of my main takeaways, that everybody's an artist.”

Receiving honorable mention for the competition was Brooklynn Griffith. The other finalists included Andrew Wright, Jordan Lilley, Aura Matics, Sydney McGraw, Caylin Adkins, Madelyn Grimmett, Christian Sizemore, Kyle Holliday and Justin Pettit.

A different type of artwork was also on display in the auditorium thanks to Ashley Isaacs and Emma Keepe, who will be the first graduates from WVU Tech’s new Hospitality/Culinary program.

As part of their final exam for their pastry course, Isaacs and Keepe crafted a wide range of pastries including double chocolate mousse cakes, Black Forest tartlets, almond cookie toffees, fruit tarts with pastry cream, lemon curd meringues, meringue cookies dipped in dark chocolate and blood orange mousse pyramids with passion fruit glaze.

Isaacs said the most frustrating pastries to make were the blood orange mousse pyramids because they kept getting stuck to the pyramid-shaped molds.

However, Isaacs said the two were able to power through and were extremely proud of what they were able to present.

“It feels really rewarding to be able to showcase all of our knowledge that we've learned these past few years,” she said. “It's been fun, but it's been a lot to take in.”

Keepe said she also likes to be able to show off what she can do with her culinary skills.

“It does feel good to be able to be like, ‘Hey, this is what we've been doing the past two years and we would like for you to be able to enjoy it,’” she said.

After graduating, Isaacs and Keepe said they will both be pursing internships.

WVU Tech’s Hospitality/Culinary program was started in 2020.

7-21 The Butterfly Kids Mural - Finished 6.jpg

 Lootpress     July 16, 2021

Local art instructor adds new wings to McManus Trail Art Park

BECKLEY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – The McManus Trail Art Park just got a new set of wings.


For the last two weeks, Brent Woodard, a local artist and art instructor at WVU Tech and the University of Charleston, has been adding a new mural to the art park.

Woodard had done some logo work for the city in the past and was requested to paint the McManus Trail Art Park mural by Jill Moorefield, director of events.


According to Woodard, Moorefield wanted to add a pair of wings that would compliment the other two pairs but be more accommodating to children. The current wings are larger and geared more toward adults, making it difficult for youth to interact with the art.


As Woodward was designing his mural, he said he was inspired by color theory and the color spectrum- two topics his curriculum highlights frequently.


“I pitched two ideas, and I went with the first one: the butterfly wings. They’re cute and innocent.”


With the majority of the mural done, Woodard says is happy to make his mark on Beckley.


“I am very honored that they asked me to begin with,” he said. “I teach here, I live here, I am growing my family here, so having that connection to the culture of the city is great. When art is embraced and noticed and encouraged, you really get a unique, beautiful thing come out of your community. If we can keep doing that, I think people will be surprised.”


Woodard is adding the finishing touches to his mural and should be finished by next week.

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Art Professor Named One of the Best - Twice

The Talon - March 10, 2020

For the second year in a row, Adjunct Art Professor Brent Woodard made the runners-up list for Best WV Artist in the WV Living Magazine's Best of West Virginia 2019 poll. You can see his work at

WV Living - Volume 12, Issue 4  Winter 2019

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Students Mackenzie Sloan (L) and Bianca Adrienne R. Cabradilla stand with Dr. Stephen W. Brown, dean of the College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences at WVU Tech.

                                                                                              April 24th, 2019

Golden Bears Celebrate Creativity (and Carter Hall) in Student Art Competition

West Virginia University Institute of Technology
On Tuesday, April 23, local artists and art instructors gathered in a small room in Carter Hall to celebrate and judge artistic works. The pieces – all created by WVU Tech students – were submitted as part of a semester-long art competition that culminated in the day’s event.
In the room were nine different renderings of WVU Tech’s iconic Carter Hall, each of which bore the unique marks of their makers.
Professor Brent Woodard teaches art in the Department of History, English, & Creative Arts at WVU Tech. He organized the project and said almost 60 students submitted their work over the last year.
These nine were the semi-finalists, sharing their work with the world at large.
“It's the best kind of confidence builder. There's nothing like creating something, be it art, literature, music, etc., and be able to have the opportunity to showcase it to peers, pros and newcomers alike,” said Woodard.
Woodard said that the art community at WVU Tech is growing and that events like this prove the creative potential of the university’s students.
“It's a positive work in progress", he said.
“There is a history of world-renowned art coming from artists with technical training; MC Escher, for example. I'm proud that, every semester, I get a new opportunity to meet students with no art background and see them become the artistic 'diamond in the rough' they didn't know they could be.” 
The day’s diamond turned out to be first-place winner Mackenzie Sloan, whose colorful rendition of the building captured the judges’ interest and the $500 tuition waiver grand prize.
At second was Bianca Adrienne Cabradilla with Kaitlyn M. Lilly landing third place. Students Maeghan Ellison, Emily Boyd, Casey Hambrick, Amy Sizemore, Hannah Argabright and Anthony Takumi Veltre earned honorable mentions for their work.
Alecia Barbour, Ph.D., assistant professor of music at WVU Tech, worked with Woodard to put together the competition.
She said she was proud to see so much support for the project.
“We have a wonderful community of people at WVU Tech who are invested in supporting student creative expression in a variety of ways,” she said.
She shared that the event grew out of a simple idea – challenge students to create an artistic representation of WVU Tech’s iconic Carter Hall. The project was launched in one of Woodard’s courses and, in the two semesters since, has grown.
“We have some phenomenally talented and creative students," she said.
“Creative expression is a fundamentally valuable component of the human experience. I also believe that there are many ways for students to showcase their ‘art,’ whether it be in their entrepreneurship, athleticism, designs, experiments, coding, or other creative or scholarly endeavors.”
The competition relied on a panel of judges from the local arts community, including former Woodrow Wilson High School teacher, Rebecca Doman; Quincy Potasnik, artist at The Tiny Sparrow; Ridgeview Elementary School art teacher, Kimberly Sexton; and Stephen Brightwell (photographer), Cailin Howe (museums exhibits director) and Darren Husband (touring exhibits, museums graphic artist) from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History.
“There is a strong interest in art in the city, through education as well as exhibition", said Woodard.
“Having WVU Tech as not only part of this growing community, but as one of the potential spearheads moving forward, is too good an opportunity to pass up. The more people and professionals know about it, the faster it can grow.”
The department plans to maintain and expand the competition in future years, allowing more opportunities for students to flex their creativity.
“I hope that events of this nature, along with courses and other opportunities, will support the continued growth and enrichment of a creative and fine arts community here at WVU Tech,” said Barbour.

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Adjunct Professor Awarded First Runner-Up in WV Living Magazine's Best of West Virginia 2018 Awards

WVU Mountaineer ENews

WVU Tech Adjunct Professor Brent Woodard was chosen as the first runner-up for 'Best Artist' in the WV Living Magazine's Best of West Virginia 2018 Awards. Woodard and his studio, The Rock Cries Out Studios, received votes from all over the state. He lives and teaches in Beckley.

WV Living - Volume 11, Issue 4  Winter 2018  10th Anniversary Edition.

The following article was published in Portsmouth Daily Times on May 30, 2013.

NB mural dedicated to 1960 Little League team

By Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer

NEW BOSTON — More than 50 years after New Boston Little League played in the Little League World Series, the team is being honored with a special mural at Millbrook Park, in New Boston. Mayor James Warren said the mural is expected to be dedicated to the team during a special ceremony June 22.

In 1960, New Boston became the first team from Ohio to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Va., after beating Portsmouth and playing Elyria for the state title. Then New Boston beat all other northern state teams for the regional championship to advance to the National Little League World Series. New Boston represented the northern United States in the Series, California represented the west, Texas represented the south, and Pennsylvania represented the east. Teams also played from Europe, Asia, Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii.

Pennsylvania finally won the Series, but New Boston finished fifth in the entire world league.

"It was an unbelievable team," said Bill Powell, whose son Mike Powell played on the team. "The toughest game we had was the first one, against Portsmouth, and it went extra innings. Then they won 11 straight tournament games. Ten more after Portsmouth."

In honor of the team's achievement, a group of individuals — which include New Boston Mayor James Warren — have raised money to commission a mural depicting the 1960 New Boston Little League team. Artist Charlie Reed was first commissioned last summer to create the piece on the back of the baseball field press box facing the New Boston Stadium. In April, the job was handed over to Brent Woodard, of Lucasville, to complete.

"He (Reed) had gotten the sketch up, which was a feat unto itself. He did a great job on that sketch," Woodard said.

Woodard has a bachelor's degree in Illustration from the Columbus College of Art and Design, and a master's degree in Studio Arts from Marshall University. He does private commissions and his studio, The Rock Cries Out Studio, is available online at He previously worked with Little League designing a drug-awareness patch for the league, so when they needed another artist to complete the mural they called him.

Woodard started the project in April and has clocked over 30 hours until Wednesday, when he was applying the final protective clear coat.

"It's anti-graffiti clear coat, so if anybody would get a wild hair to spray paint it or write on it or do anything, with a power wash or just a good scrub brush it'll just come right off and it won't affect the mural," Woodard said.

Now that the mural is complete, Mayor James Warren said the village, Little League and Woodard will participate in a public dedication ceremony at the park on Saturday, June 22.

The following article was published on pages A1 and A3 of the Portsmouth Daily Times on July 9, 2011.

Little League Patch Goes Worldwide

By Frank Lewis
PDT Staff Writer

A patch designed by area Little League baseball and softball players will soon go worldwide.

A collaboration of former Major League Baseball star Al Oliver, Frank Thompson of the Scioto Prescription Drug Task Force Action Team, Brent Woodard of The Rock Cries Out Studios and District 11 Little League Administrator Don Rawlins resulted in production of a patch reading "Get on Base, Not on Drugs."

"We actually settled on the patch before we got the coffee we ordered," Rawlins said.

The phrase "Get on Base, Not on Drugs" was no stranger to Oliver.

"It has been over 20 years," Oliver said. "When I began to do motivational speaking I sat down and thought about a lot of things that I would speak on when I went to corporations, businessed, colleges, universities, high schools, the whole gamut, and sometimes even personal contact with people. You have to have a message when you are a motivational speaker, and I thought about the drug problem that was going across the country, and I said, 'Get on Base, Not on Drugs.'"

Thompson took that slogan to Woodard, a 2000 graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design, who is wrapping up a masters degree program in studio arts painting at Marshall University.

"I got in touch with Frank and found out what was going to be needed — what kind of imagery they wanted," Woodard said. "I wanted to do something that kind of had a unique look to it but, at the same time, looked like it belonged in that field of patchwork."

The next group that had to sign off on the design and production was the District 11 Little League.

"Any time you put a patch on a Little League uniform, it has to be approved, looked at, designed, and that's when we talked to Brent. And I think we looked at a couple of other designs," Rawlins said. "Now this patch will be going on not only in out [sic] district but this patch will be going worldwide. And it all started right here."

Thompson, who has made it his life's work to crusade against the use of illegal drugs, said he knows it is important to reach children at an early age.

"We've been trying to reach the youth, and to try to do everything we can to educate youth about Rx drugs," Thompson said. "I just thought this would be something that maybe would be mindful — in the public eye."

Thompson thanked Mike and Melissa Pistole of Uniforms to the ResQ for quickly producing the patch, as well as Southern Ohio Medical Center, J&H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors, Inc., McGovney Ready Mix, Executive Coach, Portsmouth Taxi, Alarm Tech Security, and Livingston and Sons Company for making financial contributions that led to the production of the patch. He also thanked Mike Vermillion of Imagine Design for offering a design.

"I just hope the youth in our area and whoever wears this patch are mindful of the problems. It's a step in the right direction," Thompson said.

The following article was published on page A6 of the Portsmouth Daily Times on May 22, 2011.

On the Job: Portrait Artist

By Heather Dumas
PDT Staff Writer

Brent Woodard is a professional artist who specializes in portraiture, as well as being a graduate student at Marshall University and a full-time dad.

"I specialize in portraiture work, be it oil paints, monument granite, scratch board, illustration," Woodard said. "In addition, I do a lot of spot design, murals, a little bit of everything." Woodard loved art even as a child, excelling in art at school.

"One conversation with a guidance counselor later I found the Columbus College of Art and Design. I did my undergrad there and got my bachelor's degree," Woodard said.

Balancing family and school, and still make [sic] living as an artist, is not always easy.

"Really it's just schedule, schedule, schedule," Woodard said. "It's being willing to make sacrifices. And there are going to be some projects where I'm not going to get much sleep or have to give up a weekend here or there."

Woodard finds that he often has to take advantage of art time as it comes to him, often when his 1-year-old son is taking a nap.

"There is no typical day," Woodard said. He has been known to work through the night before on especially labor-intensive pieces. Woodard said art is stress relief for him, having to take the time to slow down and focus his thoughts on the details of his artwork rather than the sometimes hectic pace of daily life.

Woodard's studio is in the basement of his house, not a separate shop space. The doorways are so low that most adults must bend to avoid hitting their heads on the exposed brick of the studio door. The space was once an old canning room, so it stays relatively cool year-round.

His art materials are many and varied.

"When I work on murals, I use house paint, both oil paint and acrylic. I've used Wite-Out. Anything that makes the mark and gets the job done," Woodard said. "Oil paint and scratch board are my favorite mediums."

Not all of Woodard's pieces are simple portraits on a flat canvas.

"Sometimes, I get an idea and it requires more than just a canvas," he said. "This piece here, I almost saw the canvases before I saw the image, because I wanted to represent sound."

The piece Woodard referred to is "Propagation and Vibration," which includes several three-dimensional layers depicting sound waves radiating out of the surface of the painting as they might from a set of speakers.

Woodard began his studies toward a master's degree at Marshall University in spring of 2010.

"I graduated from CCAD in 2000, and kind of did the family and daddy thing for about 10 years, taking various jobs," he said. "I worked in marketing, at SOMC, a lot of jobs that help inform what I do today."

Woodard found that his undergraduate education afforded him only limited opportunities, and decided to continue his studies. He plans to pursue a doctorate degree and perhaps teach art at the college level somewhere in the area.

Woodard likes to take time to understand the subject of the portraits he paints to bring more personality to the images he creates.

"I talk to the person and get to know them. I find out why they want the portrait. It helps inform what I'm painting; it helps the artist invest in the image," he said. "I want to create more than just a face. I want people to look at it and say, 'That's so-and-so. That's the smile, that's the gleam in the eye.'"

The first portrait Woodard did was one of musician John Lennon. The portrait ran in the Portsmouth Daily Times in December 2000 accompanying a story commemorating the 20th anniversary of the musician's death.

"This was my first real attempt at doing portraiture. I'd never really bothered with it. I did illustration and more Norman Rockwell story-telling scenes," Woodard said.

He grew up in Lucasville, then lived in Columbus while in college. He now resides in Sciotoville.

"I really wanted the studio to be more like the old Italian Renaissance studios where it's not so much a formal building where you go to, or a customer-client kind of thing. In old Italian the word studio means to study. Wherever the person is, that's the space, that's the studio."

Woodard's business presence is mainly on the Internet at That is where potential clients can view his work and it's how he makes many of his sales.

"That's the presentation. That's the showroom floor," Woodard said. "I post on Facebook as I do a piece, so you can see the stages I'm in. That works toward education."

Woodard said he believes each artist should work in the space they have available to them, with the materials they can readily acquire.

"There are no rules in art, it's more like guidelines," he laughed.

In addition to painting, Woodard also does portraits in monument stone, using a high-speed, diamond-tipped Dremel tool. He began working with stone in 2006.

"I find that granite is a lot less forgiving," he chuckled.

Woodard said that he keeps his prices negotiable and works with his clients so that they can get the art they want but can still fit within their budget.

"Dead CEOs shouldn't be the only ones who get those," Woodard said. "Good portraits shouldn't be exclusive to just that sort of people."

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