I am writing to pay tribute to my recently deceased friend Allen Hickman. Edgar Allen Hickman’s name is synonymous with Clifton Forge, trains, and our local art world.
When we moved to Clifton Forge in 1959, we lived on Church Street, three houses east of the Presbyterian church. One day as I was sweeping our walk our neighbor from across the street, Kate Hallegan, came over to speak to me. During the course of our conversation, she asked me if I painted. My answer was, “No, but I have always wanted to learn.” At the time there was an art class which met one evening each week in the old Clifton Forge Bus Station. Subsequently, with the encouragement of my husband, I joined the class.
The class was composed of mostly middle-aged people and had a marvelous teacher, Bill Thompson from White Sulphur Springs. One of my classmates was Allen Hickman. That class was the beginning of my “art career.” It was a wonderful time with Allen, and the rest of the class and Bill Thompson encouraging me to do such things as give up my brushes for the palette knife.
Over the years, Allen and I remained friends. I graduated from the MALS program at Hollins and began teaching at DSLCC. Eventually, we opened the Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center where Allen and I became volunteers. Allen, while continuing to paint prolifically, always helped hang the new exhibits in the gallery which changed monthly. Over the years that was a lot of exhibits! Allen’s paintings of C&O trains and local landmarks developed a local and widespread demand and following and were exhibited on multiple occasions at the Art Center where he had contributed so much of his time. Allen was a wonderful person; always fun to be around and to work with. Clifton Forge is now minus one of its terrific citizens. One who cannot be replaced.
Clifton Forge, VA 24422