Radford Graduate Helms Floyd Center for the Arts

Keela Dooley Marshall, class of 2015, stands with art from the Mithila Medley exhibit in the Hayloff Gallery of the Floyd Center for the Arts. The exhibit is part of a larger constellation of Indian art exhibits and events in the New River Valley propelled by the Radford Art Museum and guest currator, John Bowles.

2015 Radford University graduate and self-described “proud Appalachian,” Keela Dooley Marshall, has rather unexpectedly found her way back home as the Executive Director of the Floyd Center for the Arts. 

When she first arrived on campus, she never imagined going on to graduate school, teaching art at universities or directing an arts center. She was simply driven by a passion for Sculpture and Metalsmithing.

Her professional shift was underway, however, when she met Professor Alison Pack, who took the aspiring artist under her wing and aimed her toward graduate school. While at Radford, she earned a SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) grant and crafted a sterling silver teapot as her project. 

Marshall (then Dooley) graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, concentrating in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design and was named the Art Department’s Most Outstanding Senior. 

From there, Marshall went on to the University of North Texas for her Master of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing and Jewelry with a minor in Sculpture. She then headed back east, becoming the Lab Manager of a printing and digital fabrication business, a program she developed within the Art Department at Appalachian State University. 

Marshall says her new job is all about collaboration and she’s spending time and energy looking for grants and opportunities to connect the Floyd Center for the Arts to the community.  

“I am daydreaming every day about what to bring to the Center,” she said.  

For example, she would like to create a “Fab Lab” like the ones she had in Texas and North Carolina. These “makerspaces” can include a wide variety of design and digital fabrication tools like laser cutters, vinyl cutters, CNC routers, and 3D printers.  

“It is my goal to introduce the excitement of digital fabrication in the arts to the public; currently makerspaces are somewhat limited to academia.”

She also wants to create a strong bond with Radford University and its art students. Marshall would like to see student interns and art exhibits in the future. 

Floyd Mithilia 1-500-72

“I  would like for the FCA to be an option for  students to exhibit their artwork because I know from firsthand experience the struggle of searching for a gallery space and/or teaching opportunities.” 

Marshall is off to a great start in building those bridges back to her Alma Mater.  

Her first major exhibition as Executive Director is called Mithila Medley: Contemporary Arts from an Ancient Culture in North India. It draws in part from Radford University’s permanent collection and is part of a four-museum exhibition this fall of Indian art. 

The Floyd Center for the Arts is located at 220 Parkway Lane South in Floyd, Virginia and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday. Everyone is welcome and there are no entry fees.  Please see the website for further information and upcoming events: https://www.floydartcenter.org/

Sep 8, 2022
Sean Kotz