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Former Gov. Gaston Caperton donates painting to the University

ISSUED: 15 November 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Cecelia Mason

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — A painting that used to hang in the kitchen of former Gov. Gaston Caperton’s house in Charleston, West Virginia, now graces one of the walls in Shepherd University’s Student Center Ram’s Den.

The painting by Shepherd graduate Nate Loda is called “Field Trip.” It was included in Loda’s 2011 senior year capstone exhibit and depicts a boy with a backpack wearing a Cleveland Indians baseball cap looking at a large work of art that depicts symbols from Mayan culture.

“I was interested in creating a narrative and the juxtaposition of the Pre-Columbian mural versus the child’s Cleveland Indians baseball cap as a way to provoke a dialogue about the representation of historical Indigenous culture versus adaptations or appropriations of their iconographies in contemporary culture,” Loda said.

“I think it’s great that it has a new home in the Ram’s Den, and I hope it can encourage and inspire future generations to broaden their own interest and understanding of history, culture, and mythologies,” he added.

Photo of Nate Loda standing next to his painting.

The painting’s journey to Caperton’s kitchen wall began when Loda invited former Shepherd president Suzanne Shipley to his capstone exhibit. She later purchased the painting as a gift to Caperton, who loves West Virginia art. “Field Trip” is among his favorites. Visitors to his home complimented not only the painting but also the frame, which was produced from West Virginia cherry wood by Loda’s father.

“In addition to a cool composition and welcoming color tones, the painting has always given me the impression of a start to a journey, an educational journey,” Caperton said. “I have long appreciated Shepherd University’s commitment to the fine arts and am happy to add a painting from one of its own to the campus collection.”

On November 9, Loda and his family traveled from Central New York where he works as a professional artist to commemorate the donation. Current Shepherd Board of Governors Chair Gat Caperton, Gaston Caperton’s son, and current Shepherd President Mary J.C. Hendrix participated in the event.

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