Art History

Back to Blog October 20, 2020

Alison Printz (PhD candidate) completes a commission and has an exhibition

Author: Jane DeRose Evans
mural of Carrie Williams Saint of Coketon Ali Printz

Ali Printz has completed a 21' by 17' mural in Thomas, West Virginia, called Carrie Williams: Saint of Coketon, in honor of a little-known early civil rights Supreme Court case in West Virginia in the late 19th century.  Carrie Williams was a black school teacher at the Coketon Colored School (part of a coal camp) in the 1890s in Tucker County, WV and after local politicians cut the school year for black students in half and cut pay for black teachers, she hired JR Clifford to represent her in the case. Clifford was the first black attorney in WV and also a founder of the Niagara movement and friend of WEB Dubois, and he won the landmark case which led to equal pay and representation for black students and teachers in WV. Unfortunately because this happened in WV, it is little known to the rest of the country.

She is also a co-exhibitor, Appalachian Extraction, a collaboration with a 3D installation artist about the history of mining disasters in West Virginia. Her part was a series of paintings with attached vintage mining lights that interacted with a virtual 3D mine (created by Ernie Roby-Tomic) in the gallery. The exhibit can be seen here: and a virtual walkthrough of the exhibition here: .