The Landmark Studio for the Arts was originally started as a theater group called “The WV Hillbilly Players” in 1978. In 1988 friends and members of the Players (Bill Hopen and Olga Gioulis) purchased the church building. The building orginally was the Episcopal Church in 1886 and still has the original stained glass windows and woodwork. Since 1978, over130 productions have graced our stage.
The mission of the Landmark is to provide a venue for art and cultural events in Sutton that can be enjoyed be all citizens of the county and surrounding areas. Whenever possible, in cooperation with the schools, we have endeavored to present programs to enrich our children, both in school and on our stage. We also seek to support and promote regional artist and provide them with space to exhibit.
Our Board Members
Olga Gioulis, Secretary
Olga is a founding member of the Landmark since 1988. She has been in a number of musicals and dramas over the years, has acted as President, Treasurer and Secretary. She has helped write grants and raise funds to present programs and to restore the facility. She says “I strongly believe in the Landmark’s mission to promote the arts and culture in our community and youth. The arts build critical thinking skills and develop self esteem, confidence, and language skills.” Olga is a licensed psychologist at her day job. She is the mother of two wonderful adults who grew up on the Landmark’s stage and the grandmother of three sweeties.
Chris Allen, Treasurer
After graduating from WVU with a degree in Retailing/Marketing I realized the retail market was not for me. For the last 30 years I have worked as a Paralegal for the Law Firm Barth & Thompson in Charleston. I got involved with the Landmark when asked to play a bit part in The Rose Tattoo and haven’t looked back. Due to “stage fright” I turned to directing 1996 and love to do comedies. My present position on the Landmark Studio’s board is Treasurer, after holding that post with the Landmark Players before the two organizations merged. I am fortunate that my husband Rick is my set builder along with my two great sons, Zack and Kyle.
Dr. Sally Stewart
As a member of the original Landmark Board, I feel I am making a full circle to return as a member after these many years. I have been a supporter of the Landmark and the Landmark events from the beginning. I have always been amazed at the plethora of talent in this small community. My theater experience here has been both on and off stage. My greatest challenges have been in the role of director and co-director of shows such as THE KING AND I, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, CAMELOT, and NUNCRACKERS. I look forward to helping maintain the arts in our area for all generations to enjoy.
As a resident of Sutton for thirty-five years, I have always supported The Landmark and the fine arts programs. As a first grade teacher for thirty-three years, I incorporated music and drama as very important parts of my curriculum. The arts provide a different avenue for students to express themselves and make all education more relevant. Braxton County is fortunate to have a local program that has been sustained for many years by caring people. I am honored to be a part of The Landmark to assist in the maintenance and advancement of the arts for Braxton County.
My experience with the Landmark began in the 80’s with an unveiling of Bill Hopen’s. I grew up attending shows and watching my friends with dramatic talent. I came to be on the board via my long time connections with the group. I am a former English student of our President, a former friend of our scholarship inspiration, and good friend to long time board member Christine Allen. I bring marketing and social media skills to the group. My goal is to help create a voice for our community and make sure it gets heard.
I have been a supporter of the Landmark since its beginnings as the Hillbilly Players. The Landmark is one of the special things that adds to quality of life in Braxton county. You’ll find me in the audience and background applauding our excellent productions. This is my second time on the Landmark Board and I hope to help the Landmark to continue to grow and prosper. As a retired school administrator, I bring 30 plus years of experience as a member of the school and county community.