Memorial Day flowers

Students put out handmade clay poppy flowers for the Ashford Memorial Day celebration.

OLEAN — Thanks to support from the Elisa B. Hughey Fund for the Arts, handmade poppies commemorating Fallen Veterans crafted by West Valley Central School art students decorated this year’s town of Ashford Memorial Day celebration.

The Elisa B. Hughey Fund for the Arts at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation made possible a grant to West Valley Central School to support this effort led by the school’s art department.

West Valley art teacher Hannah Mazzuto said every student in her 6-12 grade art classes made at least two poppies out of clay, and the wooden dowels were provided by Hughey’s husband and store owner, Inigo de Orbe, of Aardvark in Ellicottville.

Students made just short of 200 poppies for the ceremony. Those in attendance were able to take one of the handcrafted poppies following the ceremony.

“We were pleased to fund the art collaboration project for Memorial Day,” said Brenda Hughey, Elisa B. Hughey Fund for the Arts committee co-chair. “It was creative and meaningful. Besides awarding scholarships, this is the kind of community art project we want to support and hope to do more of in the future. “

Members of the Elisa B. Hughey Fund for the Arts scholarship committee decided to establish the fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation in 2020 to help further the group’s mission of supporting local art students and artists in the Cattaraugus County region in memory of Elisa Hughey, a dedicated artist and lover of the arts who passed away in 2016 after battling cancer.

An accomplished artist, Hughey had her work displayed at Albright Knox Art Gallery, Luminous Gallery and Chautauqua Center for the Visual Arts and numerous other galleries.

Hughey taught grade school level art for a number of years before opening the Aardvark Home Décor store with her husband in Ellicottville.

The Hughey Fund for Arts also makes possible an annual scholarship for Ellicottville and West Valley Central high schools, for college-bound students committed to advancing their skills in any aspect of the fine arts. To learn more, visit

Much of the fund’s financial support comes annually from the annual “Elisa’s Run for the Arts,” which will again be held virtually this year on June 19 at 10 a.m. Learn more about the run and join in on

Donations can be made to the Elisa B. Hughey Fund for the Arts at CRCF, 301 N. Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14760, or online at

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