Huntington, WV Black History

Theresa D. Polley-Shellcroft


Theresa D. Polley-Shellcroft is a Huntington native who has been an artist and educator for more than 50 years.

Polley-Shellcroft grew up in Huntington and received a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State University and a master’s degree from Marshall University. As an undergrad student, she was active during the Civil Rights Movement to integrate Huntington’s movie theaters, restaurants and swimming pools.

As a professional educator, Polley-Shellcroft is dedicated to building self-esteem, creative personal growth and knowledge. She has worked in California as a classroom teacher, a mentor teacher for the Hesperia School District, K-12 as the Visual Arts/ Language Arts/New Teacher Mentor and Chair for 14 of her 19 years with the district. At the state level, she was part of the committee rewriting the Visual and Performing Arts Framework for State of California Schools. She served as a teacher leader/trainer for the First Amendment Rights in the Classroom and was awarded Elementary Art Teacher of the Year from the California Art Educator’s Association as well as Teacher of the Year at Cottonwood Elementary School.

Other selected awards from the community include the Eloise Gibson Award for Commitment to Education, Peace and Harmony; the Spirit of Sankofa Award in Art from the San Bernardino County African American Association of Employees; the African American Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement in Art and Education; and several State of California local, county and state recognitions and achievement awards.

Polley-Shellcroft’s art career began at Barnett Elementary School when she received the Daughters of the American Revolution Art Award in the fourth grade and the Exhibition 180 at the Huntington Art Galleries in 1965. The Huntington Museum of Art has exhibited her work and purchased a quilt she made for its permanent collection, and also selected her as a Walter Gropius workshop leader.  She has works in private and permanent collections, including the Smithsonian. She served as the Learning Center Coordinator, African Diaspora, at the Smithsonian Institute among other professional opportunities.

In addition, Polley-Shellcroft is creating an art quilt honoring her Girl Scout leader, Memphis Tennessee Garrison of Huntington.






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