Clarksburg, Alderson-Broaddus College partner for public art - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Clarksburg, Alderson-Broaddus College partner for public art

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The revival of historic downtown districts in cities across America is increasingly tied to their ability to shift from being retail centers to being cultural centers. For that reason, public art is playing an increasingly important — and visible — role in revitalization efforts.

Recognizing that, Clarksburg Uptown, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the revitalization of the historic uptown district of Clarksburg, is partnering with Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi to explore a variety of potential public art projects.

The project, which connects Alderson-Broaddus visual arts students with Clarksburg Uptown members, is a part of the Campus-Community LINK program, a community service learning program initiated by West Virginia Campus Compact with assistance from the West Virginia Community Development Hub.

The program provides up to $5,000 to cover expenses incurred by a college or university as students and faculty provide technical assistance to a community development project. Campus-Community LINK is funded through a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

This fall, the students will concentrate on refining proposals for presentation to the Clarksburg community. The community's feedback will be used to make adjustments in preparation for spring, when the projects will be implemented.

"We're very excited about the potential these students bring," said Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe, a member of the Clarksburg Uptown Board of Directors. "We're beginning to see progress in the uptown area of Clarksburg and we believe this project will help us gain momentum."

Currently in its earliest phase, this public art project intends to draw upon and celebrate the history of Clarksburg as represented in its architecture as well as in its people's stories, legacies and talents. There will be an emphasis on projects that involve community members directly in the process of creation and on projects that can support the ongoing presentation of new public artwork in Clarksburg for years to come.

Clarksburg Uptown members, along with a group of visual arts students and Alderson-Broaddus Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Grant Johnson, who is overseeing the project, recently toured the district discussing the possibilities and photographing the area and its architecture.

 "I expect our students — and the Clarksburg community — to learn across a wide spectrum as they work to understand one another and develop compelling projects," said Johnson. "This is about much more than pretty murals or statues. It's about reinvigorating a town."

For more information or to inquire about participating, contact Johnson at johnsonge@ab.edu or (304) 457-6273.