HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The pandemic has been tough, especially for those who rely on public foot traffic and community engagement in order to make their money.
However, we are seeing signs of the rebirth of public life in the Jewel City Wednesday night.
Huntington’s art scene took a hit during the pandemic, but tonight they are rebooting the arts community with a celebration called ‘Arts Night Out.’
“I’m so excited about tonight! I woke up early, I’m ready to go! We are going to have a great event and we have some great events scheduled next,” says Raine Klover, co-organizer of ‘Arts Night Out.’
Heritage Station is getting ready to come back to life for an event it has been missing for over a year.
“I define it as an arts event, but we definitely have a festival-like atmosphere,” Klover says.
‘Arts Night Out’ used to be a monthly celebration of the Huntington arts scene. Unfortunately, like almost everything else, it too had to be cancelled for the past 14 months due to the pandemic.
Organizers say local artists have been negatively impacted.
“We have a lot of artists where this is their job. This is how they make their living, this is how they feed their families. And it has been hard for this past year,” Klover says.
That’s something that co-owner of Full Circle Gifts & Goods at Heritage Station Noelle Horsfield can attest to.
“We were closed from March 12th of last year until May 1st of this year,” Horsfield says.
They stayed afloat through online sales, and they credit it all to the community.
“We had a huge amount of support from the community. We could not have gotten through this without everyone,” Horsfield says.
She says its events like ‘Arts Night Out,’ that really spur on an art scene.
“I think that’s the thing that artists have missed the most, is that connection with people…We’ve made it now let’s come out and really support it and enjoy it!” Horsfield says.
So, what kinds of things can people expect at this ‘rebooted’ arts night out event?
“Huntington Literary Laureate Daniel O’Malley is gonna be here with Huntington Fiction Factory; he’s gonna be doing some readings and talking about the craft of writing. Barboursville artist Sassa Wilkes will be here at the Visitor’s Center. We’re going to have photographer Most Exalted at Full Circle doing a photo booth, and we’re going to have Hill Tree Roastery doing a little culinary arts with a coffee pop-up,” Klover says.
On top of all that, Alchemy Theater Troupe is screening their film ‘Hay fever’—which was filmed right in Huntington—on the back patio.
The event runs from 6:00pm-9:00pm on Wednesday at Heritage Station.
Organizers say from here on out they will hold ‘Arts Night Out’ on the last Wednesday of every month.