Several collaborators have been identified to help execute the project, including local artists Cat Pleska and Sassa Wilkes, RenewAll Inc. Executive Director Lauren Kemp, and Margaret Mary Layne, CEO of Layne Consulting. Opportunities for additional artist engagement will be announced in the future.
Pleska, an author, essayist, and historian who will be developing a multi-media exhibit of the history of the workers at the Corbin Factory, said she was pleased to see the West Edge’s historic roots preserved and displayed.
“I’m thrilled to continue working on the legacy that was the Corbin Coat Factory,” Pleska said. “Installing historical artifacts at the West Edge Factory pays homage to the hundreds who worked there for several decades and to the Corbin family who provided a meaningful and successful workplace for their employees for nearly 50 years.”
Wilkes, a painter and educator, said she was ecstatic to get involved. Several of Wilkes’ public art installations are currently displayed in neighboring communities in Cabell County.
“I am so excited to be a part of the NEA grant with the team that West Edge has put together,” Wilkes said. “This is such a creative, energetic group of people, and I can’t wait to see how we can use that energy to impact this community.”
Kemp, executive director of RenewAll Inc., shared the enthusiasm for achieving progress that builds on previous efforts.
“We are very excited to work with Coalfield Development creating a program to share our history and support local artists,” Kemp said. “This project complements the vision for the14th Street West District by strengthening the creative community and preserving the story of our shared heritage.”
Layne, CEO of Layne Consulting and former Executive Director of the Huntington Museum of Art, said she looks forward to seeing the long-awaited project begin.
“This new grant will allow us to take the next step in fulfilling the dream of an arts and culture district in the western part of Huntington with the West Edge Factory, 14th St W and Heritage Farm as our arts and culture hubs,” Layne said. “Working with the residents and area artists to create public art will be so rewarding.”
Coalfield and the project team anticipate that public programs and calls for additional collaborators will take place later this summer. Through this grant, the Coalfield team looks forward to funding public arts, empowering artists and creatives in and around the Westmoreland and West End neighborhoods, and to creating a sustainable, supportive environment where current and future community artists can thrive.
For more information about the NEA grant or Coalfield Development Corporation, contact Nick Guertin at email@example.com.