NEA grant, matching funds will pave way for future art initiatives at West Edge

HUNTINGTON — The National Endowment for the Arts has approved Coalfield Development, in partnership with the City of Huntington, for a grant in the amount of $100,000 through the Our Town Program.

Matched dollar for dollar by Coalfield, the work advances existing efforts to install public art and conduct programming throughout Huntington’s Westmoreland and West Huntington neighborhoods.

The Our Town grant, announced in May, will consist of three primary components: enabling Coalfield to create arts- and culture-oriented programming and activities for the community, continuing the development and utilization of artist workspaces at the West Edge Factory, and supporting the installation of up to four public art displays created by local artists. The project will be a collaborative effort involving residents, artists, community groups, the City of Huntington and Marshall University. 

Through these efforts, the Our Town grant will enable Coalfield to strengthen existing relationships while creating opportunities to uplift and empower the Westmoreland and West Huntington neighborhoods. By showcasing public art throughout these neighborhoods, Coalfield aims to shine a light on the past, present, and future of the community through an artistic and educational lens. 

Set to begin in the Summer of 2021, the project will be an extension of the City of Huntington’s NEA-sponsored 14th St. W. Arts & Culture District Plan project in 2019 that involved Coalfield Development, Heritage Farm Museum and Village and other creative allies. The 14th St. W. project resulted in a master plan to develop an arts and culture district in the West End that was completed in August 2020 and which also planned for public art and programming throughout the community and its gateways.

In addition to the art installations and programming, the grant will help enable Coalfield to continue transforming and activating the West Edge Factory building, where the team is headquartered.

Prior to being purchased by Coalfield and saved from condemnation, the building served as home to the Corbin Ltd. garment manufacturing company between the late 1950s and early 2000s. Since then, there have been significant efforts to restore and renovate portions of the formerly-vacant building. When completed, the West Edge Factory will become a hub for creative and entrepreneurial activities.

“The West Edge Factory serving as an arts and cultural hub for its surrounding neighborhoods has been part of the vision of our comprehensive, community-wide Huntington Innovation Project since its inception in 2014,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “The arts can have a profound impact on a community that ranges from restoring pride to beautification to building economic opportunities. I’m proud to see Coalfield Development working with so many community partners to carry out this vision.”