Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission Approves Mural for Sarah's on Main
The Commission also discussed Arts Fest, Third Friday concerts, and other public art initiatives.
Wheeling’s Arts and Cultural Commission met on June 13 for their monthly meeting. The sixteen-member commission’s goal is “to support and promote Wheeling's arts and cultural communities.” Of the sixteen member commission, nine commissioners were in attendance.
Commissioners were updated on the ‘Third Friday’ event series, slated to begin on June 16 and run throughout the summer. Due to the City of Wheeling not renewing its license to sell beer, the event may not have alcohol as previously planned.
The performer for June 16 is Matt Hill and Friends of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The event will take place on the Market Street Plaza at 10th and Market Streets from 7 to 10 PM.
Arts Fest, slated for August 5 to be held on the campus of West Virginia Northern Community Campus was also discussed. Forty-eight vendors have applied to table the festival.
Arts Fest is having an issue with alcohol vending due to the university’s preference to not sell drinks on campus. Commissioners have scheduled a meeting with administration to discuss potential solutions as beer sales would be a financial benefit for the event.
Co-chair of the Arts and Cultural Commission Councilor Rosemary Ketchum spoke to me about Arts Fest.
“It almost feels like an inaugural fest because not only has it been a couple years since we’ve had it, but it’s almost an entirely new team that’s planning it,” she said. “This is going to look like a different festival.”
Ketchum continued, saying, “when I first came to Wheeling, the first Arts Festival I ever attended was at WVNCC and I remember seeing the streets shut down and what seemed like thousands of people milling about and thinking, ‘this is Wheeling.’ We’re excited to see it come back.”
Several public murals were discussed by the Commission this evening.
The crosswalk painting project for the west side of Centre Market, which was postponed in May due to weather, has been scheduled for Sunday, June 25, with the street remaining closed Monday and Tuesday to allow the project to cure.
A proposal to paint a mural on the side of Sarah’s on Main was introduced to the Commission. Co-chair Ketchum said, “it’s a spectacular proposal,” speaking of the quality and concise nature of the document received. The $5,000 project was approved unanimously.
Sarah Lydick, owner of Sarah’s on Main, was present for the meeting and spoke to me afterwards.
“My friend Rachel was inspired by this French artist called Mucha and his flowy, floraly, foliage style,” she said.
When asked why she thought it was important to have the public art piece installed, Lydick said, “I just think it’s so exciting for something beautiful to look at instead of a blank wall. It showcases a local artist and her talents. I just think it shows a community that cares about living a good life–a beautiful life.”
The expected completion date is August 31, weather depending.
A second mural application was submitted by the Bridge Tavern in tandem with their ongoing restoration work. The building’s owner would like to see a piece incorporate musical aspects, but is otherwise flexible. They are hoping for a mural by August. No vote was taken tonight.
The Wheeling Reads series, which the Arts and Cultural Commission is a sponsor, began last month featuring the book ‘Heat and Light,’ by Jennifer Haigh, which discusses the impact of fracking on communities surrounding the sites. The Ohio County Public Library initiative seeks to engage the community with several events throughout the summer, culminating in the September 9 ‘Wheeling Reads Festival,’ where author Haigh will be present.
A request was heard for funding for a concert by Lisa Bella Donna, a world-renowned electronic musician and composer, who is also an Appalachian trans woman. Bella Donna has been described as “the closest thing to a witch in the forest,” who “talks to the heavens with her music.”
The concert will take place on October 12 at the Ohio County Public Library, and the project has seen $750 in advertising funding from Wheeling Heritage and $1000 from the OCPL. The $500 grant application was approved unanimously.
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