BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — ART26201 is pleased to announce the award of a $4,100 grant from the Central Appalachian Network (CAN) for Creative Placemaking.
The invitation-only grant will help make ART26201’s latest Art In Public Places program endeavor, a Gray Barker/ Men In Black inspired steel “GETAWAY” gateway to be installed above the southern end of the Traders Alley Arts District, a reality.
“With its 2020 regranting program, CAN invited applicants that are emerging, grassroots, or exploratory Creative Placemaking efforts in West Virginia,” CAN’s manager, Project Associate Jess Rothenhoefer of Rural Support Partners, said. “CAN is excited to fund a total of nine creative placemaking projects in West Virginia, all of which are supporting residents using arts and culture to tell the story of what’s unique about a place, drive economic development, improve quality of life, and inspire hope for their community or region.
“This year’s cohort engages artists and creative strategies to revitalize communities; employs community organizing approaches to economic development; honors culture, identity, and place through community and economic activities; and creates business, workforce, and employment opportunities related to arts and culture.”
At the northern end of the Traders Alley Arts District, where it connects with Main Street, is a steel gateway with the words “TRADERS ALLEY” cut in stencil format from the steel entry that one must pass under to enter the alley.
On the southern end of the Arts District, where the alley meets Jawbone Park, ART26201 is partnering with the City of Buckhannon to construct a new steel gateway, called the “GETAWAY.” It will support a restored 1960 Chrysler Windsor automobile that will point in an upward direction, and slightly skewed, as if to simulate the launching of a space ship. The exterior of the black 1960 Chrysler will be restored and all the original chrome trim and running lights will be repaired or reconstructed.
This artwork celebrates the Men In Black books, magazines, and movies, that originated in the early 1950s with local West Virginia author, Gray Barker. Mr. Barker operated the Cinema V movie house in the 1970s, that anchors the Northern end of the Traders Alley Arts District.
True to Barker’s UFO passion, the Cinema V brought many science fiction blockbuster movies to Buckhannon like Star Wars (1977) and Planet Earth (1974).
The 1960 Chrysler Windsor was chosen for this installation because of its “space ship” styling and vintage aesthetic. Two mannequins will be permanently placed in the front seat, dressed in black suits and black sunglasses, to pay homage to “Agent J” and “Agent K” of the Men In Black movie franchise.
“Not only will this artwork create a fun spectacle at the Southern gateway to the Traders Alley Arts District, it is also expected to encourage regular cruise-ins of vintage restored automobiles in Jawbone Park and other unexplainable phenomena,” said ART26201 president and City architect Bryson VanNostrand.
The CAN Creative Placemaking funds will go towards automotive paint, mannequins, structural steel, and concrete. ART26201 anticipates having this public art installation completed by September 2020.
About CAN — Established in 1992, the Central Appalachian Network (CAN) is a network of over 50 nonprofit organizations, that focuses on improvement strategies in the areas of Food and Agriculture Systems, Clean Energy, and Creative Placemaking in the Central Appalachian states of Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Members include Natural Capital Investment Fund, Coalfield Development, the WV Community Development Hub, Tamarack Foundation for the Arts, Step by Step, the National Coal Heritage Area Authority, among many others.
About ART26201 — ART26201 is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate and promote the creative and inspirational opportunities in the Buckhannon, West Virginia, community through public and community art.
If you would like to receive more information or volunteer for any ART26201 projects, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.