Edited from a Press Release
Art Walk File Photo
Art Walk File Photo

A citizen-based committee that has worked for the past three years to solidify the importance of the arts in Huntington has adopted a public art policy and master plan and launched an online inventory of potential locations to encourage the display of public art on city-owned property.

The Mayor’s Council on the Arts was formed by Mayor Steve Williams in fall 2014 as a natural outgrowth of two highly successful arts summits held in Huntington in prior years. The vision of the Council is to foster an environment where the arts permeate and enhance every aspect of the lives of citizens and are a part of all planning, strategic decision-making and governance.

At that time  specific businesses in Downtown Huntington supported a grass roots Art Walk monthly display in front of or at participating locations. The model had a list of possible participating locations and artists (performing, painting, photographic) signed up to display their creations for a three hour period. Some locations allowed interior displays to remain up for longer periods. 

In addition to traditional art, the Art Walk attracted graphic (comic book) artists and cosplay performers. Mayor Steve Williams attended a brief first year anniversary. 

Art Walk participants and many other groups and supporters came together for the two summits to share and meld ideas. 

Now, after years of working, one of the ways of increasing visibility of the arts  can be achieved  by adopting a public art policy and master plan, said Margaret Mary Layne, chairwoman of the Mayor’s Council on the Arts.

“Public art plays a crucial role in any successful community,” Layne said. “It can serve to inspire the citizenry, create a sense of unity and purpose, encourage creativity, and celebrate the cultural heritage of the residents of this region.

Among other things, the master plan outlines a structure under which public and private entities can cooperate in the selection, location, installation, display and maintenance of public art. It also establishes an application process for a public art exhibit on city-owned property. Before submitting a formal application, artists will be required to submit a concept paper for their proposed exhibit for review and approval by the Mayor’s Council on the Arts’ Public Art Policy Subcommittee.

To help artists identify a potential location, the Mayor’s Council on the Arts has launched an online inventory of more than 25 locations in Huntington that are suitable for a public art exhibit. The inventory features an interactive map that includes a photo of the location, the dimensions and any restrictions.

It was created by Sam Ball, a senior at Marshall University who is majoring in graphic design in the School of Art and Design. Ball developed the online inventory through a two-part internship, first with the city’s Public Works Department to identify and document the locations and then with Bulldog Creative Services to embed the site images and descriptions into an interactive map.

The public art inventory; public art master plan and application documents; and more information about the Mayor’s Council on the Arts, including its membership, can be found on the City of Huntington’s by clicking here.

The Mayor’s Council on the Arts invites all artists to be a part of the vibrant fabric of our community and to submit concepts for public art installations through the Council. Please review the application process on the City of Huntington's Public Art Application