Hayes, Littlepage Honored for Contributions to 'Grass Roots' Huntington Art Walk

Updated 4 years ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Hayes, Littlepage Honored for Contributions to 'Grass Roots' Huntington Art Walk

The two founders of Huntington's Downtown Art Walk received recognition Monday, March 10, from Huntington Mayor Steve Williams for their efforts in attracting visitors to the city. Similarly patterned after Charleston and Ashland, Ky., events, working artists of many styles set up displays for gazing, interpretation, participation and purchase.

Lauren Littlepage, a 27 year old Huntington resident, coupled with Chris Hayes, a 34 year old award winning Louisa, Ky. photographer to fill in an unspoken for niche in April 2012, after many asked, 'Why don't we have an art walk?'

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams issued a proclamation acknowledging the duos efforts during a small ceremony Monday, March 10 in the Mayor's Conference Room. 

Discussing opportunities for  artistic festival proposals. Ms. Littlepage mentioned  Charleston's "Festivall," which annually highlights arts and performances. The Mayor expressed eagerness in developing , "something uniquely different based on each of  the seasons."

The Mayor envisions festivals based on the Summer Solstice, the fall, the winter and Spring by picking themes with "seasonal meanings that reaches out."

He already has a spontaneous supporter, as Littlepage voiced a sincere, "I like that" to Williams vision.

Hayes, Littlepage Honored for Contributions to 'Grass Roots' Huntington Art Walk

Referring his attendance at the Conference of Mayor's, Williams said they have awards for cities of different sizes based on how they showcase the arts. Dubuque, Iowa, received an award in 2013 for their riverfront presentation. As the Mayor concurred with enhancing Huntington's riverfront use, Ms. Littlepage beamed, "We need to utilize our riverfront more," adding that she "loved" the Point Pleasant Regatta as a child.

"You think we could do that too," she asked.

"Actually, we have some pretty big announcements to make," Williams said.

During the council meeting, Mayor Williams introduced Hayes and Littlepage to describe "the unique artwalk" which includes an "eclectic mix" of art which encourages new artists to exhibit at downtown business.

Hayes, Littlepage Honored for Contributions to 'Grass Roots' Huntington Art Walk

"We're waiting for April (2014), our  next anniversary" to re-start the program, Hayes told council. The monthly attraction took the winter off due to dark skies and coldness. He explained artist awareness needs to be raised as "businesses want artists," the number of participating artisans needs to be increased. Unlike those in other cities, Hayes stressed that Huntington has a "very inclusive" policy allowing "established artists" to "those growing established to show their work."

The event benefits , for instance, "artists who do not have other opportunities to show their work" and crowds are attracted to businesses they might not otherwise visit.

Hayes explained that artists have visited from the Greater Huntington area, including Portsmouth, Ohio, Gallipolis, Ohio, Charleston, WV, Ashland and Louisa, Ky.

Hayes, Littlepage Honored for Contributions to 'Grass Roots' Huntington Art Walk

Responding to Hayes suggesting that for the third season, artist recruitment needs to move beyond Facebook interactions, council woman Joyce Clark opined  that public and private school art teachers be contacted, predicting their students would be anxious to display their creations outside of the school doors.

The Mayor earlier told Hayes and Littlepage that the city would make available its cable channel for promotional activities and that the Mayor's office would work with tying Art Walk with other events.

For further Artwalk information, visit, http://facebook.com/huntingtonartwalk.

For prior story on Ms. Littlepage & her heroic "cosplaying", visit: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/82358

The resolution reads as follows:

During the spring of 2012, both Lauren Littlepage and Chris Hayes received input from the Huntington art community requesting that a downtown Artwalk be created; and

WHEREAS: Lauren and Chris stepped to the plate working together with artists, merchants, and the community to establish the Huntington Artwalk, which began on April 18, 2012; and

WHEREAS: The eclectic and inclusive Huntington Artwalk displays range from traditional paintings to crafts to photography and comic book style graphics; and

WHEREAS: The Huntington Artwalk offers a promotional platform for beginners and well-established artists alike, providing an opportunity to strengthen the professions of artists and our local economy by encouraging stores to remain open later, increasing foot traffic and introducing those who otherwise might not be exposed to local artists and their work; and

WHEREAS: The monthly Huntington Artwalk celebrated its first anniversary in April 2013 and will restart in April 2014; and

WHEREAS: Organizers, Lauren and Chris encourage frequent business supporters of the Huntington Artwalk , such as the Pullman Plaza Hotel, Uniquely Huntington, Pizza Uno, and Empire Books; and 

WHEREAS: Following the second Arts Summit, Lauren and Chris were elected officers of the newly formed downtown Huntington Visual Arts Committee.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, STEVE WILLIAMS, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF HUNTINGTON, CABELL AND WAYNE COUNTIES, issue this proclamation to Lauren Littlepage and Chris Hayes for their grassroots and visionary efforts to support the arts and business community of Downtown Huntington and encourage all people, businesses, organizations and institutions to join in honoring these distinguished individuals. 



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