Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 24, 2013

Artists valuable to downtown Bluefield

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — As probably most everyone in Bluefield knows, we might be losing Gary Bowling’s “House of Art” for reasons unknown to me. With so many empty buildings in downtown Bluefield, why hasn’t someone looked into maybe the possibility of these buildings: The old JCPenney/fitness center on Federal Street, the old Blank’s building, Wells Fargo building or maybe an upper floor of The Ramsey School building. And what would it take to get the old Hawley’s building exits, etc., up to code, which caused him to move before.

I’m so concerned that Princeton is going to outshine Bluefield as the arts and crafts center in southern West Virginia. I ask that our new city board look into some of the options there might be in the downtown  so we can keep Gary and his local artists. Their work is so valuable to the rebuilding of the downtown area, because it brings in traffic and would help other businesses, like our new restaurant Portabella, locate there.

Our new preservation/restoration group is doing a great job on Commerce Street, which will greatly enhance the growth of our downtown, and hopefully their work will spill out on Federal, Bland and other streets.

Just some thoughts from a concerned lifelong citizen of Bluefield.

Jim Russell