Places like the art galleries, performance venues, museums and shops create unique destinations and individual offerings unavailable anywhere else, and Mainland said the more diverse businesses and artistic options available can only help craft an identity that means more than city boundaries. The movement requires investment from the people, as she was quick to point out.
“The places like Gary Bowlings House of Art and RiffRaff need the arts and artists. In order to survive, they have to offer something Walmart doesn’t offer. That includes art from the community and the community itself,” Mainland said. “They can offer that sense of community, and I think it’s important to support those businesses as much as possible.”
While all the participants present seemed eager to get to work after the CWV conference, Princeton Public Library’s Connie Shumate was among the most enthusiastic.
“I think the mindset of Princeton has changed. I think people are thinking forward rather than back,” she said. “This is exciting. It is what Princeton, what Mercer County, what West Virginia needs. Let’s do it.”
For more information on Create West Virginia, visit www.createwv.com.
For more information on RiffRaff, visit www.theriffraff.net, call 425-6425 or stop by 869 Mercer St. in Princeton.
To learn more about Gary Bowling’s House of Art, call 327-9300 or visit 701 Bland St. in Bluefield.
— Contact Tammie Toler at firstname.lastname@example.org.