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Project to benefit children’s hospital

February 3, 2019
The Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation is seeking artists to design 40 tugboats to be placed around downtown this summer. The tugboats will be on display until Oct. 31 when they will be auctioned off to benefit the Hoops Family Children's Hospital.

HUNTINGTON — The Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation has called “all aboard” for artists in the region to participate in a collaborative project benefiting the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital.

Amateur and professional artists will place designs on 40 tugboat sculptures to be displayed around downtown this summer. The boats will later be auctioned off to benefit the children’s hospital.

It’s the “All Aboard! Artisans Express 2019,” a continuation of a project that saw many decorated train sculptures placed around town a few years ago. Those trains brought approximately 50,000 to 60,000 people into the city to view them, said Velma Workman, community development coordinator at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

“We had people from all over,” Workman said. “I had some people from Pittsburgh stop

and call me one time. They said, ‘Hey, we want to see all these trains.”’

The Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau keeps a map of where all the art pieces are located around town to help people find them, she said.

Workman said they are hoping to repeat that success with this year’s project. The foundation wanted to keep with the children’s hospital’s decorative theme of “river and rails” and decided to include tugboats instead of trains this year.

“We got this idea from other cities like Lexington, which did it with horses,” Workman said of the Kentucky city known as the “horse capital of the world.”

The deadline to submit sketches for the tugboats is Feb. 15. The sketches must be presented as 20-inch-by-16-inch renderings of what the completed tugboats will look like and signed by the artists. A selection committee will then narrow down the sketches to 40 winning designs on Feb. 21.

Artists may, per the selected design submission, paint, sculpt, electrify, light or add appendages to their tugboats. The artwork must be appropriate for all audiences and not be disrespectful to political or religious groups. They may also not contain advertisements.

Artists are given a $500 stipend to make their sketches a reality. At that point, the foundation works with private and corporate sponsors that are matched with the selected designs. On June 2, the boats will be unveiled to the public and then placed around downtown, between 5th Avenue and 3rd Avenue and 8th Street and 10th Street.

The tugboats will be shown off until Oct. 31, when a gala will be held to auction off the boats. All proceeds will benefit the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital.

Workman said the “All Aboard! Artisans Express” is one of the largest fundraising events for the hospital. They always get a variety of interested artists, including professionals and children.

“I had one that I had placed inside the children’s hospital playroom and had children add a little piece of art to it,” she said. “That was fun.”

The tugboats will carry a geotag that tells people more about the artist and where the artist comes from. Each tugboat will also carry a hidden children’s hospital logo so people can play a scavenger hunt game.

People may pick up a map at the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau and then begin searching for the hidden logos on all the tugboats. If they find all the logos, they may trade in their maps for commemorative coins, she said.

“I would encourage every artist to enter this,” Workman said. “This is an art gallery, and it gets their name out there. They also have the self-satisfaction of helping kids who are in the hospital.”

To find out more information about the project and how to submit designs, visit https://chhfoundation.org/calling-all-art-ists-join-artisans-express-2019/.

Travis Crum Is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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