Central City space aims to give artists room to show art to community

January 8, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Chad Andrew Floyd said it’s his goal to offer a space in Central City for artists to create new works and then show them off to the public.

It’s part of Alias14W, an experimental community art space at 720 14th St. West. Floyd, who serves as the space’s manager, is hoping it will inject youth into the historic West Huntington neighborhood, eventually becoming a cultural destination.

The space opened as a nonprofit organization in September with several art shows from students at Marshall University’s School of Art and Design. Floyd said he’s now making a push to turn the organization into a limited liability company, which is a business-minded approach to support artists and attract new talent.

“The building owner is actually a security alarm company, and they are very behind us and very supportive of us,” he said. “They are renovating the building itself into a maker’s space, which will be the primary function of Alias in about a year or so.”

The building will then host workshops, an art vault and a gallery where artists may hold residency.

On Sunday, the space hosted a concert by New York-based rock band Stand and Wave, which was supported by local musicians Routine Days and Shenanagram. Floyd said he would like to host more touring bands and also start a comedy show in the future.

“What’s becoming the driving force behind this space is this idea that artists can come in and work with us, work somewhere here in the community that wants to support them and then we bring people here to see that,” he said.

Floyd, a graphic artist, painter and sculptor who graduated from Marshall in 2017, said he wants to see West Huntington become registered as an official art and cultural district. Many neighborhoods in cities around the county are designated that way, but it would be a first for West Virginia, he said.

Doing so would better promote Appalachian artists and our cultural identity, he said.

“That’s a major problem for Appalachia, marketing and promotion of ourselves,” he said. “People around the world and around the county have a very specific view when they hear things like ‘redneck’ and ‘hillbilly,’ but that’s not what all of Appalachia and West Virginia is about.”

Since opening in September, Floyd said his neighbors have been receptive to his mission.

“We had a little bit of the older folks not really understanding at first, but then they see all the people coming here and coming down to their shops,” he said. “The man across the hall made $200 off the kids that came to one of our shows by selling records and leather jackets.”

Alias14W is still in the process of forming an advisory board and is seeking artists who want to show off their works. To get connected, search for Alias14W on Facebook or email Alias14W@gmail.com.

People may also stop by the space to gather feedback on their art pieces or find a quiet place to get some work done.

“If they want to spread their art all over this floor, yes absolutely,” Floyd said. “I’ll drag a table out and get a chair for them, and they can go crazy.”

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

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