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June Arts Walk commemorates a combination of events

There is much to celebrate and recognize in the month of June, including — but certainly not limited to — LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Juneteenth, Father’s Day, West Virginia’s 158th birthday and the 100th birthday of the Monongahela Building at 235 High St. in downtown Morgantown.

The June Arts Walk, set for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 12, will act as an combination commemoration of all of those important dates as well as encourage the city of Morgantown to show off its talented local artists, musicians and unique businesses.  

Local artist and Galactic Panther CEO Eli Pollard has participated in previous Arts Walks on multiple occasions, both before and after its hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, Pollard set up at the events as an individual artist to showcase his own work.

At more recent Arts Walks, he set up in representation of his gallery and the many artists that display their work there.

Pollard said that previously, Arts Walks allowed for more indoor setups. Now, artists and businesses mostly set up outdoors.

These are the biggest differences that Pollard has noticed in a comparison of the event before and after COVID-19 halted it.

Pollard encourages members of the Morgantown community, whether they be new or old, to take a trip downtown while Arts Walk is in full swing.

“It’s an incredible event,” he said. “It’s one of the greater things that happens in town.”

The June Arts Walk has attracted a number of interested businesses, artists, musicians and food vendors. The Benedum Gallery will be open and showing its Senior Showcase, featuring regional artists aged 50 and older. High Street Crescent Frame Shoppe will also open its doors to interested Arts Walk attendees.

Life of Nic Creations, Parsons Art, Walker’s Warriors, Appalachian Wax Works, McGuire’s Studio, Sky High Studio Art and unique upcycled tables, Susan Hartman, Gargamel and Co., WVU Cupcakes, Multi-Purpose Design, Nancy Inspired, Overlook Design Studio, Knockout Workshop, Mothra Art, Heidi M. Muller Creations, Little Wizard Designs, and Tess’s Tye Dye are some other creators that will be in attendance.

Leslie Norris will participate in the June Arts Walk to represent her printing business, Sugar Pop Press. She has participated in Arts Walks on and off for the past seven or eight years, including has all of the Arts Walks since its return after COVID-19 hiatus.

Norris said that it seems like people are still a bit hesitant to go out and engage in public, but she believes the numbers of attendees have increased with each recent Arts Walk.

“I’m pretty optimistic that this next one will be the best of the year so far, as more of the world is opening up and people are becoming more comfortable with engaging in public spaces again,” she said.

At the June Arts Walk, Norris will offer screen-printed fine art. Most of her work is centered on West Virginia themes. She will also have items like buttons and magnets.

“I’m really excited about it and getting to talk with people about art again, especially after the last year that everyone’s been through. I think people are really looking for something positive to engage with,” she said.

Other creators and businesses who signed up to participate in the June Arts Walk include Dancing Elephant Productions, Morgantown Pride, Rora Apothic, Art.Monsters.Printmaking, Eye of the Storm Candles, Bubbles Bones and Biscuits, Nativibes, Plant Sugar Studio, Mothman Learns the ABC’s, Gallery 304 Vintage Shop, Keri’s Lens, JennySaisQuoi, Francesca Merandi, Cloud 9, Glory to Glory Creations, M.T. Pockets Theatre, Resting Rabbit, Cozee Bee Creations, Ramblin Van Vintage, Mountain People’s Co-op, Cowflower Arts and Rooted by Autumn Plants, Loop Creative, Foxy Fonts, Lunar Effect Jewelry, Wanderwisp Creations, Izzabean, Tiger Lily Crafts, Three Little Roses, Gutsy Gal Creations, Rob Riffe, The Grind, and The Cupcakerie.

Jillian Kelly, her nonprofit Morgantown Art Party and the nonprofit’s accompanying Art Bar will host events as part of the walk.

Kelly has been involved in Arts Walks for the past eight or nine years. She said that pre-COVID and post-COVID Arts Walks differ in that the ones that have occurred since the event’s return have been “packed” with attendees and participants alike.

“It seems like it’s been even busier than it was before,” she said.

During the June Arts Walk, Kelly and her organization will host a Pride Drag Show during the day and an additional show that evening. Food will be served and there will be opportunities for attendees to take Pride-themed photos.

“We’re pretty excited about this one,” she said.

Musicians that will perform during the June Arts Walk are as follows:

  • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Weary Space Wanderer
  • 1:15 – 2 p.m.: Hightail Home
  • 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.: Revive Collective Music featuring Spike Yee and Lamar Riddick
  • 3:30 – 4 p.m.: Grace Campbell

Food vendors that will be in attendance include:

  • 3-0-Pho to Go
  • Stray Cat Chimmi Shack
  • T&L Hot Dogs
  • Rolling Hills Rolled Ice Cream

Also on display during the June Arts Walk will be electrical box wraps done by several local artists such as Maggie McDonald, Connie Mae Moyer, Taylor Pate, Caroline Murphy, Patricia Loy-Colebank, and Eli Pollard.

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