PARKERSBURG — Downtown PKB’s Arts and Culture Committee and the Parkersburg Art Center put up three selfie stations in three different locations in downtown Parkersburg on Thursday.
The program was started in 2019 to implement more public art into downtown, the goal is to create a marketing piece that will serve as a walking tour guide of all the selfie stations.
Community members and visitors can check out the art and even post a photo with the station on social media, according to Wendy Shriver, executive director of Downtown PKB.
“Our committee wanted to try to do some aesthetic improvements to downtown. So using local art, employing local artists to do that is just one way. It kind of showcases the assets of Parkersburg and what makes us unique,” Shriver said. “We see a lot of the pictures of them on social media saying, ‘Guess where I’m at?’ That was the whole idea to bring people downtown and let them experience different neighborhoods.”
Each station has art on the building that goes with the business. The art includes two muscular arms flexing with the slogan “Stay Strong” on the side of Excessive Iron, the Wood County Society with a garden of flowers and bees with the hashtag #BeeTheChange and a pizza wing mural at Maka Mia Pizza that was done by Allen Armel and sponsored by WesBanco Bank.
Electric Anchor tattoo artist Bayley Collins, who has also done mural work in Belpre, was asked by Jessie Siefert, managing director at the art center, about providing art for the stations.
Collins said it’s good seeing local businesses using local artists for the stations.
“It’s cool to get art out in the community in any shape or form. To be able to see local artists’ art in the community, and get the community involved with the art is even more awesome,” she said.
Collins also said while the committee gave the artists some guidelines about the drawing, they were allowed to have free rein.
The stations will be joining three murals that were placed last year at Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Point Park Marketplace, and the third on Sixth Street at the 531 Market St. building.
No further stations will be placed for 2020, but Shriver noted that she was already in talks with local businesses about getting stations for next year.
Along with bringing local art to business, Siefert also sees the stations as a way to get more people outside.
“We’re supporting the artists as well as the businesses to make downtown a more livable and entertaining place to be. I’m always a proponent of people getting outside, so this is a way to get people outside too.” Siefert said.
Tyler Bennett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org