Wheeling Ready To Let Its Creative Juices Flow

What began eight years ago as a one-day event on the campus of West Virginia Northern Community College has grown into a two-day annual festival that offers a variety of comprehensive arts and culture programming.

Starting at 2 p.m. Friday at Wheeling’s Hertiage Port, the 2018 Wheeling Arts & Culture Festival will offer live music, visual arts, theatre, dance, literature, culinary demonstrations and make-and-take art activities. In addition, several food vendors will be set up along a section of Water Street.

“For five years, it was a one-day fest at Northern,” said Chris Villamagna, executive committee member for the Wheeling Arts Commission. “This is our third year at Heritage Port, where it is a two-day festival.”

She said the festival is a great way to come out and support local artists.

The Artists Market will provide a unique art event where event-goers can view and purchase the works of nearly two dozen local artists or participate in make-and-take art activities. In addition, photographs, home-made jewelry, monoprinting, pottery and sculptures are just a few of the types of artwork that will be available for purchase.

The purpose of the free arts initiative is to promote art and exploration of the arts within the community, said Villamagna. Whether it’s printing images onto a surface using the silk screen process or creating an original pop art wearable button that is distinctly unique, there will be something for every member of the family, according to the group’s website.

The festival committee has adjusted the times of this year’s festival to be more conducive for the weekend schedules and to attract crowds looking for entertainment later in the day, according to Villamagna. She said the live entertainment will be set up closer to the Artists Market this year along Water Street as a way to keep festival activities more “connected.”

In addition, the “Around the World Carnival” will feature seven carnival games that derive from different parts of the world and have a cultural twist. Activities from bean bag to boomerang tosses will be offered for people of all ages.

The event runs from 2-10 p.m. Friday and 11a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. For details, visit the festival website at wheelingartsfest.com.