BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — Monkeys are coming to Traders Alley in Buckhannon.
Specifically, a large mural depicting whimsical simians will be installed on the side of a building in the alley as part of the Art26201 project, which aims to bring art to public places in the community.
A mural to be installed on the side of a building in Traders Alley off of Main Street in Buckhannon is part of an effort to bring art to more public places in the community.
“This is the maiden voyage,” said Bryson VanNostrand, the main organizer of the project and member of the community organization Create Buckhannon.
The mural was created by Liza Brenner, a Buckhannon resident who teaches art at Glenville State College.
During the search for local artists to participate, VanNostrand and Brenner connected and began collaborating on the idea.
“He liked this other painting I did that’s on my site. It’s all about technology and how we’re all turning into monkeys,” Brenner said.
The mural for Traders Alley doesn’t have quite as dark a meaning, Brenner said.
“With this one, I just wanted to do something fun,” she said. “I love to ride my bike in town and I like monkeys. It’s really as simple as that.”
Much of Brenner’s artwork portrays today’s voyeuristic society, playing on the idea that there’s always someone watching. Particularly, she likes to place cameras in her work. She couldn’t help but sneak a hint of this into the piece.
While one monkey enjoys a bike ride and another holds some playing cards, a monkey in the background hangs from the window holding a camera.
“There is a little bit of my sinister style there with the guy hanging out the window with the camera,” she said.
The 10-by-25 foot mural will be installed as a large billboard print. This is being done so the piece can be removed if the property owner ever requests it, VanNostrand said. The installation will feature dusk-to-dawn lighting, he said.
“With the public arts program, we’re trying to avoid putting an artist up on scaffolding for a week or month at a time,” he said. “With the idea of placing a mural or something on a building, this way we could take it off the wall and put it somewhere else.”
VanNostrand said hopes are high the mural will be installed within the next 30 days.
“The lights are already on order; the digital image has been processed. We still have to do a little bit of design work,” he said.
The cost of the project will be about $2,700. This is one of 44 other projects organizers want to complete. The hope is to form an Upshur County Arts Alliance in order to further the goal of highlighting Upshur County’s artistic side, VanNostrand said.
“We are certainly in a mode of needing to raise money. We are looking for every possible donation of money, material and volunteer help,” he said. “The more folks we can get together to make this happen, the more successful it will be for all of us.”
A meeting of Art26201 is held at 11 a.m. every Thursday on the second floor of C.J. Maggie’s for anyone wishing to contribute to the effort.
Brenner said it’s refreshing to see an ongoing effort to keep the arts thriving in Buckhannon.
“I’m just excited this is all happening. People talk about doing this stuff, but we have people actually doing it. It’s going to take our town to an entirely new level,” she said.