Voices and footsteps echo across the walls of Alias 14W, but creativity and artistic freedom also flow throughout the experimental art space located in Huntington’s West End.
Chad Andrew Floyd, founder of Alias 14W, said it began as a passion project, and it is part of the West Huntington revitalization initiative. Floyd, who works for the AmeriCorps VISTA service, said he noticed a lack of an artistic space in Huntington, especially Central City, and he wanted to help by creating Alias 14W.
“We have this beautiful area of potential and so many things going on for us, so much culture, so much history to pull from and to celebrate and revel in that is good,” Floyd said. “This place is an amazing place to be, and I just really want to be that catalyst for other young folks. I’m finding fulfillment in just being able to help and serve and do something good for the community after it’s just sat here being ignored for so long.”
Alias 14W is open to anyone wanting to create, which Floyd said includes writing, painting and any other form of artistic expression.
“All of our events are open to all ages,” Floyd said. “I am part of the Open to All campaign; we’re definitely dedicated to that and creating and providing a safe space for everybody. But the target audience is of course artists and artists of all types.”
Floyd said he has high hopes for the future of Alias 14W. He has already taught a painting course, and the building’s lower space has been used for multiple art galleries. The space is also undergoing construction to allow for the creation of artist workshops.
“We want to have performances,” Floyd said. “We want to have different types of things. We’ve had a comedy night. I would love to have poetry readings. I’d love to have writing workshops. And I am working on all these things, making these connections.”
Though Alias 14W is a free and nonprofit artistic space, Floyd said he relies on community support and volunteers to keep it open and available.
“I do need the help of artists, I do need the help of my community members, the people who want to support the arts because I don’t have money,” Floyd said. “This is a nonprofit organization that I made out of thin air with very little permission. I saw a need, and I said to everyone that this is a need. And very few people believe me, but when they saw what I’ve done, and what we have done as an organization, they see now the value in what we can do and what we can be.
“Ultimately I feel confident that Alias is here to be a development tool,” Floyd continued. “But I really need the help of people. I need support. I have a staff of nobody, I have to rely on volunteers.”
Floyd said anyone interested in utilizing Alias 14W’s space for art may contact him, and he is willing to help provide supplies if they may not have any.
“If you need supplies, and you need help in getting things, you can ask me,” Floyd said. “I have all of these people involved in this organization that want to see it succeed and want to see artists succeed. The idea is that I can help find resources for people, even for people who don’t have stuff. But if you’re an artist who is ready to go and just needs a space, then all you have to do is call me. It’s really just a matter of asking, coming and just showing up and saying, ‘Hey, I want to make art. Can I come make art?’ Yes, you absolutely can. Because that’s what it’s for. We’re here to be a place to create, develop, make. And, to me, that’s what it’s about.”
Amanda Larch can be contacted at [email protected]