Art and Design students decorate downtown


Ashley Sodosky

Junior graphic design student Brianna Jarvis presents her winning banners for the Winter 2016 category of the Huntington in Bloom banner contest to Mayor Steve Williams Tuesday at the Visual Arts Center.

Nine students from the School of Art and Design were recognized for creating the city’s downtown banners during a ceremony at the Visual Arts Center Tuesday afternoon.

The banners were first displayed on Third and Fourth Avenues in summer 2015 as a collaborative effort between Huntington in Bloom, the School of Art and Design and Paris Signs with funding provided by Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Inc. according to a press release from the city.

The winning banners were selected by graphics design professor Mary Grassell, director of the School of Art and Design Sandra Reed and Huntington in Bloom representatives Liza Caldwell and Lisa Riley.

Winners are as follows:

Summer 2015, Alex Coster

Fall 2015, Hannah Saxton and Kaitlin Blatt

Winter 2016, Brianna Jarvis

Merit awards, Rebecca Keith and Kaitlyn Hartford

Mayor Steve Williams said the banners have transformed downtown Huntington into a “walking art gallery.”

“What we continue to hear from people who are visiting Huntington who haven’t been in Huntington for years is that they are actually amazed how vibrant the downtown is,” Williams said.

Williams presented each of the students with Exceptional Citizen awards.

“Exceptional means that you are an exception,” Williams said. “There are not many who are like you and for that we are so very proud.”

Senior graphics design major Kaitlyn Hartford said she was inspired by fall visits to West Virginia for her banners.

“I’m actually not from West Virginia but I would come visit family in Hurricane in the fall,” Hartford said. “Every time we’d go visit the Pumpkin Festival, so something that stuck out to me for West Virginia was the fall vegetables and fall culture.”

Hartford said she thinks the banner competition allowed the students to connect more with the city they live in.

“As Mary Grassell mentioned earlier, there’s a workshop class that allows you to work with the City of Huntington itself,” Hartford said. “And those kinds of experiences are great for connections, for meeting new people and for building up a works showcase.”

Clara Maynard can be contacted at [email protected].