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Downtown PKB receives $10K grant for mural projects

Downtown PKB has received a grant of $10,000 from AARP for its GoodSpace mural project at the Actors Guild and Parkersburg Art Center. Four organizations in West Virginia received grants, AARP said. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

PARKERSBURG — Downtown PKB is among four organizations in West Virginia receiving a national AARP Community Challenge Grant for a downtown Parkersburg art project, officials said Wednesday.

The grants are aimed to create change and improve quality of life at the community level. Nationally, $3.2 million was distributed to 244 recipients, AARP announced Wednesday. Each quick-action project was partially or fully funded through the AARP Community Challenge grant and is set to be completed by Nov. 10.

Downtown PKB will receive $10,000 for the GoodSpace initiative for the murals at the Actors Guild of Parkersburg and the Parkersburg Art Center, both at Eighth and Market streets, Downtown PKB Executive Director Wendy Shriver said.

The organization has applied before for competitive national grants, but this is the first to be awarded, she said.

“I feel pretty honored to be selected,” Shriver said.

Art or work parties are being planned for August in preparation of the mural project, Shriver said. The design by artist Greta McClain, owner and artistic director of GoodSpace murals, will be unveiled at Artoberfest Oct. 16, Shriver said.

According to AARP, the grant funds will support Downtown PKB’s efforts in its Certified Arts District designation. The murals on the Art Center and Actors Guild will be created during “painting parties” by interested residents.

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s Livable Communities initiative. AARP has awarded more than $9.3 million in 800 grants since 2017 to nonprofit groups and governments.

Other projects receiving 2021 funding in West Virginia are:

* Sutton Community Development Corporation Inc., Sutton Community Corridor Project, to support the creation and connection of gathering spaces and corridors to link the Sutton Farmers Market, Sutton Community Garden and downtown Main Street, including installation of accessible seating, picnic tables, artistic crosswalks, lighting and shade canopies.

* Hinton Community Park and Playground, Summers County, to redevelop a vacant lot into a community green space and park in Hinton and include a playground and community garden.

* Upshur County Public Library, Tennerton Parklet Green Space Project, to create a parklet green space at the library’s Tennerton location to provide that can be used by library patrons and residents.

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