Fairfield District Mural Honors Huntington Community’s Black Heritage
A large crowd gathered at the Unlimited Future Incubator in the Fairfield district of Huntington for the unveiling of the second mural in the Past to Our Future: 3 Building Mural Project.
The incubator regularly engages in community revitalization projects in Fairfield, such as the mural project. It aims to paint murals on prominent buildings in the Fairfield community that reflect the community’s Black American heritage.
“The beauty of this is to recognize those who have done so much within our community,” Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said. “We're able to walk and drive by here and be able to see the history of Fairfield, the history of Huntington, the history of the Ohio River Valley, and indeed, and let's make sure that everybody knows it, the history of West Virginia is celebrated in each of these individuals.”
Betsy Casañas is the mural artist of the mural. She is from Philadelphia and is the director of a Seed on Diamond Gallery and founder of Semilla Arts Initiative.
Mitzi Sinnott, organizer of the mural project, said that Casañas was chosen because of her specific ability to paint on non-flat surfaces, and for her ability to reflect the community she’s painting for.
“She chose the river birch tree, which is indigenous to the Ohio River Valley. She was talking about putting the people we choose to honor inside of birch leaves,” Sinnott said. “If you look at the mural, the woman, she is the divine feminine, who is the bridge between the heavens and earth, and we are rooted by her on Earth. So her roots are there and she actually is becoming a tree.”
Bishop Samuel Moore is one of the people included in the mural.
“To have your picture on this, I mean, it's just overwhelming,” Moore said. “It's very humbling to me, because it will be here for a long time. I came here from Huntington for Bluefield in 1985, and so this community, we've embraced it, and it's embraced us.”.
The mural project began with Ernel Martinez’s mural on the side of Ebenezer Daycare and will continue with the J.W. Scott Center. For more information, you can visit the project’s website at www.unlimitedfuture.org/3buildingmural/.