BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The Cultural Foundation of Harrison County held a community conversation focused on arts and culture at the Benedum Civic Center in Bridgeport Tuesday evening.

Much of the conversation centered around speaking with members of the community and exploring community resources and partnerships while also discussing ideas on how to keep arts and culture alive and growing in the area. Members of the Cultural Foundation of Harrison County said the arts and culture can be significant in community development and economic development growth within the communities in the county.

“One of the things we are doing right now is going around to five different communities in Harrison County and having these public meetings to listen to what the people of Harrison County want to see in terms of art and culture, what they would like to see the cultural foundation doing to advance those two causes, and what they need in their community to make their community a more welcoming place for the arts and culture,” said Kent Spellman, a board member of the Cultural Foundation of Harrison County.

There will be five community meetings and two have already been held with future meetings to be held in Lost Creek, Salem and Clarksburg. The foundation will be posting meeting times and locations on its social media pages.

“The arts and culture has been transformative in a number of communities around West Virginia. We’ve seen it happen, we’ve seen downtowns that were almost completely abandoned and hallowed out turned into vibrant spaces,” Spellman said. “By focusing on the arts and culture this could be public art, could performing art, it could be music, it could be so many different things. But we’ve seen communities transformed through the use of that. That is what we are hoping to do here. To bring more businesses into our downtowns by making our downtowns more welcoming places for people to be.”

The information will be compiled and the cultural foundation will put it into a report for its 50th anniversary. That information will let people know what the foundation plans to be doing to move forward in the arts and culture.