BEX arts exhibition June 22-30 celebrates “weird” Beckley vibe

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Sans a question mark, a poster for the BEX exhibitions at Beckley underscores the community’s undefined vibe.

Artists in downtown Beckley, West Virginia, have engaged more than 40 partners in BEX, a remarkable collaborative exhibition set for June 22-30 that includes workshops, installations, a film festival, a maker’s fair, and an oddities-and-curiosities bazaar.

More than 35 events­—including a “human library,” three , and a demonstration—have been arranged to underscore diversity and inclusivity at an Appalachian crossroads near the junction of expressways I-64 and I-77.

Three camera obscuras will be installed in Downtown Beckley at the BEX exhibition.

The weeklong event is intended to establish an accessible annual venue for the arts in Beckley’s , says Christine Kinder, a member of the festival’s development team.

However, unlike many communities in which such events have been long-established, organizers are working with a clean slate in Beckley, culturally speaking, Kinder says.

“Beckley has a vibe that no one can really figure out or put their finger on, so we are celebrating that,” says Christine Kinder. “BEX is a celebration of our weirdness.”

Even the name “BEX” was approached without preconception. The team quickly came up with the name, which on reflection was both an abbreviation of Beckley, though it included an “X” that reflected its position as a crossroads. They afterward adopted “.”

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In addition to the following schedule, an art scavenger hunt will take place throughout the downtown district through which participants may explore local businesses and discover works of art are hidden among their wares. Those who find 10 of 15 pieces will be entered to win a drawing.


Evening sunlight glows on the windows of a new building in downtown Beckley, West Virginia.

Saturday, June 22

11 a.m.-? Supporting the W.Va. Food and Craft Beverage Festival
Raleigh County Convention Center / Paid event, all ages welcome

2-4 p.m. Pottery Workstation and activities supporting Storyland Exhibit
Youth Museum of Southern W.Va. / Paid event, all ages welcome

5-7:15 p.m. BEX Film Fest, Block 1
Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre / Paid event, all ages welcome

7:30-9:45 p.m. BEX Film Fest, Block 2
Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre / Paid event, recommended age 13 and older

10 p.m.-1 a.m. BEX After Hours: Bands “Hello June” and “Parachute Brigade”
Melody’s / Paid event, admission 21 and older


Sunday, June 23

4-6 p.m. Human Library Event: “The Power of Storytelling and the Spoken Word”
Word Park / Free event, all ages welcome

6-8:45 p.m. BEX Film Fest, Block 3
Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre / Paid event, ages 13 and older


Monday, June 24

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Academy of Creative Arts Theater Camp
Academy of Creative Arts at the School of Harmony / Paid event

5-7 p.m. “Paint the Town Green,” demonstrating how to create a moss stencil.
Location TBD / Paid event, all ages are welcome

8-9 p.m. BEX Film Fest Music Video Showcase
Raleigh Playhouse / Paid event, all ages are welcome

9-10:30 p.m. Live Music: The Dangerous Summer
Raleigh Playhouse / Paid event, all ages are welcome

10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. BEX After Hours: Chichito Group Exhibition
Foster’s / Free event, admission 21 and older


Tuesday, June 25

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Academy of Creative Arts Theater Camp
Academy of Creative Arts at the School of Harmony / Paid event

4-6 p.m. Bead-Making Workshop
Brown Dog Bottom / Cost unknown, all ages welcome

7-9 p.m. Music: Street-Jam Session
Neville Street beside WVU-Tech Building / Free event, all ages welcome

9-10:30 p.m. Treehouse Arts Ensemble Projected-Art Exhibition
Projected onto the side of WVU-Tech Building, Neville Street / Free event, all ages welcome

10:45 p.m.-1 a.m. BEX After Hours: Music Appreciation with Archie (open-mic event)
Foster’s / Paid event, admission 21 and older


Wednesday, June 26

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Academy of Creative Arts Theater Camp
Academy of Creative Arts at the School of Harmony / Paid event

4-6 p.m. ‘Zine-Making Workshop: History of ‘zine culture, ‘zines in Appalachia, current ‘zine revival, and how to make a ‘zine of your own.
Sir Walter’s Tavern / Free event, recommended age 13 and older

7-10 p.m. Travelin’ Appalachians Revue: Live music, readings, performances from locals and touring artists.
The Underground / Free event, all ages welcome

7-10 p.m. Gary Vaughan Solo Exhibition
Brown Dog Bottom / Free event, all ages welcome

7-10 p.m. Group Exhibition: “A Rural Collective,” a retrospective of ‘zines from rural creators around the world
Sir Walter’s Tavern / Free event, all ages welcome until 9 p.m, then 21 and older


Thursday, June 27

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Academy of Creative Arts Theater Camp
Academy of Creative Arts at the School of Harmony / Paid event

3-4:30 p.m. Wet-Plate Photography Demonstration
Soldier’s Memorial Building / Free event, all ages welcome

5-8 p.m. Pop-Up Exhibition: Camera Obscura Rooms. Three camera obscura installations in Downtown Beckley at the Bair Building, Soldier’s Memorial, and 331 Neville St. above Top-Knot Cafe.
Free event (donations accepted for Beckley Camera Club). All ages welcome.

6-7 p.m. Architecture Walking Tour. Scott Worley will lead a group through town discussing history, architecture, and make stops at the three camera obscura rooms along the way.
Free event / All ages welcome

9 p.m.-1 a.m. BEX After Hours at The Underground
Entry fees vary depending on location


Friday, June 28

11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Academy of Creative Arts Theater Camp
Academy of Creative Arts at the School of Harmony / Paid event

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays-in-the-Park: Mia Bailey
Word Park / Free event, all ages welcome

4-6 p.m. Creator-Content Workshop. Focused on effective social-media use and presence, this workshop is relevant for artists, artisans, craftspeople, and business owners and managers.
Ambrosia Inn / Free event, ages 13 and older welcome

5-6:30 p.m. Academy of Creative Arts Theater Camp Recital. Students will demonstrate the skills they cultivated during the week’s camp.
Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre / Free event, all ages welcome

6-10 p.m. Oddities and Curiosities Fair. Vendors, performances, pop-ups, and more. Beckley Intermodal Gateway / Free event, all ages welcome

8-10 p.m. W.Va. Music Hall of Fame Showcase. Local and regional musicians performing music written and recorded by official West Virginia Music Hall of Fame inductees. Beckley Intermodal Gateway Project / Free, all ages welcome


Saturday, June 29

1:30-3 p.m. Galaxy Painting Project: Guided painting event.
Raleigh County Public Library / Paid event, all ages welcome

2-4 p.m. Hemp Workshop: Jewelry, accessories, etc.
Location TBD. Cost TBD / All ages welcome

3-5 p.m. Bob Ross Pop-Up Painting Workshop. Guided painting event, all participants recommended to come dressed as Bob Ross.
Shoemaker Square. Cost TBD / All ages welcome

5-8 p.m. Downtown Maker Fair: Vendors, face-painting, caricature artists, and hands-on work stations that include pottery and more.
Neville Street / Free event, all ages welcome

5:30-7 p.m. Up-and-Coming Musician Showcase: Enjoy performances by local musicians, all 21 or younger.
Word Park / Free event, all ages welcome


Sunday, June 30

2-4 p.m. Living History at Wildwood House: Mark Twain
Wildwood House / Price unknown, all ages welcome

4-5 p.m. BEX Farewell Brunch: A reflection of the week’s events
Location TBD


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