Bridgeport hosts "Create Your State" Tour

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BRIDGEPORT, W Va. (WDTV) - Creativity and arts were the themes in the city of Bridgeport on Oct. 11.

Some residents gathered at the Benedum Civic Center to see a multimedia performance, educational presentation and workshop by "Create Your State."

The presentation tells an inspiring story of how the city of Princeton has transformed into an arts-driven community.

"We have a group of artists that have established ourselves in downtown Princeton, West Virginia," said Lori McKinnery, Director of Create Your State. "We're going complete transformation of our downtown."

McKinney, along with her husband, began working toward this vision more than a decade ago. They transformed an abandoned block in Princeton into a vibrant area.

"We're seeing a flourishing success with our work. we love to share that knowledge and we're spreading seeds around the state," said McKinney.

Now, that block is full of color and it features an art gallery, artist studios, a recording studio, a music school, along with other creative spaces.

"I think the arts are important to communities," said Michelle Duez, the Executive Director for the Greater Bridgeport Convention and Vistors Bureau. "It's kind of the glue in the fabric that can bring people together."

The city of Bridgeport was one of the five communities to be selected to host this presentation.

"I'm really excited what we can do and learn and what we can replicate here in Bridgeport and adapt to make our own," said Duez. "Not just in Bridgeport but in surrounding communities again to make our communities stronger, help with economic development and bring programs for our locals and visitors alike."

"We're in bridgeport tonight to share our story and hopefully inspire them to cultivate a similar growth here," said McKinney.

McKinney's love for the Mountain State made her pursue what others might think it's impossible and that's to paint a blank canvas to a colorful masterpiece.

"It's all around. there's creative people everywhere you go and all of them are tucked in the hollers and in the mountains but creative spaces like what we have in Princeton draw them out together. you just need magnet spaces and events to bring that altogether," said McKinney.