BY SATHIYAN SIVAKUMARAN, HUBCAP III VISTA, THE HUB
When you’re working on a major project for your community, it can often take many months and even years. There is something that can take away some of the challenges encountered in the pursuit of this achievement: collaboration.
In the case of the Clear Fork Rail Trail, we have seen the results that stem from cooperation across businesses, organizations, and government.
The Clear Fork Rail Trail project sprouted in 2014 from Whitesville’s participation in Turn This Town Around, a community development program administered by The Hub. Taking the initial idea that came out of working with the program, Adam Pauley, an engaged citizen, and Christy Bailey of the National Coal Heritage Area Authority, were able to co-write a successful application for an Abandoned Mine Lands grant from the WV Department of Environmental Protection for more than $2 million.
Fast-forward down the trail, and we’ve arrived at another recent success of collaboration as the project continues to gear up for the public. Over the past few months, Adam has worked with Emily Sokolosky of Base Camp Printing, a local letterpress print shop based in Charleston, WV, to create some exciting promotional materials for the trail with support from The Hub’s Communities of Achievement (HubCAP) program.
According to Emily, Adam’s enthusiasm and approach to the project made it easy for her to create the posters, postcards, and coasters he requested. “He came to the shop often and was able to point to things we had done in the past that he liked and that was really helpful to give me direction,” Emily says about the beginning of her work with Adam.
This kind of collaboration over a creative vision is best achieved locally.
Adam seeking out the talents of Emily and Betsy of Base Camp Printing helped develop a dynamic that led to creating promotional materials perfect for the Clear Fork Rail Trail.
The creation of the promotional materials wasn’t something that happened overnight. It was a process requiring strong and consistent efforts from both parties. A four month process beginning in October before capping off at the end of January, the results progressed over time. “Rather than design it all at once, we would work on the design of one piece, print it, then move on to the next thing… But that also made it more fun, because we were able to hold something real in our hands and it kept us excited about the project,” Emily says about the work on the postcards, posters, and coasters. As they reached the finish line, this process allowed them to tie all of the materials together.
Eating, drinking, and buying from local businesses is becoming more of a theme and mantra in WV. So, how about collaborating locally?
In this case, where a lot of the work required visuals, there needed to be a lot of in-person or email contact. There’s a mutually beneficial element to these local collaborations, too. “We love learning more about each business and making friendships with the people we’re working with… It really gives us hope for the future and makes all of our hard work worth it,” Emily expresses.
As we see from Adam’s and Emily’s collaboration, local cooperation can create powerful images. With matching funding for the project, Adam and Emily were able to expand the scope of work to include more poster designs for Whitesville. The posters were sold to help raise money for additional community projects to happen in Whitesville.
The collaboration between Adam and the team at Base Camp display West Virginia at its best. They connected and communicated to develop something to accurately represent the Clear Fork Rail Trail, an endeavor that pushes Whitesville and the surrounding area forward. And through this collaboration, other projects in Whitesville can receive funds.
Adam sums it up perfectly: “We all benefit from working together.” We can’t argue with that.