CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A newly-dedicated art piece is commemorating a longtime community staple in the Capital City.

Charleston’s Office of Public Art came together with Bill McKee, husband of the late Martha B. McKee who served as the first full-time Executive Director of the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta as they dedicated the piece entitled “JOY•STX•4•U•2•N•JOY” in her memory on Thursday afternoon.

Bill McKee said his wife, who died three years ago, was very involved in the arts and the community. While he now lives in Florida, he still has a strong connection with Charleston and he said he wanted to do something special not only for her, but for everyone who lives here.

“I wanted to do something to honor her and I wanted to give something back to the city, too, Charleston has been very good to me, I miss it a lot, I know a lot of people here,” he said.

Many of his friends and fellow-community members joined him and the city representatives, including Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin in dedicating the piece Thursday.

The local artists involved in the project also came out to take part in the dedication. While the piece was created by artist George Snyder, the base of it was fabricated by Jeff Fetty and Craig Hinchman.

It’s a colorful art piece that lights up at night and it’s now located on the corner of Court Street and the Kanawha Boulevard. McKee said he was astounded by the piece upon first seeing it.

“It is unbelievable, people had sent us a couple of pictures, we flew in and got here Monday evening, we’re staying at the Marriot and we walked up here and gosh, we stayed here a while, took all kinds of pictures, walked around, it’s just amazing.

Mayor Goodwin said they were happy to dedicate the piece in memory of such an amazing woman and they wanted the over 8,000 cars that travel the Kanawha Boulevard on a daily basis get to see a reflection of the vibrancy that Martha gave to the city.

“Martha McKee was one of the most vibrant and dynamic people this city has ever experienced, this art piece totally reflects that about her personality and that’s why her husband Bill wanted to put it here, why we wanted to put it in this particular place is so everybody could see it,” Goodwin said.

McKee said George Snyder designed the piece using elongated colorful tubes.

He said his wife would have been very proud of the piece.

“She loved George Snyder’s work, and she actually bought the one that I have at my house, so we have one of his tubes that he did and people are always amazed, we just have one, it’s beautiful,” McKee said.

Along with serving on the Regatta Commission and various city boards over the years, Martha McKee also served as Deputy Secretary of Arts and Education for the State of West Virginia.