Martinsville, Virginia


Artisans Leading the Way

The Artisans Center of Virginia (ACV), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Virginia Artisans and their work as a viable economic and cultural industry in Virginia, today announced the opening of its Studio School in collaboration with The Artisan Center, a program of Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC).

The Studio School will hold classes and workshops at The Artisan Center located in uptown Martinsville, VA.

ACV & PHCC invite area artists and the public to attend "ARTISANS LEADING THE WAY", a free kick-off celebration & mini seminar/forum at The Artisan Center, 54 W. Church Street, on April 21, 2012 from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM (see full agenda below).

"ACV is proud to establish our Studio School program in this strategically southern location of the state and looks forward to working with PHCC to establish accessible entrepreneur-based arts educational programming for students and artists," said Sherri Smith, Director of the Artisans Center of Virginia. "The artisan industry in Virginia is one of the state's greatest untapped economic assets. Skilled craftsmen and women, with expertise in design and manufacturing techniques, form the backbone of the creative economy in many communities across the Commonwealth and thus we look to them to help us create a sustainable education program that strengthens and perpetuates Virginia's greater arts industry."

The ACV Studio School at its core is a workforce development initiative that focuses on the vocational and trade skills of Virginia artisans while providing them with the business training needed to advance their marketable talents and sell their products and services. Studio School programs will enhance the existing craft artisan programs in media such as pottery, fiber art, glass art, and wood, which have been offered by Patrick Henry Community College at The Artisan Center since 2004.

The ACV Studio School will include educational outreach to professional and "next generation" Virginia artisans featuring a wide variety of practical, non-credit artist-entrepreneurial/business workshops, contemporary and traditional craft workshops, and provide a networking hub for the purpose of offering retail alignment and artisan trail development to the local community.

"I believe establishing an ACV Studio School at The Artisan Center is a natural fit," said Kara Carter-Hundley, Creative Enterprise Program Coordinator at PHCC. "ACV's mission aligns perfectly with the mission of The Artisan Center and an ACV Studio School is a great addition to our established craft and design classes. We are excited to offer area artists courses that will help them to turn their passion for art into an entrepreneurial opportunity."

9:30 AM - Mingle & Morning Refreshments - provided by PHCC Culinary Arts students
10:00 AM- Opening Remarks & Introductions
10:30 AM- So You Want to Be an Artist Entrepreneur - Sherri Smith, ACV Executive Director
11:00 AM- Sarah EK Muse, Metal Artist & ACV Board- VP of Media & Communications
11:30 AM- Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism, Martinsville & Henry County Economic Development Corp.
12:00 Noon - 2:00 PM - Lunch & Learn Open Forum. Bring your lunch join the table with TAC staff and ACV artisans & executive staff on hand to answer your questions about artist entrepreneurship, TAC and ACV jury, the Artisan Trail Network program, etc.


Craft-artisan workshops will be taught by practicing, ACV Juried Virginia Artisan Members, many of whom are nationally renowned in their field of media.

Entrepreneurial/Business workshops covering a wide variety of business applications specifically designed for artistic professions (3-D, 2-D, Music, Theatre, Literary, and Culinary Arts) will be taught by leading business practitioners.

Fall 2012 courses and workshops will be scheduled at varying times and are available to the public for intermediate grade school students through adults. Tuition Assistance is available for ACV members.

ACV is currently accepting course proposals from eligible individuals. Course offerings will be published in PHCC Workforce Development Training Guide, The Artisan Center's fall course catalog, and on the website at and will be available in the summer of 2012.


The ACV's mission of bringing economic opportunity to Virginia artisans while strengthening local economies is realized in this sustainable Studio School alliance that combines ACV's expansive artisan network and jury strengths with the respected programming and vibrant community of Martinsville, Virginia. To schedule interviews or more information, please contact: Sherri Smith, Executive Director at