Artisan Trail Network Extends to Martinsville-Henry County
Wednesday February 12, 2014
The Artisans Center of Virginia (ACV), in partnership with community members and organizations announces the initiation of the development of the Artisan Trail Network program with the City of Martinsville & Henry County.
Arts and cultural attractions in Martinsville and Henry County will get a boost when they join the statewide Artisan Trail Network this year, thanks to a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The Artisans Center of Virginia, together with a management team of local arts-related organizations and businesses, is using the grant funds to develop a new regional artisan trail that will highlight a range of cultural and tourism-related attractions in Martinsville and Henry County.
The trail system is a public-private initiative to further strengthen the relationships and connectivity of creative, cultural and agricultural businesses while emphasizing unique visitor experiences, special places and locally-made products in the area.
The trail will give visitors a comprehensive guide to local museums, artist studios, farms and vineyards, arts and cultural activities, shopping for locally grown and hand-crafted items, and unique, locally owned lodging and restaurants.
"Piedmont Arts is proud to be a part of the implementation of an Artisan Trail in Henry County-Martinsville. The area has a rich and growing arts and cultural community and having the Artisan Trail will allow us to better tell our story in a cohesive and collaborative way." Kathy Rogers, Executive Director of Piedmont Arts
"The Martinsville-Henry County EDC's Tourism Division is excited to be part of The Artisan Trail's management team. We see great value in being part of this regional program which will increase area tourism, promote local artisans and spur the creation of new arts related businesses in our community." Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism & Film for Martinsville/Henry County
After the grant was awarded, a management team was formed early this year (listed below). Next steps include conducting a needs assessment survey of potential participating artisans and local businesses, public awareness gatherings, a process to build consensus for the trail's name and the development of promotional materials and activities to support the program and its trail participants.
"We see the Artisan Trail Network program as a way to bring people together in a positive manner as to what Martinsville/Henry County Can offer, instead of what it cannot. That is very refreshing! We are very excited to be a part of this effort and to serve in whatever capacity sees us best utilized." Elliott & Connie Stone, Stonehaus Farms
Each month during the enrollment period the trail's Management Team will host a Lunch & Learn for those interested in the program. These informal gatherings will be held in different locations throughout the county with Sherri Smith, Executive Director of the Artisans Center of Virginia, available to share information on the program.
Anyone interested in learning about the artisan trail program is invited to attend. Bring your lunch, your associates and your questions.
Join us for Martinsville/Henry County's FIRST Artisan Trail Lunch & Learn • Tuesday, February 18th, from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm • Artisans Center of Martinsville (54 W Church St, Martinsville, VA 24112)
CLICK HERE TO RSVP for the Lunch & Learn (Please be sure to RSVP so that we can notify you should the event date or location change due to weather).
"The PHCC Artisan Center is thrilled to be a part of this project. This collaboration will enhance our ongoing efforts to develop and highlight the talents of our local artisans and give them entrepreneurial opportunities," said Kimberly Buck, Coordinator of Community Development Programs for Patrick Henry Community College. "We look forward to working together to build new relationships and bring more visibility to our creative community."
One of three primary strategic program initiatives of the Artisans Center of Virginia, the Artisan Trail Network with its community loops are designed to attract visitors to artisan studios, agri-artisan farms and local artisan businesses (Research, based on similar artisan trails/craft related activities in Western North Carolina per a 2008 study has shown that compared to the earlier (1995) HandMade in America study, "Craft consumers reported $164.09 total craft spending at the event where they were surveyed and annual craft spending of $908.61. This is a 46% increase over the 1995 study. Craft consumers visiting the area reported spending $146.86 per day compared to $95.94 per day for the 2006 visitor. They spent a total of $642.03 on their trip to Western North Carolina, of which $245.94 was spent on craft purchases - 38.31%- and $396.09 on lodging, transportation, meals, and other purchases." CLICK HERE to review the complete study.
In addition to the craft, artist and agricultural artisan businesses, supporting sites such as locally owned lodging, restaurants and cultural points of interest are welcome to become participants on the trail.
"Today marks the beginning of our program to connect artists, their venues, galleries and retailers and agri-artisans/agri-tourism businesses in Martinsville & Henry County, with points of interest, restaurants and lodging in the region into a community collaborative artisan trail," stated Sherri Smith, Executive Director of the Artisans Center of Virginia.
Those interested in learning more about the artisan trail including any interest in being a part of this program are invited to complete the Artisan Trail Network survey as a means to determine interest and to create a baseline of information for assessing the success of the program over time: CLICK HERE to participate in the Artisan Trail Network Survey
Individuals and businesses in Martinsville/Henry County region who wish to become a trail site can download the "Artisan Trail Network Participation Guidelines" explaining the participation criteria and program details by CLICKING HERE. Or, by contacting the Artisans Center of Virginia at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE CITY OF MARTINSVILLE & HENRY COUNTY
The City of Martinsville and Henry County Virginia are naturally beautiful places to live, work and play.... Trout-filled rivers, quiet lakes and gentle mountains surround this beautiful location that's full of rich history. Home to some of the finest recreational and cultural activities in the country, Martinsville-Henry County is proud of our excellent medical facilities, innovative school systems and advantageous housing opportunities. The climate is just right for those who enjoy all four seasons with cool winters and pleasant summers. And with a scenic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the spring and autumn seasons are simply breathtaking. Aside from our beautiful location, rich history, and quality of life, the true key to our community is the people. In Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia you, too, will find that warm and friendly people seem to be one of our strongest assets. For more information on Martinsville & Henry County CLICK HERE
ABOUT THE ARTISANS CENTER OF VIRGINIA
The Artisans Center of Virginia (ACV) develops and implements systems and strategies to improve economic outcomes for Virginia artisans and their communities while assisting them in promoting their local artisan culture.
In 1997, the Artisans Center of Virginia was incorporated and on June 11, 2000, it was designated to the public as the "Official State Artisans Center." Service to the entire state and its artisan community has been at the forefront of planning and programming.
ACV realizes that in order to best serve Virginia's artisans it needs to attract the public and provide sustainable economic opportunities to developing craft businesses while working to train tomorrow's artisans and keep the culture of handmade fine Virginia craft alive and thriving. ACV accomplishes these goals through the synergistic development of its Artisan Trail Network, Studio School and Retail Alliance Programs. The economic impact and benefits of the Artisan Trail Network, ACV Studio School and Retail Alliance programs are intended to:
• Provide additional economic opportunities and revenue stimulating programs for the region • Preserve and promote the region's culture, heritage and traditions • Establish the foundation for regional cooperation within the artisan community • Increase economic expenditures in the region • Increase visitation to the region's other artisan venues and tourism offerings • Provide business development (increased production, profits and new artist businesses) within the region • Stimulate job creation & the development of "next generation" artisans
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What is a Craft Artisan?
An Artisan creates objects of three dimensional craft, often to be used functionally, but always with a high degree of artistry and fine craftsmanship. For the Artisan form follows function, and the work of the Artisan speaks to the simple honesty of that paradigm. The Artisan pours himself into his craft, making his quality objects with pride, honesty, and integrity. Whether using hand tools or machines, the Artisan takes no shortcuts that might compromise the quality of the work. The Artisan does not attempt to compete with the large scale manufacturer, and the amount of time taken to make a work of fine craft is secondary to the result. That the goal of the Artisan is to achieve heirloom quality is an unspoken assumption.
What is an Agri-Artisan?
Agricultural-based, an Agri-Artisan relies on the natural resources of the land while reconciling a preservation of America's past as they operate businesses such as family farms, vineyards, wineries, breweries, orchards, organic farming, roadside stands, etc. Many embrace traditional farm practices, capturing a way of life unique to the rural and agricultural communities where they reside and retaining the culture and character passed on to them by previous generations. Such enterprises produce food, fiber, unique crops or livestock, add value to traditional agricultural products, or offer recreational, education, nature or other farm based activities, such as markets & roadside stands.