Patrick Henry Community College will partner with Reynolds Homestead, a Commonwealth Campus Center of Virginia Tech, to expand offerings of non-credit courses in pottery and weaving at the site in Critz starting in January 2015.
Lisa Martin, senior program manager at Reynolds Homestead, said Patrick County already has a very strong market for these courses.
“We decided that some of the Artisan Center programs might be good ones to bring up to our area because we have a very strong artisan population,” she said. “Traveling all the way to Martinsville to take classes might be difficult for some students, especially if they live in the Meadows of Dan or Ararat area. It could easily be an hour-and-a-half commute one-way.”
The Artisan Center at PHCC will handle registration and processing for courses while Reynolds Homestead will deal directly with hiring instructors and setting the class schedule. PHCC also will provide equipment including looms and potters wheels.
“This is a nice partnership because each of us is providing things that the other can’t – we’re offering a space to bring more people into the program who can’t get to Martinsville, and PHCC is providing equipment that we don’t have so we can expand our offerings,” Martin said.
Dr. Angeline Godwin, PHCC president, said she’s excited at this new opportunity to bolster course offerings throughout the college’s service region.
“We’re pleased to expand our partnerships into Patrick County to allow us to offer career credit arts programming,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach more people and enable them to learn the skills necessary to become artisan entrepreneurs.”
The curriculum will stick to the same guidelines as the artisan certification at the Artisan Center, according to Kim Buck, coordinator of community development at PHCC.
“Students still will be able to receive a certificate of study in artisan entrepreneurship, and they can do so with a concentration in pottery or weaving,” Buck said. “From there, they can expand into other areas and work their way up to take more advanced courses.”
Although the partnership will begin with two programs, Martin said there is a possibility to expand in the future if there’s enough interest.
“We’ll start with courses we know people are interested in right away,” she said. “There’s some interest in woodworking, which may be a challenge because of the equipment involved. But we’re more than willing to expand if the need is there for artists who want to develop and hone their skills, and learn more about the business side involved in being an artisan entrepreneur.”
Martin added, “We’re part of Virginia’s Crooked Road music trail and the Artisan Trail Network, and we’re very committed to the economic development of our area artisans. This program is part of our mission to help our professional and recreational artists.”
Class dates and times will be announced in early January 2015. Students may register in person at The Artisan Center at 54 West Church Street in Martinsville, or over the phone by calling (276) 656-5461. A registration form can be emailed or mailed to potential students upon request.
Four area students recently earned volunteer service awards from the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center. Hannah Surber, Cody Mills, Mirayah Stone, and Christian Easley each earned Martinsville-Henry County t-shirts for reaching, and surpassing, 10 hours of volunteer service in the Visitor Center.
The holiday season is a time for giving and Martinsville Speedway’s 18th annual Christmas Toy Drive showed that the NASCAR community is willing to do just that. The toy drive raised more than $13,000 and saw 200 toys donated for the Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County.
A network of more than 100 area churches, the Grace Network will use the money to provide toys and clothes to underserved and underprivileged children in the area.
“Being able to donate more than $13,000 to the Grace Network is going to help bring smiles to a lot of kids’ faces on Christmas morning,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “Martinsville Speedway is proud of our community and our fans. While the speedway presents the check, it truly is a community donation.”
The Grace Network gets lists of names from the churches in the network and then is able to take the money raised and shop according to each child’s needs and wishes.
“Being able to bring joy to children in this season is a blessing,” said Simone Redd, a Grace Network board member and the one who heads up the shopping. “The generous donations and toys received allowed us to spread the spirit and true meaning of Christmas throughout the community.
“Christmas is a special time of the year and we, at Grace Network, appreciate the opportunity to participate in the toy drive with the Martinsville Speedway.”
This year’s toy drive reached a bigger audience than ever before, thanks to some ticket packages that were put up for auction. Race fans from all over the country bid on race experiences like getting a picture taken in Victory Lane with the STP 500 winner or the opportunity to ride in the Official Pace Car for the start of the race.
However, it wasn’t all about change. Like in years past, fans had the opportunity to drive their personal cars around the track, in exchange for a new toy or a $10 donation. Different from years past though, the laps were spread out over two weeks, instead of being limited to one day. This gave fans from as far away as New Jersey and South Dakota the opportunity to participate.