Is there an artist in your midst? Most likely. Tab O’Neal looks at a growing network of artists, galleries and related businesses coming together on a series of trails.
“It is called the Artisan Trail and it is part of the Artisan Center of Virginia and it is an opportunity for us to bring more folks to the area to support and patron the local arts.”
Sherri Smith, Director of the Artisan Center of Virginia, also says there are fifteen trails in Southwest Virginia, trails in the Shenandoah Valley and more on the way. The trails are comprised of galleries, studios and workshops. And, for a community to be part of the network, a lot more:
“But we want to get them connected to their cultural sites, restaurants, the B&Bs and get everybody working together...So it takes about a year to build the collaborative process.”
Bringing the art community together is one reason a group in Bedford County is working to become a member of the Artisan Trail Network. Mitchell Bond of Goose Creek Studios:
“I think a lot of folks have been working on their own and the trail is the thing that’ll bring folks together," says Bond.
And that coming together requires a commitment to provide a quality experience for visitors:
“Once somebody has decided they would like to apply to be a participant on the trail then someone from the management team that the Artisan Center sets up goes and does a site visit with them to make sure that they have adequate parking, restroom facilities, that they are indeed doing something that they make themselves.”
With fundraising events and organizational work underway, Bond says the Bedford County portion of the Artisan Trail should be approved and included by spring 20-14.