Thursday, May 22, 2008
Building a Creative Economy in Southwest Virginia
Sue Shelor, Lost Arts Guild Member
On Monday, May 19, I traveled to Abingdon, Virginia, with a fellow member of Patrick County's Tourism Advisory Council to attent the Building a Creative Economy in Southwest Virginia conference. Sponsored by several partners, including The Crooked Road and 'Round the Mountain, the conference covered subjects such as community development and revitalizing local economies by using less traditional methods. At least, that's how it was put. By traditional they meant factories, manufacturing and economic trends of the last fifty or sixty years. But the thought occurred to me that the "new" economies we talked about, featuring artisans and farming, are going back to the real traditions of Southwest Virginia.
Because Lost Arts Guild member and spinner Linda Wright is dealing with a critical illness in her family and was unable to demonstrate, I was asked to take her place in the Artisan's Marketplace. Since this was for only a short period during the day, I was able to participate in all of the sessions. It was a lively day, filled with music, interesting discussions, films and slideshows. The featured presentation by 'Round the Mountain included a film showing our own Sandra Bennett spinning on her beautiful farm in Tazewell County and talking about the planned community loop trails and Artisan Center. Sue Shelor was also asked to demonstrate her gourd art, and several woodworkers, a weaver, a basketmaker, dulcimer maker and stained glass artist all participated as we..