ArtSpring was founded in 2011 when gallery owners, artists and musicians of Tucker County came together with a vision to connect and promote its rich and varied arts communities. From such was born the ArtSpring festival, a Memorial-Day-Weekend tour of Tucker County: an opportunity for visitors and residents alike to see the arts communities unite in a collective effort to show just how dynamic and extensive the presence of the arts are in our county.
In recent years, events have included:
• fine art and craft demonstrations, open studio tours, gallery exhibits, and outdoor painting
• street musicians at numerous outdoor locations, as well as special bookings at the Purple Fiddle and Mountain State Brew Pub
• a community theatre radio show performance in the historic Cottrill’s Opera House in Thomas
• a traditional square dance
• nature photography walks in Canaan Valley
• kids crafting, window painting, hair decorations, dance recital, and a student mural project
• artisan foods and drinks at local restaurants, including an Appalachian farm-to-table tapas and craft cocktail tasting
• outdoor farmer/artisan market
• a silent auction of local art to benefit art education in Tucker County schools and the restoration of Cottrill’s Opera House, slated to return as an arts center and community hub of Tucker County
While the annual festival may be what ArtSpring is best known for, we have grown into a year-round program which is perpetually working to enhance and support the local arts communities of Tucker County.
One way we’re doing this is through mapping the creative landscape of our county so we can more easily form connections and enhance the network of those in our area who are interested in our goals of cultural development. This is achieved mainly through gathering information about people’s creative skills, interests and needs. It helps us to see more clearly what kind of resources we have and how to better serve the community.
Through this work, our hope is to be a resource hub for those seeking participation and collaboration on the creative front – a catalyst for programs and planning across the cultural spectrum. As we meet with artists, business owners, organizations, and individuals around the county, we find what people would like to help with or see happen, and can help to bring these ideas to fruition.
Tucker County has a great and varied collection of natural and cultural assets. As ArtSpring continues to support and engage the creative landscape of Tucker County and serve as a platform for arts and cultural programming, we hope to keep telling and imagining – with your help – the story of this unique community.
If you have ideas about creative development in Tucker County, please be in touch!