Appalshop News

We're doing creative placemaking in Pound, Virginia

1 month ago

We believe in the power of creative placemaking. Especially in regions like ours — where communities have seen their Main Streets go dark and their populations decline — we know the stakes of rejuvenating the places that we call home.

That's why we're so excited that we've been awarded $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts for creative placemaking in the Town of Pound, Virginia.

Pound is just over the stateline from our headquarters in Whitesburg, Kentucky. We’ve worked together for the last two years to put on an annual storytelling festival based on one of our plays, and thanks to the “Our Town” grant that we were just awarded, the Red Fox Storytelling Festival will take place again in 2020 and 2021.

But that’s not all. Thanks to the “Our Town” grant, artists from both Southwest and Eastern Kentucky will create and install permanent murals and sculptures to illustrate the history and future of Pound. Community members will choose historic photographs of the area to install as large-scale banners.

And we’ll install permanent wayfinding signage to highlight Pound’s natural assets, like the thousands of acres of the Jefferson National Forest and the newly classified scenic Pound River, to name just two.

We’ll also be hosting community workshops to map new trails, parks, and downtown revitalization projects in Pound. So will the arts collective Epicentre Arts, whose workshops will focus on sculpture and mural painting, and the Red Fox Storytelling Festival will now feature workshops, too, so that people can learn to create and tell their own stories.

 

It’s all part of the vision to ensure that Pound’s artists, cultural workers and historical preservationists continue to be at the table in crafting the town’s future. 

The “Our Town” grant that we were awarded enables us to grow our partnerships in Pound, and we know this project will catalyze resources for residents and local groups — the people who have the most at stake in Pound’s future.

Without their support, we wouldn’t be undertaking this work. We’re grateful to our partners in Pound — far too many to name one by one here! — who have been leading revitalization efforts for years.

Even though 20 percent of Americans live in rural communities, less than 2 percent of private arts foundation funding goes to these places. We are very proud to be part of the effort to change that.

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