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Posts Tagged ‘Tamarack Foundation for the Arts’

The Nonprofit Quarterly recently published a short piece about how artisans are playing a critical role in West Virginia’s economic development strategy.

Ruth McCambridge reported, “In West Virginia, a state rich in artisans including fashion designers, leatherworkers, and furniture makers, the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts offers business help meant to bring that local work to a more national market.

“ ‘We get artists’ work into major markets outside the state,’ CEO Alissa Novolselick said. ‘We help them get in front of power buyers, big art institutions or really high volume galleries, or different sorts of market opportunities.’

“Success in this larger arena is completely possible, she says, pointing to Blenko Glass and Fiestaware as West Virginia–based businesses with a ‘hugely diversified portfolio.’ She calls this part of a strength-based community economic development strategy, rather than just support for artists: ‘We really believe that art as economic development can be part of the total answer to working on a more diversified economy for West Virginia.’ …

“Art can create more than a visual; it can create a place. And the richness goes both ways, says Novoselick, who contends that the rural nature of the settings of many of these centers of arts development informs the art. …

“A recent study of five hundred West Virginia art entrepreneurs found that they felt the low cost of living and doing business in the state helps lower the risk of what would otherwise be a chancy endeavor.” More here.

When I was working at the magazine, we had articles from a number of New England states about their version of a “creative economy.” The perennial worry, of course, is that once the artists have done their job and brought tourists and business to an area, they may be unable to pay the inevitable higher rents. Forward-looking locales explore ways to protect artists for the long term.

Photo: MountainMade WV Handmade Art
Blenko Glass

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