In just over three years as director of Holston Mountain Artisans, Andrea Rhoten has enjoyed renovations and endured a pandemic.
“As with most businesses, the pandemic hit us hard. We made it through 2020, thanks to our donors, the funding that government programs provided and our determination to survive.
“In the winter and early spring of 2021, we were able to do many renovations to our shop thanks to First Bank and Trust, Lowe’s, Berry Builders, Sherwin Williams, and Home Depot, as well as countless hours of labor provided by our staff and members,” Rhoten says.
The co-op has more than 100 members, many of whom donate their time to work in the store, do maintenance, paint, mow, teach classes and tend to the myriad tasks involved in keeping the organization going.
“Interest in arts and crafts has increased as each generation passes skills on to the next generation. To encourage this trend, we have held classes and provided working space in our Annex for carvers and quilters to gather, and we plan to do this again now that the pandemic has lifted.
“We will celebrate our 50th anniversaryduring our Sawdust Festival Saturday, July 24, when we welcome the public to meet severalwoodworkers as they demonstrate their talents, as well as other members with their different skills. We will also host the wonderful Quilt Show, beginning July 23 and running until Saturday, July 31, featuring traditional and contemporary quilts. Visitors are welcome to vote on their favorite quilt and the winner will receive a gift certificate to the shop.
“I love learning from each of the artisans as they demonstrate their talents at one of our festivals or Saturday Spotlights. It is amazing at the local talent that we have right here in our community.
“The future of the co-op looks bright. Being one of the oldest crafts cooperatives in the United States, we have endured many ups and downs and have now survived a pandemic.We hope to see the co-op last through many generations and the love for the arts continue to prevail,” Rhoten says.
Holston Mountain Artisans holds a jury for new members in July. New members should live within 100 miles of Abingdon, Virginia. To find out more information, call the shop at 276-628-7721 or visitholstonmtnarts.org.