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Pushing art

Switzerland and Ohio counties
hold rural artisan tour together

Participants in tour will be able to interact with artists

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(March 2008) – Tourism offices in the Indiana counties of Switzerland and Ohio have joined together to create a unique tour of arts studios that will allow the public to interact with artists during the actual creation process.

David Attaway

David Attaway

On April 26-27, art lovers will get a chance to tour more than 31 unique studios and talk to more than 40 artists during the “Creative Spaces Rural Places Arts Tour.” The arts trail will run through the towns of Rising Sun, Ind., and Vevay, Ind., and the rural areas of both Ohio and Switzerland counties. Many of the tour stops will be sprinkled along the Ohio River Scenic Byway, which runs along the Ohio River.
“The public will get a rare exposure to not only finished art products, but the entire process as well,” said Switzerland County Tourism Executive Director David Attaway.
“There are very unique studio spaces for people to enjoy; they will get to experience art from one end of the spectrum to the other.”
While it is somewhat unusual for two counties to sponsor such an event together, Rising Sun-Ohio County Tourism Executive Director Sherry Timms said the project works because the two counties are so similar. “Both counties are known as art destinations,” she said.
Tourism officials have no idea what to expect with this tour, but they believe people will find the experience both entertaining and educational said Timms. “We want to offer people an adventure in arts; we believe they will enjoy each unique studio in different ways.”

Sherry Timms

Sherry Timms

Recently, Indiana state tourism officials Eric Freeman and Brian Blackford visited the two counties to discuss the project. The Indiana Office of Tourism Development, Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Indiana Department of Agriculture is developing the Indiana Artisan Development Program. The program will develop a brand that gives meaning and recognition to Indiana-made goods. To participate in the program, artisans will only have to successfully complete a jurying process.
According to Freeman, the project director for the development program, the project is working with arts and tourism groups around the state to build a network that reaches artisans and can help identify and provide what they and their businesses need to grow. “That’s why we were in Vevay and Rising Sun; they are certainly working towards that goal.”
He also said he has met with Linda Lytle, executive director of the Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, and is encouraging artisans in Jefferson County, Ind., to become involved in the initiative.

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