Thursday, May 1, 2008

Athenians Getting Crafty -- What can Watkinsville Learn?

This is a fascinating story in today's Athens Banner-Herald about the Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa. Many people don't appreciate the number of jobs and the level of opportunity that comes with creating original arts and crafts.

In Watkinsville, we have a strong "crafts" industry. This includes everything from the Chappelle's and their attendant businesses (the Chappelle Gallery and Happy Valley Pottery) to a variety of other artists, potters and artisans. Indeed, the energy and artistry that comes with arts and crafts is one of the things that sets our community apart from others our size. Southworks (pictured) is also a great annual event that highlights local artists.

While we may not have as many beautiful restored homes or historic buildings as other Georgia communities, The Artland of Georgia is unmatched for creative artists finding new and innovative ways to create and sell.

While Jerry and Kathy Chapelle have worked hard to nurture this industry, and shop owners like Dolores Schofill at Circa Antiques and Gardens showcase our local art, I wonder if there are other ideas or communities who are also doing this. Are there incentives governments could create? Skills that need to be nurtured or trained? The Craftsravaganzaa is surely just one great idea of many -- what else can Watkinsville do to better nurture this small but critical industry?

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