9/11 has positive impact in the arts community!

As it did everyone at the time, 9/11 inserted much fear and uncertainty into my life. It didn’t help that I was working for the Governor’s office in the state capital building, just a few miles away from multiple chemical factories. It seemed like targets were all around me.

After some discussion with my future wife, Kathryn Richards, we thought it best to literally head for the hills – to a place of increased security and a more sane pace of life. We both dropped our career paths, not knowing exactly how we were going to make a living in the mountains. But it all started to become clear after we saw the beautiful DePollo General Store here in Thomas WV – empty and for sale!

Mady Richards in her new home at the Purple Fiddle - November 2001

What has evolved here since that fateful September day has been nothing short of miraculous, in my humble opinion. The amazing array of talented and professional bands that stop to perform, usually to just a handful of folks, is amazing.

We have played host to a world-class symphony cello player (Matt Heimowitz), Tuvan throat singers from Siberia (Alash), bluegrass bands that were number one on the national bluegrass charts (Gibson Brothers, Step Canyon Rangers, King Wilkie), plus a Grammy Awards Show band (Avett Brothers) and a Grammy winner (Mike Compton). All have played this small town of 400 people, at a place born and bred out of the anxiety resulting from a national tragedy.

But this amazing place of community gathering is mostly here because of you, our dedicated patrons. And we hope to always be here FOR you. This is your place to relax, get away from the daily stress of your jobs and the hectic pace of city lives. This is your place to rendezvous with long-lost friends, and kick off your shoes and dance.

Yes, we all get to reap one of the few positives that resulted from September 11. The Purpel Fiddle. But I am the luckiest of all….

Yes, Silas, our beautiful 9 year old son, is a 9/11 baby. Another blessing born from tragedy.

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Accepting Credit Cards When Selling Your Art

I’m doing some research for accepting credit cards. I’ve had so many customers ask if I accept credit cards.  Since I don’t I just know that there have been many lost sales because people don’t carry a lot of cash.

In the past I haven’t accepted credit cards because of the monthly fee, even when you don’t have sales. Ouch!  Those of us who sell our art at fairs and festivals know that there are very few, if any, sales during some of the months of the year.  So we shy away from that monthly expense that just doesn’t make sense to a small business.

SquareUp.com doesn’t charge a monthly fee!  And it’s used on our iPhone, iPad or Android cell phone. For a very, very clear description and details go to FAQ.

  1. They don’t charge a monthly fee!  Brilliant!  These folks saw the huge art and artisan market and a way to help us and a great business opportunity for themselves.
  2. The SquareUp hardware and software is completely free.
  3. They only charge 2.75% of each transaction – period!  So if you sell $100.00 in art to someone, they keep $2.75 and you get $97.25.  Not a bad deal!  Especially since this might not have been a sale at all if the customer didn’t have cash on them. 
  4. All you need to do is tell them you want it. You don’t need to have a special bank account or good credit.
  5. The only requirement is that their credit card swiping device only attaches to an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone.

Here’s a Youtube video showing the iPhone and the SquareUp in action


You will need to use an iPad if you already have a cell phone and you are under contract with a phone provider that won’t operate with an iPhone.  With an iPad you don’t need a contract, just pay the monthly $25 internet connection charge (AT&T).  I almost went this route, but the iPad price starts at $499 at Walmart.  So I scratched my head and sighed when I looked at my bank account.

The other option is to use an iPhone or Android.  The iPhone seemed like the best option for me, since I am not under a contract with a phone company.  The iPhone3 is $49 and the iPhone4 is $199 on the AT&T site.  Both of these models work equally well with the SquareUp. This is a lot cheaper than the iPad.

Since I’m going with the iPhone I need to get a phone contract….boo, hiss. I live here in Tucker County and good cell phone service seems to be limited to AT&T. (I’m not an expert in this, so you will need to find the cell phone carrier that you trust.)  I can get a contract for $39.99 a month for 450 anytime minutes.  Since I’m not a phone junkie this is perfect.  Then there is a $25.00 fee to have internet connection.  I contacted AT&T and was told there would be a total of $3.00 a month in added fees (because they can!) So I estimate that I”ll  be spending $68.00 a month for cell phone, internet and be able to accept credit cards.  Credit cards will increase my income with more sales. Yippee!

I hope that this information and the on line links are helpful to you all.  Please double check my research before you make a decision, just in case there have been changes.  A contract is a committment and everyone should take this into serious thought before going forward. 


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TCHS Band Camp Pix

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Here is a gallery of pictures from a typical day at the 2011 Tucker County High School Band Camp, in residence at Camp Horseshoe from August 8 to 12. Band Director Heather Lantz organized a terrific week of learning experiences, … Continue reading

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TCHS Strikes Up the Band!

On August 8, Tucker County High School musicians travel to Camp Horseshoe for a week of Band Camp. Under the leadership of TCHS Band Director Heather Lantz, 20 of the band’s 25 members will improve their musical skills and work on this year’s competition show. We are impressed by the growth and development of Lantz’s music program over the last three years, and have decided to write two blogs about the Band and its week at Horseshoe so that the community can learn more about this wonderful program. This first post will provide information about the band itself and the impressive staff of musicians Lantz has lined up to make this a terrific week for the young musicians.

Logan Lindsey of Alderson-Broaddus College in Phillipi WV wrote this year’s competition piece, to be used at fairs and festivals and at TCHS home football games. The piece incorporates some familiar music, with selections from the Hawaii Five-O theme song, “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Wipe Out,” and “Day-O.” Lindsey teaches tuba and euphonium and directs the Jazz Ensemble at Alderson-Broaddus. Lantz is excited about Professor Lindsey‘s contribution to the band program this year, and anticipates how much the students will benefit from his presence at Band Camp. Lindsey’s show will be included, along with other music prepared at camp, as part of the band’s competition repertoire at fairs and festivals. You can look forward to hearing and seeing the show’s inaugural performance on September 2 during half time at the first TCHS football game of the season.

Here 2010-11 Drum Major, Alix Lilly, directs the TCHS Band. Case Drumheller succeeds her for the 2011-12 year.

The Band’s Drum Major this year is senior, Case Drumheller. Drumheller is very proud to have the opportunity to be at the helm. Other students providing leadership for the band this year are its section leaders: junior Ashley Taylor, percussion; senior Trista Harper, trumpet, senior Amanda Chambers, saxophone, senior Diannah Stemple, clarinet; senior Lucy Parsons, flute.

Director Heather Lantz relaxes with members of the TCHS Band between musical workouts.

Lantz has recruited local resident musicians to work with the Band’s instrumental sections. They include Chip Dotson, percussion; Jeremy Hile, trumpet; Will Dixon and Heather Eye, saxophone; Logan Lindsey, low brass; Maggie Chambers and Becky Smith, Clarinet; and Cathy Hebb, flute. In addition, Band parents with provide assistance throughout the week, including Band Boosters President, Lisa Smith who is helping to prepare for upcoming events such as the Band’s first performance this year at the Tucker County Fair at Camp Kidd on August 23rd.

Check the Create Tucker blog next week on Thursday to read more about what happens at a Band Camp and see photos of this exciting and musically productive week.

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Unblocking Creative Energy

The other day I was involved in a discussion of how the power to create multiplies when more than one person is involved. This conversation reminded me that many successful creative endeavors have been manifested through the power of several people working or playing together, while focused on a particular subject. Corporations deliberately do this technique in-order to grow their business. They form off-site meetings of the key players. They gather, away from the offices, with a blank flip chart or white board. The members begin an open discussion and ideas are verbalized. It becomes magical how new creative ideas are produced in this group meeting. Some call this a collective consciousness. Some call this brainstorming. Some call it luck. But the truth is whenever two or more people gather with the purpose to create something new, ideas will manifest and multiply.
Those of us who are art or artisan creators have certainly come across those frustrating times when nothing wants to happen creatively in our heads that will manifest into the physical. We’ve all heard about the ‘writers block’. Those artists who have another medium most likely have had this ‘creative block’. It is so very frustrating!
For those of us who experience a creative block remember to invite a few artys friends to casually gather and inspire each other’s creativity. Mix your art energy with other friends art energy to plant the seeds for new creative art. Step outside of your typical lone studio environment and meet for coffee or tea. Don’t forget your sketch pad or note book so there’s a place to allow the magic to be recorded.

Thank you for visiting ‘Create Tucker’. ~ Linda

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American Flag Cameras–They’re Everywhere!

Gary Carr, local resident well-known for his great cooking, has a non-culinary vision. Gary aims to create an image bank of Tucker County life: holiday events, festivals, families, and places.  And he wants the people of the Tucker County–not professional photographers, just folks—to take the pictures. The image bank will be by and about the people of the community, documenting its activities, people, and growth over the years. The red, white, and blue cameras you will see everywhere this holiday weekend will launch Gary’s great idea.

Gary has distributed 30 donated cameras, equipped with HD film, mostly to local residents for use in documenting Tucker County’s July 4th weekend, with emphasis on Mountaineer Days in Thomas. Ten cameras are in the hands of local middle school and high school students.  Others were distributed in Thomas to businesses, senior citizens, City Hall personnel and local firefighters. A few are being given to tourists through the Canaan Valley Visitors Bureau to be used in Thomas as well as at the Kite Festival in the Canaan Valley Resort and the Wheeling Symphony’s concert in the Valley. Gary suggested that the photographers take pictures of themselves, holiday activities and decorations, businesses, and families. He urged them to ask themselves “What does this event mean to me?” and then take a picture of it.

If you have a camera, it doesn’t have to be colored red, white, and blue to join in the fun. Gary would love to have anybody deliver a disk copy of images from the weekend to the Canaan Valley Visitors Bureau in Davis.

The results of this year’s Camera Event will be on display over the Labor Day Weekend at a venue to be announced later. Some will surely find their way to the Create Tucker blog site in the near future.  In the meantime, Gary hopes to have them on line soon for all to see.

Unfortunately, ArtSpring—the Memorial Day Weekend special event that spanned the four communities of the County in May—will have to wait for next year to have an army of citizen photographers to document the event. This year the spontaneous enthusiasm generated by ArtSpring’s street musicians, artist demonstrations, and special events would have inspired many a camera click. Fortunately, we do have a few pictures (below)  that will give you the flavor of one of the weekend’s many highlights, the Silent Auction of Art & More. The Auction was the inaugural public event in the newly renovated Cottrill’s Opera House in Thomas.

At the Opera House

Signing in to make a bid







Should I?





Taking the plunge


So many choices









I think we should try


Ben Nelson's commemorative mugs






And the winners are!







Happy new owners










What color will the cameras be for Leaf Peepers, we wonder?

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Music all the time

We are jumping into the heart of our summer tourist season now, up here in the beautiful Allegheny mountains, which means plenty of art and music for everyone,  every day. The galleries are open every day I think, but really I can only speak for the Purple Fiddle.

The Purple Fiddle is hosting music every evening now – at 8:30 pm. Our streak of nightly shows does not end until at least Sunday July 31, and we hope to have every date filled until Labor Day Weekend. Yes, the best acts (and largest crowds also) are generally on weekends, but don’t mistake mid-week shows as being sub-par in talent. Case in point, Bethesda this Monday or the Carper Family on Wednesday. Those are just two examples for the coming week, but every week has some killer acts. Why? Because it seems to be the time of year that bands are traveling about, and need gigs every day of the week to sustain their tours. And we seem to lure the best of them to our small quaint venue.

The Carper Family

Lucky us, and you. Support your traveling musical artists, and I hope to see you soon.

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