Let’s think about a microcosm of what we desire first. For me, as a member of this very intimate and creative community right here in Thomas WV, it is taking shape right before my eyes – right here in this small town of less than 400 people.
I desire a thriving and growing arts community with multiple creative outlets.
Here we first had MountainMade, followed by my home and musical outlet – the Purple Fiddle, which together with the creative people circulating around them, attracted even more creative types and businesses. Close friends Seth, Nathan, Robin and others (sorry guys for not knowing all those involved) have created The White Room gallery and workshop. World-renowned artist and sculptor Paul Lucchesi brought his studio here. Mountain State Brewing brought their world-class brew recipes and now delves into bringing even more high-quality musical acts to Thomas. Michelle Loranger has created Hannah Lee Station restaurant where she is determined to host quality musical acts too (what do they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?). And most recently we see Ben Nelson and his brother, Steve, creating a ceramics studio and restoring one of the many historic buildings in town. All of this just in Thomas, all within the last 10 years, most of it sprouting within the last couple of years.
I desire a cooperative and interactive arts community that promotes and supports all creative outlets.
I am pleased to see this thrive right here also. If I need more buttons from Seth to sell, or mugs from Ben, they gladly run them over within a few days, always willing to either wait to be paid or bartering for Purple Fiddle goods and services. There is always a give and take. Or when I need a nice mural painted on the ugly trash-area wall, Robin and Seth pick up the task, not for cash, but for a restaurant tab in exchange. Or when the White Room decides to take advantage of an over-flowing Purple Fiddle crowd, we encourage them to open for the band’s set-break and gladly send the crowd strolling down the street for a quick arts fix. On Thursdays at the Fiddle it is common practice to send the music lovers to the brew pub for a late night shot of music when the show ends here. Because what is good for the people in Thomas is good for Thomas.
I desire an intelligent gathering of these creative minds to explore new avenues of engagement and growth in the local arts scene.
As Hannah Lee Station offers up musical performances it behooves us not to cooperate and interactively schedule bands at the Purple Fiddle and Mountain State that do not directly compete for the same audience on the same night. OR in contrast let’s wisely plan the opposite – let’s DO have three acts that compete for the same audience, but let’s do it together and make an event of it. Could you imagine having three nationally-touring bluegrass acts on three different stages on the same evening?! It could be marketed and sold as one ticket. Or similarly, how about a Thomas arts walk with different exhibits at all the area business for a weekend? This is all exciting to think about.
All of these things are being discussed and built upon right here in Thomas. And now, with the creation of this blog, and also with the creation of STArt (School-Town Art), the meeting of the minds can run with these and many more ideas and expand them into the whole of the Tucker County community. It is an exciting time. I can’t wait to see what we have created in Tucker County just five years from now.