Tucker County is full of talented artistic and creative people. When it comes time for you to buy a gift – Do you support your local community and artists? Where’s your favorite place to find that one of a kind handcrafted gift? If you are an artist or artisan, where do you show and sell your work? Are you open to another venue for your work?
The Heritage House supports the people of Tucker County in many ways. In addition to helping to provide income to the artists and artisan of our area, they also provide employment to our senior citizens, with a working relationship with West Virginia Aging Services.
When I entered Heritage House at the Depot in Parsons, I was transported by the surroundings and the charm of the furnishings, the lovely hardwood floors and the large model train that travels a ceiling high track around the shop. On the shelves and display counters, I was surrounded by the talented and skilled handcrafted art work. I was greeted with a warm and welcoming ‘hello’ coming from the back of the shop. Approaching me was Sherry, the shop hostess. Within a few minutes Barbara McDonald arrived for our interview. She was welcoming and relaxed and has a definite forte for making you feel immediately at home.
Barbara, Sherry and I walked toward the back of the shop into the Museum Room, where we sat at a large table, while completely surrounded by model trains and antiqued artifacts of railroad days gone by. This room was a total surprise to me. What a delight to explore these items, set apart from the front room of art. Behind the Museum Room is another large room, where the local artist and artisans hold classes.
I asked Barbara to tell me the story of Heritage House. She said, that several of the artists and artisans in the area were discussing how they wish there was a place to display and sell their items. They were tired of the work and time involved with going to art and craft fairs. Several meetings were held at the Kiwanis Club to come up with a solution. During that time a building on Rt. #219, that was originally a printing company, had become vacant. In 1992 the bank that owned the property offered the five original members the use of the building, in order to keep it occupied. They were an immediate success. In 1994 the bank sold the property, which is now the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). Heritage House then relocated to the building which is next to McDonalds on Rt. #219. They stayed there until the flood. The Co-op then purchased the Parsons Railroad Depot. People came together, mostly volunteers, to renovate the building, which became the permanent home of the Heritage House at the Depot, in 1995. The shop is currently operated by Barbara, plus Jill Evick and two employees from the West Virginia Aging Services. Heritage House at the Depot winter hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with spring and summer hours of 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. They are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.
The Heritage House members have talents that range the gamut, including water color paintings, stain glass, textiles, candles, foods, jewelry, woodworking and much, much more. If you are an artist or artisan and want another place or your first place to display and sell your work, then I encourage you to visit this lovely shop, or you can e-mail to Barbara McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org. A web-site for Heritage House is currently under construction (www.parsonsheritagehouse.com) and will be completed in the near future. This will provide members another benefit and a virtual venue.
The Heritage House offers a very attractive co-op membership to artists and artisans. There is no need to make a time commitment to the gallery. Membership is a low $53.00 annual fee and a small percentage of each sale. This is a great opportunity for the local artists and artisans to show and sell their work for income, and is especially handy during the non-art and craft show season.
Not to mention while Barbara McDonald and her team are selling your wares, you can be making more art. That is what you like to do the most – right? I know, from personal experience, that I much prefer making art than selling art.
As Martha Stewart says “It’s a good thing!” Residents gain income and the tourist are happy with their Tucker County created art.