Trail is taking shape
along Ohio River Scenic Byway
will promote locally made art, crafts
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (January 2006) Madison would
be among a handful of southern Indiana cities selected to serve as Showcase
Communities in a newly created Artisan Trail being
developed by the Ohio River Scenic Byway Committee. The program would
also create the need for an art center somewhere in each of these towns,
Kathy Werking, one of the architects of the Kentucky Artisan
Heritage Trails program, has turned her attentions to the Hoosier state
to lead the development of the trail. Indiana artisans and retailers
along the Byway could soon benefit from driving trails, an online directory,
wholesaling and hospitality workshops, a branded and juried program
and a permanent gallery.
The Byway committee received a state Quality of Place Initiative grant
to conduct a feasibility study for an artisan trail and contracted Werking
and Werking Communities Inc. to conduct a six-month analysis of the
retailers and artisans in southern Indiana. The 21 Indiana counties
covered include all counties on the Ohio River as well as those bordering
these counties to the north.
In early December, about 25 people crowded into the basement of the
Division Street Schoolhouse in New Albany, Ind., for Werkings
final results and recommendations. The audience consisted of tourism
and public officials from communities along the byway.
Next, the committee will use Werkings report to apply for a Federal
Highway Administration grant to proceed with the project. If successful,
development could begin this year.
Werkings report contains survey statistics, a project description,
participation requirements and descriptions of key communities. Werking
also included a list of comparable programs in other states and made
recommendations for organizing the project. She tentatively selected
the name By Hoosier Hands for the program.
The name highlights the personal, handmade nature of the products
well be dealing with and specifically refers to Indiana,
Artisans include craftspeople, fine artists, winemakers, cheese makers
and gourmet or specialty food makers. Retail outlets surveyed include
gift stores, galleries, state park gift shops and other shops engaged
in the sale of handmade crafts, arts or specialty foods. Werking sent
out more than 500 surveys, 199 of which were completed and returned.
Werkings project description outlines the project in two phases.
Phase 1 calls for the creation of an artisan and retail outlet directory.
Eventually, the directory will be available online and in hard copy,
and will include all artisans and retailers in the region regardless
of whether they participate in the program.
Werking and her associates will use this database to map and describe
a series of driving trails. To be listed on the driving trails, businesses
must agree to requirements regarding signage, business hours and program
The trails will be divided into four loops. Loop 1 includes New Harmony,
Mt. Vernon and Evansville; Loop 2 includes Corydon, French Lick, Paoli
and Jasper; Loop 3 includes Clarksville, Jeffersonville, Charlestown,
Starlight, and Scottsburg; and Loop 4 includes Batesville, Milan, Madison,
Vevay and Rising Sun. Showcase Communities, chosen for their
existing artisans, retailers and tourism infrastructures, will anchor
each loop. In addition to Madison, the selected towns include New Harmony,
French Lick, Batesville, Corydon and Rising Sun.
The Showcase Communities were selected based on their existing
conditions. Madison has a number of active artisans and retailers as
well as a healthy tourism infrastructure, Werking said.
Linda Lytle, executive director of the Madison Area Convention and Visitors
Bureau, explained that Madison will have a special role as a Showcase
Community. Were looking into the possibility of having a
permanent display space somewhere in town, Lytle said.
Back to January 2006