Promoting the arts

Tourism group seeks grant money
to develop new arts trail

Trail includes seven
southeastern Indiana counties

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(September 2008) – A new artisan project is being developed by a segment of the Ohio River Scenic Byway membership to create an arts trail that will run through seven southeastern Indiana counties, including Jefferson County.
The proposed project, tentatively called the Southeastern Indiana Artisan Project, is comprised of tourism departments from Jefferson, Ripley, Franklin, Jennings, Dearborn, Jackson and Decatur counties. The group has applied for a $10,000 grant from the Indiana Artisan Project to create and promote an artisan trail loop of the Ohio River Scenic Byway, which has been working on its own artisan trail.
Representatives from the seven counties collaborating on the new project had to come up with a match of $15,000 for the grant. In addition to the trail, the money will be used to create a 140-page, four-color paperback book. The book will provide information on each artisan, maps to their locations and will also include information about area candy stores, wineries and other unique culinary products. The grant paperwork is due Oct. 15, and recipients of the grants will be notified in December. There is an 18-month window to complete each project.
“Our new seven-county project is another way for us to help promote our area artisans,” said Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Linda Lytle. “We are working together with the Ohio River Scenic Byways project and the Indiana Artisan Development Project.”
The latter project, the IADP, is a new state program geared to support and promote Hoosier artisans and handmade products. The project is a joint venture between the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Arts Commission. IADP recently unveiled its new logo and is working to sign up artisans throughout the state to participate in its juried arts program. Lytle said there are 200-250 artists already juried into the state program. Another jurying session will take place in October, so interested artisans have time to apply.
The Ohio River Scenic Byways project, meanwhile, was developed several years ago through a Federal Highways Administration grant. The program, which will eventually include the creation of numerous artisan trails throughout the area, has compiled a list of southern Indiana artists that is available on their website.
In its entirety, the Ohio River Scenic Byway is 967 miles long and runs through three states. In Indiana, the Byway extends for 303 miles from Lawrenceburg through Mount Vernon in Posey County on U.S. Hwy. 50 over U.S. Hwys. 56, 62, 66 and Interstate 164.
The Ohio River Scenic Byway is also developing an artisan trail in southern Indiana. In many communities, visitors will be able to see traditional artisans at work or view their product in shops and galleries. The Southeastern Indiana Artisan Project will be a loop off of that trail. A western loop off the trail is being developed in Evansville, Ind., and its surrounding counties.
At this point, Lytle said there are about 30 artists from Jefferson County listed on the Byways “By Hoosier Hands” Artisan database. “We know there are other artisans out there; we hope they apply to be part of this program.”
Area artisans who do apply and are accepted for the new seven-county artisan trail project will be automatically listed in the database for the Ohio River Scenic Byway project. However, if they want to be included on the IADP, they will have to go through the state’s evaluation process.
“We are more than happy to assist any artisans who need help in applying for any of the projects,” said Lytle.
The Indiana counties of Switzerland and Ohio are also part of the Ohio River Scenic Byways project, but they decided to opt out of the loop that will run through the southeastern region. Earlier this year, those counties created the two-county collaborative “Creative Spaces Rural Places Arts Tour.” The arts trail runs through the towns of Rising Sun, Ind., and Vevay, Ind., and the rural areas of both Ohio and Switzerland Counties. Many of the tour stops are sprinkled along the Ohio River Scenic Byway.
“We were certainly thrilled to be asked to take part in the new seven-county project, but we decided to decline because we had already created our own trail,” said Ohio County-Rising Sun Tourism Executive Director Sherry Timms.
Ohio and Switzerland tourism officials have also applied for a $10,000 IADP grant to further develop and promote their project.

• For more information about any of the artisan projects, contact the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at (812) 265-2956 or visit www.visitmadison.org.

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