Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman helps to promote local art and local people in recovery

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Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT
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HINDMAN, Ky. (WYMT) - The Appalachian Artisan Center is a facility dedicated to supporting arts that are deeply rooted in Appalachian history all while supporting artists from countless counties across the Commonwealth.

“We’ve lost a lot of the arts in our school system, so this is one way to continue our culture and the development of our heritage,” said Randy Campbell, Executive Director of the Appalachian Artisan Center.

The center is focused on more than just helping Kentuckians sell their art; they are also helping several locals to get back on their feet.

“It’s very comforting to know that you’re being of some help to somebody,” said Paul Williams, Supervisory Luthiery Instructor at the Appalachian School of Luthiery.

The Appalachian Artisan Center’s luthiery school partners with the Knott County Drug Court and Hickory Hill Recovery Center to give recovering addicts an outlet in addition to other opportunities.

“Its what needs to be done. We need a whole lot more of this kind of setup all over the country, not just in Kentucky,” said Williams.

Instructors at the luthiery work with those in recovery to turn wood into something that sings while also providing students the opportunity to work at the local guitar factory if they excel.

“You know, I’ve got guys that I’ve helped train over here two or three years ago and now they’re over at the factory and they’re knocking it out,” said Williams. “I’ve got great hopes for some of these folks.”

Those hopes are extended to students like Jessica Childers, a luthiery student from the Knott County Drug Court who is excited to see where this journey takes her.

“I’m hoping to get this job at the factory out here,” said Childers. “Its a good opportunity that if you apply yourself that’s a great opportunity, I guess. I didn’t even think I was capable of building a guitar.”

The luthiery hosts people from hickory hill and the drug court each week.

Those with the school added it is an honor to help those in recovery create something they can be proud of.

The center also hosts blacksmith classes for anyone interested. Instructors will teach students how to create hatchets, knives, tomahawks and anything else used throughout Appalachian history.

“You know, it just exposes people to things that they may normally never get exposed to,” said blacksmith instructor Dan Estep. “Some will come and do it for a day and sometimes you’ve started somebody on a life path and they will continue to do it.”

The Appalachian Artisan Center will also be hosting kids art camps July 14th and July 28th.

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