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Appalachian League of Artists harnesses the creative power of local people

By Sarah Hill
Staff Writer

The Appalachian League of Artists held their Grand Opening at Black Barn Produce in River on Saturday, March 21. Members of the league will be selling their artwork at the new location.
The current incarnation of the Appalachian League of Artists began five years ago as a way for like-minded artists to come together to learn, share their craft, and help promote local artwork.
President of the league and owner of Anna Wilson Photography, Anna Wilson said, “The greatest resource we have in eastern Kentucky is our people. We have people who are gifted in all kinds of art, and the gifts of eastern Kentucky are often overlooked.”
June Arrowood of Nippa has been painting since World War II. While her husband was serving with the 13th Armored Division, June began to learn painting. June, who has been with the league since its beginning said that the league offered her “a way to be with other people who were doing the same things I was.”
Myrna Clark began her work as an artist 25 years ago with the Johnson County Homemakers. “They had art workshops and I just loved it,” she said. Myrna works as a painter and quilter and creates painted glassware, aprons, and landscape paintings.
Florence “Flo” Newman, who has been sewing since the age of 16, estimates that she has made about 1,000 purses over the last 20 years. She also works as a jewelry maker, crafting earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. The league offers Flo “a way to meet a diverse group of artists.”
Cindi Hughes is a doll maker who works on “a little bit of everything.” Cindi said the league has helped her increase her entrepreneurial skills by helping her “gain a sense of the business end of things and marketing.” Cindi recently retired from her work as a teacher in the Floyd County School System and has found more time to devote to her artwork. Cindi can make reversible, cloth baskets, wreaths, and custom-made dolls.
Barbara Curtis creates embroidered gift cards and says the league is a way “to keep the traditions of the mountain going. There is so much talent in the mountains and we want to keep it alive.” Each of Barbara’s cards are hand-sewn and take approximately 45 minutes to an hour to make. The cards are blank inside and ready for any occasion or they can be placed in a 5x7 frame as stand alone works of art.
President Anna Wilson said, “People need places to sell and promote their work. It would be wonderful to have an art market here like there are in larger cities. We’d love to see tourism become more involved in promoting the local arts.”
The Appalachian League of Artists encourages new members. At present, they are looking particularly for basketweavers and ceramics/pottery workers. Members must be show their work to current members in order to be juried into the league.
For more information on the league, contact Anna Wilson at (606) 264-5199.


Area Briefs
Medicare questions?
- The Big Sandy Area Development District (Big Sandy ADD) is offering assistance to those with questions about Medicare plans. Help is available for Medicare LIS applications, Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Savings Programs, and more. Call 606-886-2374 or 1-800-737-2723, or visit the Big Sandy ADD office at 110 Resource Court, Prestonsburg, Mon. thru Fri., from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Foster Parent Orientation
- Interested in becoming a foster parent? Learn how! Benchmark Family Services will conduct foster parent orientation classes daily. Classes are free. Those interested may call 606-886-0163 to schedule an appointment. Benchmark Family Services is located at 91 Oak Ridge Court, in Prestonsburg. Open your heart and home to a child in need today!

Seeking volunteers
- The Big Sandy Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is seeking volunteers to serve as certified ombudsman volunteers. An ombudsman is an advocate for residents of nursing homes, personal care homes, and family care homes. Ombudsmen also provide information and resolve complaints on behalf of residents. Those who are interested in being involved in improving the quality of care and life of residents of long-term care facilities or would like more information may contact Jaime Welch at 1-800-737-2723, extension 335, or send an e-mail to Jaime.Welch@bigsandy.org. 

‘Sweet Dreams’ Story Hour
- The Johnson County Public Library is hosting a 7-week Spring Story Hour, “Sweet Dreams.” Weekly sessions will include reading children’s literature related to the theme “Sweet Dreams,” social interaction, art activities, and a take-home newsletter. Day and evening sessions will be available. Lapsit for babies meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. Toddler Time meets at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays. Story Hour for all ages meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11 a.m. on Wednesdays. Preregistration is requested to ensure enough materials for all participants. For more information, or to register, please call 789-4355.  

March 28:
- “Walk with Jesus — an Easter event for Families” will take place on Sat., March 28, at 5 p.m., at the Paintsville Recreation Center. Refreshments provided. All ages welcome.

March 29:
- Don Pinson, from Heritage Ministries of Kentucky, will be the guest speaker at the Highland Church of Christ on Sunday, March 29 and Wednesday, April 1. If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Yates at (606) 789-6433.

March 30:
- Black History Month presentation, Monday, March 30, 1:50 p.m., in the McCall Art Gallery on the BSCTC-Prestonsburg campus. Bianca Spriggs, an Affrilachian poet will present. Event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Judy K. Howell at (606) 889-4750 or email to: judy.howell@kctcs.edu.

April 3:
- A Domestic Violence support group will meet at the Johnson County Public Library on Friday, April 3, at 1 p.m. For those who have been subjected to any form of domestic violence; whether it be physical, verbal, mental, or emotional. Please, come join our group.

April 9:
- “Art for the Heart — Expressions of Grief,” a workshop series to promote healing. No art experience needed to engage in creative process. Workshop is free to all. Thursday, April 9, at 6 p.m., at the Floyd County Extension Office. Call 886-2668 by March 30 to pre-register.
 
April 11:
- “Run with Courage” 8th Annual 5K Run/1 Mile Walk to benefit Judi’s Place for Kids will take place on Sat., April 11, at 9 a.m., at the East Kentucky Expo Center. Online registration and more information at www.JudisPlace.org; or call 606-437-7447. Dress like a superhero for our “Superhero” theme!

May 2:
“Casting for Kids” Open Bass Tournament will be held 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Paintsville Lake Marina, presented by the Big Sandy Shrine Club. First place wins $10,000, other prizes up for grabs! Field limited to 125 boats; $200 entry fee per boat. For more information, call (606) 793-2894.


2015 Penguin Plunge



Johnson County extension council hosts International Day
Sharon Castle, standing, read some notes of importance at the Family and Consumer Sciences International Day gathering.


Johnson County Extension Homemakers hosted an International Day program on Friday, Feb. 13, at the Johnson County Extension Office. The program focused on the importance and vital need for clean water for people all over the world. Guest speakers at the event were Richard Meese, of Paintsville Utilities, and Gary McClure, director, Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management.
Additionally, those in attendance were treated to a taste of foods from around the world, including a variety of fruits enjoyed globally.
The program was coordinated by Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent Brenda Cockerham. Cocherham is assisted in her duties by the Johnson County Family and Consumer Sciences Council, a council comprised of community volunteers from various roles and backgrounds within the community.
Emily K. Baldridge serves as staff assistant to Cockerham and for the family and consumer sciences program. To contact either Brenda or Emily, call 789-8108.


Say ‘hello’ to downtown revitalization Main Street hosts Meet ‘n Greet
Main Street Association Director Bonnie Porter welcomed Lynn Schmitt to the downtown Meet ‘n Greet at City Hall.

The Main Street Association hosted a Meet ‘n Greet event on Monday evening, at City Hall. Director Bonnie Porter and board member Jim Gambill welcomed guests to refreshments and finger foods while extending an invitation to others to become involved with the organization and help revitalize downtown Paintsville.



  • City of Paintsville
  • Paintsville Independent Schools
  • Johnson County Schools
  • Our Lady of the Mountains

  • Johnson County Fiscal Court
  • Johnson County Public Library
  • Paintsville Tourism
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • PAINTSVILLE WEATHER
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