I’d like to take this chance to introduce to you a project of BridgeValley Community and Technical College that we hope will help you be more successful as a full-time artist. It is our hope that repurposing of the former Engineering Lab building in Montgomery will form a foundation of a more vibrant artist and craftsman community in southern West Virginia. We believe together we can build a synergy to help you be more successful in the arts. We believe that southern West Virginia is an ideal location for artists and craftsman to establish their business.
The Montgomery building offers large spaces for community interaction as well as rental space for private studio space and material storage. These spaces will be available on a 24/7 basis with controlled access as part of your membership fees. As a maker space for artists, we’ll also offer specialized tools for your use. Some of these include:
- Woodworking with a complete shop ranging from table saws, planers to lathes.
- Metalworking with mills, lathes and metal finishing equipment.
- 3D printing capabilities for prototyping designs.
- Screen printing equipment for short run production.
- Other tools will be added based upon the feedback of the community’s needs.
We also understand that to be successful as an artist/craftsman requires several sets of skills. Not only do you need to be creative and skilled in your craft, but you also need to understand how to correctly run your business and market your wares. We intend to offer entrepreneurial classes to help you transition from hobbyist to professional. As an organized course of study, if you desire you can earn an A.A.S. degree and apply for financial aid while enrolled. These courses are designed to help you either be self-employed or work within a small co-operative and remain at home, in West Virginia.
It is our hope in three years to be offering weekend and week-long courses to the general public. These will be taught by regional and nationally known experts in the field. It is hoped this will be a great opportunity to enhance your skills and learn new techniques and processes.
If you see the potential of this project, please take a few moments and send us your comments. Comments will be received through August 1.
We need your ideas as to what equipment and supplies would be most valuable to the community as well as what skills we need to teach.
Eunice M. Bellinger, Ph.D.