One of the first things we noticed when we moved to Floyd three years ago was the amazing number of creative people who lived in this county. At that time about one out of every ten citizens seemed to be an artist, artisan or musician.
What we didn’t expect was that it would be so easy to join in the creative activity and get seriously involved.
What happens in a supportive environment is that you rehabilitate your innate creativity through instruction and support from professional artists and start creating art as a normal part of everyday life.
As you create more artwork, you begin to develop a style and you start looking for instructors who can help you develop in a particular direction.
The next thing that happens is that people who have been admiring your work want to buy pieces from you or ask you to do a commissioned work. You may still consider yourself an amateur artist, but you have a growing public and the next step is almost inevitable.
You finally realize that you have the ability to generate income from doing something that is deeply satisfying and you are performing a service to others at the same time. The next thing you know, you are painting or sculpting or making jewelry and you are producing income and having the time of your life.
This doesn’t all happen in a vacuum. Some farsighted people set the wheels in motion many years ago when they created the non-profit Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd, VA.
Thanks to the Jacksonville Center and its dedicated staff and instructors, there is a constantly growing number of artists and artisans achieving recognition and even producing income from their artistic endeavors.
The Jacksonville Center has spawned additional groups of artists who produce art on a professional level and teach or provide drawing sessions for aspiring artists.
One of these groups is the Floyd Artists Association which runs the Art Under the Sun Gallery featuring works by local artists and artisans. Art Under the Sun also hosts a First Friday event every month with music and refreshments and an exhibit by a visiting artist.
You will get a warm welcome and may end up being inspired to create something yourself. It happens quite often in Floyd.
Just be careful or you will end up like Don George, who just finished a 14 foot Gothic Revival Banquet Table which was so large that he couldn’t assemble it in his workshop. He did the final assembly at the Jacksonville Center where his table was the talk of the recent Artists Reception.