RD31 - Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation 2020 Regional Impact Annual Report

Executive Summary:

Tucked in the ancient Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia (SWVA) is a vibrant culture of tradition, food, music, and craft. It’s a region of spectacular views, abundant outdoor recreation, and rich natural resources. Rooted deep in history, this culture is authentic… distinctive… alive.

Together with the 19 counties, four cities, and 53 towns of the region, Friends of Southwest Virginia [501(c) (3)] and the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation (State Foundation) are building a sustainable creative economy that preserves, protects, and interprets our rich heritage and natural resources, creates jobs, and welcomes both visitors and new businesses to our region every single day.

CULTURAL HERITAGE: From the route of westward expansion along The Great Road to becoming the cradle of America’s tobacco and coal industries, the region has a vibrant and rich place in American history.

NATURAL RESOURCES: We are enhancing opportunities for outdoor recreation in our mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes, and for the incredible diversity of plants and animals that make SWVA home.

DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT: We are revitalizing our downtowns with artisan studios, coffee shops, community centers, gift, specialty and antique shops, and more. There are cultural centers where people can hear live music, find one-of-a-kind treasures, talk to interesting folks, and get a home-cooked meal.

ARTS AND CRAFTS: An integrated organization, the ’Round the Mountain artisan network, helps craftspeople build their businesses, learn new skills, and share their inspirations. The network promotes and markets artisans, studios, craft shops, farms, wineries, and more throughout the region.

MUSIC: Another key partner and separate 501(c)(3) organization, The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail, connects nine major sites and dozens of affiliate venues where the region’s unique music can be heard.

STORYTELLING: For a long time, Southwest Virginia had gone without a unified brand. Through an extremely detailed branding process, the region is sharing the refreshed brand with the world. As an introduction to it all, the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace {formerly Heartwood}, is a 29,000-square-foot regional gateway to the region for the world and serves as a visitor center, retail center for local crafts, music venue, and community space.

Southwest Virginia: A great place to visit for a week’s vacation – or to make a home for a lifetime.