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Governor Terry McAuliffe has proclaimed October as Virginia Artisan Month, a time to showcase the culture of the Virginia artisan and appreciate their unique works and distinctive way of life. Conveniently, October is also the Bedford Artisan Trail’s anniversary, marking two years as a designated Artisan Trail community by the Artisan’s Center of Virginia.
Artisans in Virginia play a key role in economic development. The Virginia Tourism Corporation recently released a Virginia Artisan Economic Impact study that showed a total economic impact of the artisan industry in Virginia for 2014 as $572.2 million, which provided $15.6 million in state tax revenue. The impact made by artisan visitor spending also accounted for nearly 12,000 full-time jobs.
To an extent, this impact can be seen in our own community thanks to the Bedford Artisan Trail’s increased promotion of events and the increased foot-traffic to our artisan’s studios. Bedford County saw a 4.8% increase in local sales tax, a 4.7% increase in meals tax, and 25% increase in occupancy tax from fiscal year 2014-2015 to fiscal year 2015-2016. The Bedford Artisan Trail has also done an excellent job supporting the trail community, with a newly released video seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JuCG3mAf2c .
“We like that it [the artisan trail] brings tourism to Bedford,” stated Linda Benton from the Historic Avenel. “It gives us a public eye for people to find out more about the area and events taking place here.”
Virginia Artisan month will kick off its first week with American Craft Week, a well-established and nationally recognized event celebrating the tradition of American crafts in artists’ studios, galleries, museums, schools, festivals and more. With over 85 unique stops throughout the County, the Bedford Artisan Trail was listed as one of America Craft Week’s Top 10 Craft Towns to visit.
For more information on the Bedford Artisan Trail, visit http://www.artisanscenterofvirginia.org/index.php/home/artisan_trail/C15.