May 07, 2008

Artisan trail like Appalachian trail

Proposed Native Artisan Trail seeks to bring unique experience to northern Arizona visitorsThe network of Appalachian artists has grown to more than 2,300 people, Neuman said. "The model for the Native Artisans Trails Network idea was developed and implemented in western North Carolina by HandMade in America," Neuman explained. "In 1997, HandMade's director, Becky Anderson, spearheaded formation of a place-based Craft Heritage Trail Network throughout Appalachia. After the first three years, artisan income on average was up 23 percent for artisans based in studios, and up 28 percent for those based in galleries. Now, over 26 percent of tourists to the region purchase arts and crafts, with more than 11 percent spending $500 or more.

"Because of the Craft Heritage Trails Network's success, similar trails networks have been established in at least 13 other states," Neuman continued.

There were other spin-off benefits as well.

"People were more excited about living in Appalachia," Neuman explained. "Suddenly the youth, who used to grow up and move away, were saying that they wanted to stay."

The idea of a Native artisans' trail has been kicked around for the past couple of years, Neuman said, but in the last six months, interest has peaked. Suddenly people were saying, "We'll put a little in the pot if someone else will."
Comment:  This sounds like an excellent idea. I'd be likely to stop at any location that was officially part of the trail.

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