About Southwest Virginia
Tucked in the mountains of southwest Virginia is a vibrant culture of music and craft. It’s a region of spectacular views, opportunities for outdoor recreation, and rich natural resources. Rooted deep in history, this culture is authentic. Distinctive. Alive.
We're 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.
Heartwood, a 29,000-square-foot artisan gateway in Abingdon, just off Interstate 81, introduces Southwest Virginia and serves as a sales center for local crafts. We’re also launching this world-class website.
But that’s just the start.
We’re enhancing opportunities for outdoor recreation in our mountains, forests, rivers and lakes – and for appreciation of the incredible diversity of plants and animals that make their home here.
We’re revitalizing our downtowns, with artisan studios, coffee shops, community centers, gift, specialty and antique shops and more. They 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.
The ʼRound the Mountain artisan network helps crafts people build their businesses, learn new skills and share their inspiration. The network publishes 15 artisan trail maps guiding visitors to studios, craft shops,farms, wineries and more throughout the region and maintains a directory of artisans, craft venues and artisanal agriculture and winemaking.
The Crooked Road, Virginia’s heritage music trail, connects eight major sites where our region’s unique music can be heard. Music jams – informal chances to get together and play – happen almost every night of the week and in almost every town and city. And there are festivals, concerts and competitions every weekend in the spring, summer and autumn.
Here in the homeplace of America’s music, we’re teaching our young people to play, sing and dance in classes during and after school and in summer programs – building connections across generations and a lifelong love of this music.
Southwest Virginia. We're authentic. Distinctive. Alive. And a great place to visit for a week's vacation – or to make a home for a lifetime.
Who's behind this effort?
This unprecedented effort to build Southwest Virginia's creative economy is the work of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission, appointed by the General Assembly in 2008. Partners include the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Resources.
Funding partners include the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and Appalachian Regional Commission.