PRESS RELEASE: ‘Round the Mountain Student Membership Announced, Special Exhibit Featured at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace

November 5, 2019


Contact: Jenna Wagner
PR & Marketing Director
Friends of Southwest Virginia
Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation
(276) 492-2400



ABINGDON, VA – ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network (RTM) is celebrating the launch of its new student membership, a free membership level available to all high school and college students living and/or studying in the 19-county, four city region of Southwest Virginia, with a special exhibit at the SWVA Cultural Center & Marketplace.

The student membership is an important first step in starting a partnership with the budding artists and artisans in our region. Students will be connected to the largest artisan community in the region as well as have access to a number of resources that will keep them up-to-date on workshops, apprenticeships, showcasing opportunities and more.

“We have thousands of high school and college artists across the region who are creating incredible art on the caliber of the long-time adult artists and crafters of the region,” said Chris Cannon, Executive Director of Friends of Southwest Virginia and RTM. “This is a unique opportunity to connect these students with the professional community who have already been passing their craft down for decades and have a passion for seeing it carried on.” 

You can find more information on ‘Round the Mountain here. To apply to join as a student member visit

In celebration of this new membership opportunity, high school students of Grundy’s Mountain Mission School have curated a beautiful display of the Autumn scenery in #SWVA. Since 1921, Mountain Mission School has stood as a refuge, resource and relief for children around the world in need by providing residential care and educational opportunities. 

The exhibit will be on display at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace through the end of November. The Center (formerly Heartwood) is located at 1 Heartwood Circle, Abingdon, Virginia just off I-81 Exit 14. 

‘Round the Mountain promotes sustainable economic development of the region’s communities by assisting local artisans with marketing, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities. 

For more information on the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace visit


For more information, please contact Jenna Wagner with Friends of Southwest Virginia (276-492-2400). For more information and to stay up-to-date, subscribe to the Friends of Southwest Virginia Partner Newsletter and “Like” Friends of Southwest Virginia on Facebook.

About the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace:
Your welcome mat to this vibrant region, the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace {formerly Heartwood} is a 29,000 square foot center that introduces Southwest Virginia (SWVA) to the world and serves as a visitor center, retail center for local crafts, music venue and community space. 

  • Discover our marketplace: a soaring space retailing the art and craft of over 180 artisans from Southwest Virginia who have been juried by fellow artisans. From traditional pottery and quilting to modern paintings and glasswork, you’ll learn the stories of our traditional art and explore over 5,000 pieces for sale. Two spaces feature rotating exhibits that showcase the best of Southwest Virginia’s masterpiece artisan network. 
  • Explore our visitor center: from a centerpiece hand carved wooden map weaving the stories of 19 counties and four cities, you’ll discover the hidden backroads and undiscovered treasures of Appalachia waiting to welcome you warmly. 
  • Indulge in our cafe: Sourcing 90% of all products from the region, the SWVA Cafe and Mountain Brew Bar serves up homemade fare representative of the region. Take a break a sip on over 25 different award-winning regional wines and beers. 
  • Listen to the sounds of a region: Experience the birthplace of American Country music at the headquarters of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Daily, you can view over 10 videos in our experiential theatre, pick away the day on our traditional porch stage, or learn the stories of music throughout the region through rotating displays. Every Thursday night and several other nights a week, live music takes the center stage and showcases the traditional and mountain music of the region.


About Southwest Virginia:
Tucked in the mountains of Southwest Virginia is a vibrant culture of music, craft and stunning natural beauty. It’s a region of spectacular views and rich natural resources. Time spent in the region adds up to something much more than a simple getaway. A different side of Virginia. And a great place to visit for a week’s vacation – or to make a home for a lifetime. Authentic. Distinctive. Alive.

About the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia:
The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation is the coordinating body for cultural heritage tourism and economic development efforts fostering Southwest Virginia’s creative economy. Through a supporting non-profit, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the combined entities help localities, businesses, individuals, artists, nonprofits and entrepreneurs mobilize and succeed.

A multifaceted plan identifies the cultural and natural assets of the region; coordinates initiatives, organizations and venues engaged in cultural and natural heritage toward more efficient operations for all partner organizations; and develops a comprehensive strategy and capital improvements plan to maximize the impact of state investments in this significant restructuring effort.

Key initiatives include:

  • Branding and marketing Southwest Virginia to the world as a distinct culture and destination
  • Developing and sustaining the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace
  • Expanding outdoor recreation development initiatives and marketing throughout the region
  • Planning and implementation of downtown revitalization throughout the region to instill a high quality of life within our communities and promote them to the world for a broad spectrum of economic development opportunities


Learn More About the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia

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