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Abingdon's Heartwood Center is a showcase for region's culture, art and music

December 21st, 2011 4:18 pm by Staff Report

Abingdon's Heartwood Center is a showcase for region's culture, art and music

The Center, which opened in June, is strategically located within the campus of Virginia Highlands Community College.

ABINGDON, Va. - Whether you are looking for that one-of-a-kind special gift or interested in the culture that shaped Southwest Virginia, a drive to the Heartwood Center in Abindgon is worth the trip.


The Center, which opened in June, is strategically located within the campus of Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon. You can’t miss the soaring glass silo and red roof from the Interstate. Formed by a coalition of artisans and economic development groups, Heartwood showcases the region’s cultural, musical and artisan communities.


The Center uses streaming video and touch screens to educate the visitor about the history, life and culture of this region. Wooden display shelves, filled with the work of local artists, line the walls and interior of the Center. All featured artists are members of "Round the Mountain" network, and selected work goes through an extensive juried process before being displayed at Heartwood.


The creative hand-made art includes pottery, woodworking, fiber art, jewelry, stained and blown glass, and musical instruments. The majority of items carry a hefty price tag - but one many might be willing to pay for a gift or signature piece of artwork for the home. The Gift Shop features more affordable items, ranging from traditional music CDs to books by regional authors, plus T-shirts and other Heartwood Center memorabilia.


The almost 30,000 square-foot building features lots of local hardwood and uses natural lighting as the backdrop for the artist’s pieces. Heartwood is laid out in a circle, with the focal point connecting in the middle with open seating and a large, wooden stage for local musical performances.


Inside this circle, you will find a wine and coffee bar serving local wines and coffees. The Café serves up traditional, Southern cooking with flair.


To receive the full experience, allow at least a half day for a trip to the Heartwood Center. The streaming video in each area is extremely well-done and informative. You could spend a couple of hours listening to the history and stories of the region. The large, open dining space is the perfect spot to relax with a nice cup of coffee and a book from the Gift Shop. Make sure to sample the Southern cooking in the café.


Featured artists are on hand during the month to demonstrate their work and musical performances are scheduled on a regular basis. For a complete event listing, visit the website at http://www.heartwoodvirginia.org/ or their Facebook page.


The Heartwood Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 276-492-2400.

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