‘Round the Mountain began in the fall of 2004 when former Gov. Mark Warner’s Virginia Works Initiative designated funds to develop Southwest Virginia as a major cultural and heritage tourism destination and to begin an artisan and craft advocacy organization. The group received non-profit status in March 2006. Diana Blackburn became the organization’s first executive director.
‘Round the Mountain has focused its efforts to “promote sustainable economic development of the region’s communities by assisting local artisans with marketing, educational, and entrepreneurial opportunities,” to quote our mission statement.
We have reached out to our members through public-private partnerships to provide educational gatherings and round tables, e-commerce and marketing workshops, and one-on-one coaching for RTM members. With the help of our funding partners, we began a craft registry with several types of membership; launched a website, redesigned in 2011; coordinated the development of 15 regional Artisan Trails that span our geographic area; set jurying standards and procedures for sale of craft work, food and wine at Heartwood, our artisan gateway center in Abingdon, and launched a major educational program to communicate the value of our artisans, farmers and craft venues to our communities and our region.