Mission & Vision
The purpose of the Appalachian Artisan Center is to develop the economy of eastern Kentucky through our arts, culture, and heritage.
We are dedicated to supporting artists by helping them create and grow successful businesses. The Center provides assistance to artists in many ways including business plan development, training and continuing education opportunities, studio space, and a venue to sell and exhibit their work.
The Appalachian Artisan Center of Kentucky was established in 1999 as the Kentucky Appalachian Artisans’ Education Foundation. During its growth, AAC has established itself as a robust arts organization and serves as an anchor for the region’s emerging creative economy. The Appalachian Artisan Center continues to represent and serve as a center for learning for area craft artisans.
The Appalachian Artisan was born from a collaborative planning process in Knott County. Our first network was this planning group that eventually morphed into the Hindman Cultural District established by the City in 2009. The Cultural District included Kentucky School of Craft (KSoC) , a part of Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC), AAC, Hindman Settlement School, City of Hindman, Knott County government and LKLP Community Action Council.
The completion of AAC’s Cody Building in late 2016, has had a major impact on the downtown area of Hindman. The renovated hardware store includes Artist Studios, new Exhibit Halls, Rooftop Garden Event Space, Ceramics Studio, 2D Classroom and our Gallery Store.
In 2017, the Appalachian Artisan Center became an ArtPlace site to implement the Culture of Recovery. The Culture of Recovery forges a path forward for those in recovery using art. AAC, with partners Hickory Hill Recovery Center, Perry & Knott County Drug Court and East Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, hosts artisan led workshops, entrepreneurial training sessions, community engagement and awareness events.
AAC entered the world of creative placemaking through the NEA’s Our Town grants. It's first Our Town grant, the Hindman Dulcimer Project, introduced Hindman and the Center to creative placemaking. This Hindman Dulcimer Project (10/2014-10/2016) increased interest in the Luthiery Studio resulted in AAC’s establishment of the Appalachian School of Luthiery. Curriculum development was supported by a NEA Art Works grant (2016-2017). The resulting activity has led to the Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Company, Knott county’s only manufacturing company. The Luthiery and Stringed Instrument Company use local hardwoods and tone woods. The Stringed Instrument Company brings employment for Appalachian School of Luthiery graduates and establishes a micro-manufacturing site in the Kentucky School of Craft building.
AAC’s second Our Town grant, SPARK Knott County, focused on the heritage of blacksmithing. This Project extended ACC’s apprenticeships to other areas of Knott County and provided for public art such as the Mail Horse in downtown Hindman, and Ringing Remembrance in Red Fox. The Kentucky Foundation for Women awarded AAC to increase the participation of women in this metalworking program.
The Appalachian Artisan Center has identified several thousand artists and currently markets for over 330 artist entrepreneurs in 38 different counties. AAC has developed a concentration of artists in Knott and surrounding counties.
We continue this legacy to this day, serving our community and the Appalachian regional arts.