7. Johnson County, Kentucky: Creating the Authentic Appalachian Experience Fiscal Agent: Route 23 Cultural Heritage Network

The goal of this project is to implement a creative placemaking strategy that involves artisan training, product prototyping, and tourism packaging. The Route 23 Cultural Heritage Network will work with Cooperative Extension Services, skilled artisans, and food management experts to train 25 participants in one of six mediums: clay, wood, textiles, paint, glass, and locally sourced foods. Participants will be recruited from Johnson County and Magoffin County.

Over the course of a twelve-week period, participants will develop new products to include in a small catalogue of locally made goods. These products will be marketed through existing local tourism venues and bundled as part of a tourism package experience, including travel to a local tourism destination, a Kentucky Proud meal, overnight accommodations, and opportunities to purchase handmade gifts and other locally made products.

Four tourism packages will be designed with an option to choose from six local products. At least one of the packages will be field tested during the grant period. Systems will be established for ordering the products produced and for training additional artisans as part of the project’s sustainability strategy. Tourism packages will capitalize on the county’s growing tourism and food industries. Training provided to residents will increase their capacity to create marketable products and participate in the local tourism economy.

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