With the help of local artists and art enthusiasts, the Noble County Convention and Visitors Bureau is spearheading the start of Route 6 – a trail of artisans and significant sites that organizers hope will one day stretch across the Hoosier State.
The convention and visitors bureau began planning the early stages of the Route 6 Artisan Trail last year, Executive Director Sheryl Prentice said.
Eventually, she said, the goal is to expand the trail across the state – following U.S. 6. The first section of the trail will be in DeKalb and Noble counties, according to the convention and visitors bureau.
Indiana Artisan Inc., the group that oversees each Hoosier trail, was created in 2008 by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman as a way to promote Indiana-made goods, share stories of local artists and artisans and provide education and information about local products.
A variety of Indiana trails already exists, including the Art and Earth Trail – that stretches through Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Marshall, Elkhart, Kosciusko, and LaGrange counties – and ArtsRoad 46 along Indiana 46 connecting Columbus, Nashville and Bloomington.
The idea for the Route 6 trail is modeled after a trail in Pennsylvania, Prentice said.
Artists featured along the trail will have their work reviewed by a jury panel of professionals in the statewide arts and food community, according to a statement from the convention and visitors bureau.
The artists and locations featured along the trail could come from trades including fine art, handmade crafts or homemade food such as bread, cookies or cheeses, Prentice said.
The trail also plans to feature significant landmarks, cultural places or heritage sites along the way.
For now, the convention and visitors bureau is focused on gathering applications from interested artists and filing paperwork with Indiana Artisan Inc.
We’re hoping to have something up by 2014, but it all depends on how long it takes to get the proper paperwork filed and places and people identified, Prentice said.
Prentice said she hopes to see the project take off with the public’s support.
There’s a real economic benefit that comes from having (the trail) stop at these places and getting people shopping in the shops, she said.
To learn more about the Route 6 Artisan Trail, the public is invited to an event at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 sponsored by the Noble County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Eric Freeman, director of Indiana Artisan Inc., will share stories of Hoosier artists and discuss artisan trails at County Heritage Winery, 0185 County Road 68, south of LaOtto on Indiana 3.
Freeman, director of Indiana Artisan Inc., will discuss what an Indiana Artisan is and how artisans can apply to join the organization. He will also discuss the development of artisan trails in the Hoosier State.
For reservations or additional information, call the Noble County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 260-599-0060.