Georgia Artisan Center in works for Perry

awoolen@macon.comApril 24, 2013 

WOODY MARSHALL/THE TELEGRAPH — wmarshall@macon.com

PERRY -- Three years ago, William and Ellie Loudermilk took a road trip to Michigan and ended up at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea.

“We said to ourselves, ‘Why can’t we have this?’ ” William Loudermilk said.

After years of planning, there is finally a space where Loudermilk hopes to display some of Georgia’s finest artists at the Georgia Artisan Center.

The Perry Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will house the creations in a 500-square-foot space that used to be filled with chairs.

Both Loudermilk and Perry Area CVB Executive Director Sheila Averett Jones want to bring in the best in a variety of different areas, such as quilting, pottery, woodworking and more.

“The goal is to maintain a level of quality,” said Loudermilk.

Artists will have to go through a selection process and will be reviewed by 10 members of the Georgia Artisan Center task force. The wares will be available to the public, and proceeds will support further expansion.

“This will be a retail space,” Jones said.

With grants from the CVB as well as the city of Perry, the artisan center is still in its planning stages for accepting works from artists.

Prospective artists can submit their work to info@georgiaartisancenter.org.

There will be a website in the future which will have all of the requirements.

“The ultimate goal is to service as many Georgia artisans who produce handmade items as possible,” Loudermilk said.

Along with the retail space, the center will also host workshops and live demonstrations for crafters.

Loudermilk’s vision is to have a free-standing building that will draw hundreds of artists. The center in Kentucky has more than 600 artists and a 20,000-square-foot building that houses the works of art.

In Perry, the team is hoping to have a grand opening in the summer.

“We’re dreaming big,” Loudermilk said.

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