Route 6 Alliance looking for artisans for trail

The PA Route 6 Alliance is looking for artisans, galleries, food artisans and retail stores specializing in local art to be a part of the 2013-14 PA Route 6 Artisan Trail.

The Alliance, formerly the PA Route 6 Heritage Corporation was established in 2003 to manage the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor, and to implement the Management Action Plan and other planning efforts along the corridor. The Artisan Trail program seeks to preserve cultural heritage along the northern tier and feature art to benefit communities, artists, and tourism.

Each town has a wealth of unique shops and galleries, and many talented people live and create their art along the Pennsylvania Route 6 Heritage Corridor. Here they find natural beauty and materials for the inspiration of their work. Some are creating fine art in studios overlooking mountains and valleys; some are practicing the art forms and traditions of years gone by; but they all call the northern tier of Pennsylvania their home.

Pennsylvania’s Route 6 encompasses eleven counties, stretches over 400 miles across northern Pa and encounters many of the Keystone State’s historic treasures and scenic places.

In Warren County, there are a number of organizations that currently are listed with the Artisan Trail program. They are Local Artist’s Co-Op and Allegheny Artistry, both at 106 East Main Street Youngsville; The Boonies in Warren; Carousel Bed & Breakfast at Ruff Acres; and Main Street Artisans in Sheffield. There are currently 90 businesses across the state listed on the Artisan Trail brochure.

Like many others, the non-profit Main Street Artisans is a cooperative, with participating artists taking turns manning the store. They pay a small monthly fee, and 100 percent of sales goes to the artist producing the work. Bill Simbeck, a photographer who sells at the store said, “On the whole, we don’t do a bad business. (Sales) are picking up after a slow two to two-and-a-half months after Christmas.” He showed the guest book near the front door listing visitors from as far away as Belgium, with listings from San Antonio Texas, Los Angeles California, and closer places like Erie and Sharon. There are currently 12 artists listed on their website. One of them, Marilyn Dunkle, is a juried artisan, meaning that her work has been reviewed by one or more jurys for quality, and accepted.

The Alliance lists reasons why businesses would want to be a part of the Trail. Listings are featured in the 25,000 annually produced copies of the PA Route 6 Artisan Trail brochure, which is distributed to Welcome Centers,Visitor Centers, travel agents, and tour operators, and appear on the Artisan Trail section of the PA Route 6 website. Participants photos will be included in a slide show available on the website and will be download by other members to display at their locations. Members receive a window cling to display their participation in Artisan Trail and will receive exclusive opportunities to participate in promotions through social media networks and to travel writers and discounts on educational programs..

Over the past eight years, more than 200,000 brochures have been distributed, and 50,000 people have used the Artisan Trail section of the PA Route 6 website.

To join the program, download the 2013 portable document file (PDF) expanded membership form at paroute6.com. The deadline for inclusion in the 2013-2014 program is May 15. There are several levels of participation, from an expanded membership to an affiliate membership. Contact the PA Route 6 Office with any questions at 814-435-7706.