Area Artisans & Community Leaders Receive State Awards

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The Artisan Center of Virginia presented awards to four members of the local community at the ACV’s statewide conference held in Roanoke August 10-12.

Crozet’s Chuck Pinnell of Pinnell Custom Leather and Janice Arone of Barnswallow Gallery were both awarded Master Artisan Awards for their excellence in both design and craftsmanship and were honored for their total competency and control of their medium.

“Community involvement through education and mentorship additionally defines the role of the Master Artisan,” said Artisan Center Executive Director Sherri Smith.

Pinnell was recognized for his more than 40 years “creating custom leather products of the highest quality and design.”  Smith said that Pinnell is “renowned in equestrian circles for signature chaps and other accoutrements,” and for his line of men’s and women’s accessories.  “Each custom piece is of museum-quality, deserving of the highest distinction within the leather trade worldwide.”

Arone is a true master of her craft,” says Smith.  Her work is “inspired by nature.”  Arone was also recognized for her dedication to inspiring “next-generation artisans,” and her work as a member of the ACV Board of Directors.

Excellence in Leadership awards were presented to Ann Mallek, chair for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, and Maureen Kelley, Nelson County’s director of economic development and tourism.

Smith pointed to Mallek’s work on the Artisan Center of Virginia’s “Monticello Artisan Trail” management team since its inception and called Mallek “a pioneer and advocate for arts and agriculture.  She is a champion for economic vitality and her dedication to enhancing Albemarle’s rural economy, agriculture and tourism in sustainable ways is unwavering.”

Kelley was recognized for “being the first in central Virginia to recognize the potential of ACV’s Artisan Trail Network program as a means for establishing positive, connective change and new opportunities for the cottage businesses in rural Nelson County.” Kelley invited Albemarle County into the trail partnership that resulted in the September 2011 launch of the award-winning “Monticello Artisan Trail,” which currently has 109 participating sites, including 10 in Crozet.  The trail includes artisans, craft related venues, agri-artisan farms, restaurants, lodging and points of interest.