If you are looking for a unique experience for your next vacation, why not try a craft-cation at the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts in Marion, VA? The Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts offers an array of hands-on opportunities to learn the traditional music, arts and craft heritage of Southwest Virginia. From drop-in classes, to week-long all-inclusive workshops, The Henderson is a must-see while you’re in Smyth County.
For The Already-Packed Itinerary
If you’ve already planned your Smyth County or SWVA vacation, but can squeeze in one more thing, add The Henderson to your list. The Henderson occupies a historically significant local landmark situated on the highest point in Historic Downtown Marion Virginia; a three-story brick structure known as the “1908 Schoolhouse.” The building has housed a high school, elementary school, a library, the school board, a parole office, and the historical society (to name a few). The building’s history has been well-preserved while being re-purposed.
Tour through the building, and make sure to visit The Gerald Anderson Lutherie, fondly nicknamed “Wayne’s World”. Referring to the school’s namesake, Wayne Henderson, a world renowned guitar instrumentalist and luthier who has become an international ambassador for the music, heritage and culture of the Southern Appalachians. View the stages of guitar making, and see the fully equipped wood shop. While on your tour, make sure to visit the Burke Print Shop to see a working vintage letterpress.
- Self-Guided Audio Tour: Monday thru Saturday 8-5pm
- Guided Tours: Saturdays & Mondays 8-5pm
Bonus: If you’re in town on a Monday night, plan on joining the Monday Night Jam where you can bring your instrument to join in on the picking, or sit back and enjoy listening to the music of the region.
For The Drop-In Class
For those who’d like to do more than tour the building, add a drop-in class to your trip itinerary. Regularly scheduled watercolor classes are typically held on Saturdays from 10-1 and Letterpress Sundays are held from 1-4. If there are no classes scheduled during your trip, The Henderson also offers classes and workshops by appointment for:
- Fiber Arts
- Kid’s Crafts
For The Immersive Experience Vacation
Once you’ve visited The Henderson School of Appalachian Arts, you’ll be dreaming about when you can roll up your sleeves and get crafty. Thankfully, The Henderson offers week-long workshops in pottery, quilt making, fiber making, letterpress, watercolor, fiddle-making, and of course guitar making among many others. These week-long workshops are offered 5 times throughout the year, and include a full breakfast and hearty lunch for attendees. New this year, The Henderson will offer packages to include workshop fees, food AND lodging. Sign up for their newsletter to get first dibs on these opportunities and book a vacation you’ll never forget!
The week-long intensives are offered simultaneously, covering all of the featured areas of artistic focus. If you want to build a guitar from start to finish, but your significant other is more interested in spinning wool or pottery, you can both sign up and participate during the same week. With nearly a dozen types of workshops, there’s bound to be something the whole family can enjoy together.