Gearing Up for ArtSpring

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It is hard to believe that May is almost done and we are gearing up for the 8th annual ArtSpring Festival. Though it is one of the busiest weekends in Thomas, we can't help but be incredibly excited for the time that brings together the entire community. It is going to be a weekend full of live music, celebrating local artists, hands-on activities, and so much more. The galleries will be featuring shows from new artists, the Opera House will be full of music and a silent auction, and amazing food will be served up all weekend, and so much more. Be sure to check out the ArtSpring website for an entire schedule of events and so much more. It is going to be a weekend to remember!  

A Lasting Impact on Front Street

On Thursday, May 3, we were lucky to be blessed with the return of a very influential former Thomas resident. E Reid Gilbert is a creative individual- a playwright, author, mime, and a laundry list of other things who has lived an interesting life. When he called Thomas home for a spell he helped bring the arts to Front Street. As the owner of the Valley Ridge Theatre, which was once located in the building that Creature resides, he provided summers full of laughs and high spirits. With the release of his most recent book, “Stories Tell What Can’t Be Told” which tells tales of his time in Thomas and Tucker County, he made a triumphant return to Front Street to share some of his favorite memories. People who personally worked alongside Gilbert during his time in Thomas and the ones who have since been welcomed to Front Street with open arms filled Tip Top to hear from someone who had once played such a major role in our community. As community members come and go in Thomas, we are lucky to reap the rewards of their legacy! We cannot thank E Reid Gilbert enough for all he had done for our community and the stories that kept us smiling all night! Be sure to check out his most and see if you were part of any of the stories!

A Return to Thomas

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Mark your calendar, on Thursday, May 3, 2018 former Thomas resident E Reid Gilbert will be at Tip Top discussing his new book, "Stories Tell What Can’t Be Told." During his time living in Thomas, he became one of the original members of New Historic Thomas as well as one of the founders of the Thomas Education Center. He was the former owner of the DiBenedetto building (now known as Creature) which housed the Valley Ridge Theatre. As a Thomas citizen he was a strong advocate for bringing the arts to the community and helped with the beginning of the revitalization of Front Street. As a successful author, mime, and curator he was an asset to the Thomas community. Every year during his time living in Thomas the Valley Ridge Theatre put on a wide variety of plays in town. He is making his return to Front Street on May 3 to talk about his new book which is a collection of stories about his time in Tucker count and his memory of the Valley Ridge Theatre. Be sure to head down to Tip Top on Thursday to say hello to Gilbert, thank him for his dedication to the revitalization of Thomas, and listen to his tales of Tucker County from long ago. We are thankful for the work he did to make Thomas what it is today. Whether you call Thomas home for a short spell or a long time, the community members here are ones that are passionate about their home and will do whatever it takes to create a successful town. We are lucky to have had someone like Gilbert as a community member who brought something unique to our town and is able to tell his stories in a creative way. 

Thomas Celebration

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We are lucky in Thomas to be surrounded by a community who want to support one another at the drop of the hat. At New Historic Thomas, we are so glad to have a support system in this town that allows us to accomplish all that we do. It is a team effort, one of which should be celebrated more often. On April 26th, we did just that. Filling Cottrill’s Opera House with delicious food from Farm Up Truck, amazing beer from our local breweries, and our community that at times can feel like a family to celebrate us. We wanted the

opportunity to show the community what New Historic Thomas has been up to over the last few years. It was a time for us to come together in a casual fashion as opposed to the formal meeting. We wanted to showcase the grants we’ve been awarded, celebrate the amazing public art pieces done by Nellie Rose and Nathan Baker, and our hopes for the future.

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As we all crowded into the Opera House people wrote what they were thankful for in this community. They were able to look back on all of the work we have put in over the years, and more importantly bring everyone together for one much needed party. It is our hope that we can continue to celebrate our amazing town every day. We want to thank ArtSpring for not only partnering with us to make the public art a possibility and for opening up the Opera House for the party. We want to thank Mayor Matt Quattro for his constant dedication to Thomas. We want to thank YOU all! Without this community we would not be able accomplish half of the things we have in this town. Finally, we need to thank Emily Wilson-Hauger, our fearless leader at New Historic Thomas. She has worked tirelessly throughout the years to help Thomas become all that it is today. We are grateful and lucky to be surrounded by people who love and support this town in more ways than they realize. Thanks to everyone who showed up to make this event as fun as possible! 

People of Thomas: Christine Kozan

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Christine Kozan moved to Thomas in 2004 two weeks out of college to work for the Aldridge Academy. She assumed she would stay in the area for a transitional period working for this wilderness therapy program and then move on to the next spot. She soon found herself a tribe of friends that made her feel completely at home. She has found it to be incredibly easy  living in Thomas. The good vibe bubble this mountain town provides made the decision to stay indefinitely much easier. When she  first moved to town it was before Front Street was full of the wide variety of businesses that it boasts today. She was able to see the artists and business owners slowly begin to trickle in and the growth of the town we have today begin authentically. Falling in love with Thomas and the surrounding area Christine wanted to become more involved. She wanted the opportunity to better her community, and along with a group of friends they started to plan simple beautification projects. Mayor Matt Quattro caught wind of these projects, and suggested they revive the non profit New Historic Thomas organization. They were able to complete small projects to beautify the downtown like getting picnic tables donated down on the riverfront, flower arrangements on Front Street, and other simple projects that made Thomas a beautiful place to live. She has since been involved in a wide variety of projects throughout the town and has been an incredible asset to Thomas. Throughout her 14 years in Thomas she has been able to put her hands in a wide variety of projects and jobs. After working for the Aldridge Academy for four years, she began to do work in windmill biology research at the various wind power sites in the area. Crediting being in the right place at the right time she was able to get this position all while waitressing at the Flying Pig one summer. Christine was able to work full time  for three years basically hiking in the area for this research company. It was something that has remained one of her favorite positions during her time in Thomas. 

Thomas is a place where each day provides something different. Christine has said one of the benefits  of living in this community is that if one day she wants to be incredibly social she can head down to any of the shops and find someone she knows. And if she wants quiet she is able to explore all of the nature that Tucker County has to offer. She loves being able to live so close to town, but still be able to find the solitude that is sometimes needed. Christine, like most people came to Thomas expecting to only live here for a short period of time, but fell in love with the area and never left. She has been able to create a life of which she is happy and proud. Christine has been able to see the community grow in ways that she never would have expected when she originally came to this small town. She has been able to find a group of individuals that became family. The kind of people who would choreograph an elaborate dance to support a friend’s new business. One of whom is Nathan Baker, who just celebrated their ten year anniversary by way of a cross country road trip. She has found a place that she is passionate about supporting because it has become her home. She is a person that has done a lot work for our community behind the scenes. She is the person that will always be there to help out her neighbors and people who are in need. She has impacted the community in more ways than she has realized and has truly helped Thomas become the place it is today. We are thankful for all that she continues to do in the community whether it be helping with revitalization efforts or offering a smile walking down Front Street. Thomas would not be the same without Christine Kozan.

What's Happening in Thomas- May 2018

Meetings:

5/14: Thomas/Davis Planning Commission Meeting- 6pm @ TEC

Local Music/Events:

5/3: E Reid Gilbert- 6pm @ Tip Top

5/4: Keller Williams - 9pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/5: A Different Thread - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/5: Gun Hill Royals - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/6: A Different Thread - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/6: Douglas Falls (final show) - 6pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/8: Open Mic w/ Emay - 8pm @ Purple Fiddle 

5/9: Bella's Bartok- 8pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/12: Jeff Smith - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/12: The Woodshedders - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/13: Jeff Smith - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/17: The Matchsellers- 8pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/18: Radiator King- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/19: Thomas Community Clean Up- 12pm @ City Hall

5/19: Eddy Marshall Duo- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/19: Zach Deputy- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/20: Eddy Marshall Duo- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/24: Skunk Ruckus- 8pm @ Purple Fiddle 

5/25: Strung Like a Horse- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/26: Jason Ring- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/26: Driftwood- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/27: Jason Ring- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/27: Triptych- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/28: Jason Ring- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

5/31: Amy Black Duo- 8pm @ Purple Fiddle

Regular Happenings:

Morning Monday Yoga with Mountain Yoga- 9am @ Allegheny Holistic

Mindful Monday Early Evening with Mountain Yoga- 5:30pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Monday Evening Ying with Mountain Yoga- 7pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Monday Burger Night @ Country Roads 

Tuesday Yoga with Kelly- 9am@ Allegheny Holistic

Tuesday Taco Night @ Country Roads

Wednesday Community Yoga with Mountain Yoga- 6pm @ Blackwater Falls Lodge

Wednesday Women's Drink Special @ Country Roads

Thursday Chef's Specials @ Country Roads

Friday Happy Hour Yoga with Mountain Yoga- 5pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Friday Burger Night- 6pm @ Tip Top

Friday Dinner- 5pm @ Front St Grocers

Friday Seafood Night @ Country Roads

Saturday Dinner -5pm @ Front St Grocers

Saturday Dinner- Farm Up Truck @ Tip Top

Sunday Brunch- 11am @ Front St Grocers

Sunday Brunch- Farm Up Truck @ Tip Top 

What's Happening in Thomas- April 2018

Meetings:

4/9: Thomas/Davis Planning Commission Meeting- 6pm @ TEC

Live Music/Local Happenings:

4/1: Jordan Kirk- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/6: Ona- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/7: Stephen Simmons- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/7: Gangstagrass- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/8: Stephen Simmons- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/10: Open Mic- 8pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/13: Dangermuffin- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/14: Steve Hung- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/14: Mountain Heart- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/15: Steve Hung- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/20: TCHS Senior Art Show- 6pm @ The Opera House

4/20: ArtSpring Benefit- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/21: Austin Miller- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/21: Black Masala- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/22: Austin Miller- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/26: Thomas Celebration- 6:30pm @ The Opera House

4/26: Lexi Weege- 8pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/27: Grayson Capps with Corky Hughes- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/28: Tough Old Birds- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/28: The Way Down Wanderers- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

4/29: Tough Old Birds- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

Regular Happenings:

Morning Monday Yoga with Mountain Yoga- 9am @ Allegheny Holistic

Mindful Monday Early Evening with Mountain Yoga- 5:30pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Monday Evening Ying with Mountain Yoga- 7pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Tuesday Yoga with Kelly- 5:15 @ Allegheny Holistic

Wednesday Community Yoga with Mountain Yoga- 6pm @ Blackwater Falls Lodge

Friday Happy Hour Yoga with Mountain Yoga- 5pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Friday Burger Night- 6pm @ Tip Top

Friday Dinner- 5pm @ Front St Grocers

Saturday Dinner -5pm @ Front St Grocers

Sunday Brunch- 11am @ Front St Grocers

ArtSpring Silent Auction

by Natalia Dutt, AmeriCorps Member

As spring is on the horizon it means it is almost time for the yearly ArtSpring festival. It is a time when Thomas and Davis pull out all of the stops to support the local artists. For the people who attend this full weekend they are able to find live music, works from local artisans, and a community that truly supports one another. For the people behind the scenes it is a weekend that takes months of planning. The board behind ArtSpring work tirelessly to make sure this event goes off without a hitch. This past month, they hosted their annual silent auction at White Grass, raising funds to support the upcoming weekend. The attendants were able to enjoy an amazing dinner provided by the White Grass staff, a silent auction featuring items from a wide variety of local businesses, and the great company of a community that is here to support one another. Though this event took place on a snowy evening, it was a night full of fun and showing support for an organization that plays such a big role in the Thomas community. According Alexa White, the AmeriCorps serving with ArtSpring, “they were able to reach their goal of nearly $3,000.” The money raised from the silent auction as well as the tickets sold for the event will most likely go towards the funding of the live music throughout the weekend. “we know how talented our local musicians are and it’s really rewarding to know that the money raised will go almost directly back to them,” said White. 

Though the best is yet to come with this weekend festival, the White Grass fundraiser was the perfect event to get everyone excited for Memorial Day. Be sure to follow ArtSpring on Facebook and Instagram for all of the important event updates. 

People of Thomas: Cade Archuleta

by Natalia Dutt, AmeriCorps Member

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On any given day walking down Front Street, the smell of amazing coffee and a killer soundtrack comes spilling out of Tip Top Coffee: a place that seems to have always been part of this community. Cade Archuleta, the brains behind the operation has been able to create a place that seems timeless, but it took a few years and some serendipitous acts of the universe to bring this beloved coffee shop to Thomas. Cade found his way to Thomas the way many others do: unexpectedly. Having traveled all around the country and world after graduating high school, a friend of his ended up moving to Thomas and encouraged Cade to join. It was shortly after this he met his wife Carrie at an Avett Brother's concert and with that Thomas became his home. Though he continued to travel for work, when Carrie became pregnant he decided he wanted to stay in Thomas full time. He began working in a coffee shop in Davis and started to learn the ins and outs of running a business such as this. When the owner decided to relocate, Cade and Carrie decided it was time to take on the venture of business owners for themselves. Having an already established shop, it was easy for them to begin running it, but they were able to see ways to make it even better. Having started what are now the famed Friday Burger Nights, by just grilling out in the summer and inviting friends over to the shop after hours, he saw the potential to bring this business to Thomas and establish something even more successful. Having noticed the empty space that is now Tip Top, he and Carrie thought this would be the perfect spot to take on this venture. With the possibility of a huge kitchen for burger night, a bar, space to create some killer coffee the thought of making their own coffee shop began to come to fruition. Growing up on the east coast, Cade had always hung out around coffee shops “pretending to be Jack Kerouac” as he puts it. He wanted to bring that vibe to the small mountain town of Thomas. He wanted to provide a space that people can feel at home. Having been part of the Thomas community for around 10 years, he has seen first hand the revitalization of the town. Having come here with only the Purple Fiddle, Flying Pig, and the antique shops inhabiting the main street, he was able to see how the teamwork of the community and local business owners to create a thriving home was truly working.

Cade attributes a lot of the success in creating the atmosphere that you find in Tip Top to the other local business owners on Front Street. It was a huge team effort to get the space ready, with Nathan (of White Room) building a lot of the beams and booths, while Seth (of Creature) spent many a late night with Cade and Carrie talking about the possibilities that Tip Top could bring once opened in Thomas. When the doors opened seven years ago they had a clear vision about what they wanted. More often than not you will see his son Oliver behind the counter helping out his parents in the best way he knows how, so Tip Top has always been a place where kids are welcome. They wanted to create a place where the locals can feel at home, and a place where tourists will feel just as welcome. When people visit Tip Top they can expect only the best products. Cade has made it his mission to only carry things that he believes in and are still benefiting small companies- talking personally to the owners of the products he buys for Tip Top, he provides nothing but the best. This could be why Tip Top was just named best coffee in West Virginia by Food and Wine Magazine. Though many people called him crazy for bringing a business to Thomas way before it was the thriving town that it is today, he knew he would create something that would be successful. He and his wife have created a place where the employees have fun, locals can feel right at home, and kids can be unapologetically themselves. Thomas is lucky to call Cade and Carrie members of its community. 

Tiny Llama

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by Natalia Dutt, AmeriCorps Member

photo by: John Ryan

photo by: John Ryan

Living in Thomas we are lucky to be surrounded by a wide variety of creative souls. Individuals who thrive bringing the arts to a community waiting with open arms. Though we do have quite a few artists in our town, there tends to be a lack of supplies available to those wishing to create without having to drive down the mountain. Enter in Tiny Llama, a new business that will be making their debut on Front Street Memorial Day weekend. Cara Parrish, the brains behind the operation, wants the opportunity to bring accessibility to art supplies in Thomas. She believes that creativity is an important part in developing a cohesive community, and having art supplies at the ready will help propel this avenue of expression. Tiny Llama is starting off small by having a space in Lamplight Gallery which will allow her to see what works in this business. She will be providing a mix of new as well as used art supplies received from donations. With a donation box set up at the Opera House she is hoping people will go through their art closets and get rid of the supplies that still have use, but have been collecting dusts for years after the project was completed. 

She hopes with better access to art supplies and grouping them in a way that makes sense will not only benefit the current artists but also inspire “regular” people to let go of their fears and create. Having taken a wide variety of career paths, Cara is excited to finally work for herself and have a business that will provide something a little different to the people in the area. Though this has been an idea swirling around in her mind for years, it wasn’t until she came in second in a pitch writing contest that she realized this it is something that could work. Taking the leap into owning your own business is always slightly nerve-racking, but Tiny Llama is worth the risk. Having already received some donations to the shop she is eager to see what develops. One of the main experiments in the early days of the business is to see if the customers respond well to the availability of the used products or if she should maintain more new products. It is exciting to see members  of the community doing work that will leave a positive mark for the rest of us. Be sure to check through all of your art or office supplies that you no longer need and bring them down to the Cottrill’s Opera House Tuesdays through Fridays 11-5 to ensure they find a new home! Everyone can be a part of the next art movement in Thomas ! Be on the lookout for more information regarding the opening of this phenomenal business, that in fact has nothing to do with a tiny dancing llama. Check out https://www.tinyllama.org/ for any questions!