Jackson County’s Green Energy Park never has an ‘off season,’ but is constantly improving and expanding services to better serve the town of Dillsboro and Western North Carolina.
The aim of the JCGEP is literally turning trash into treasure. This environmentally friendly facility turns methane gas from the town’s old landfill into fuel for local artisans to create their craft. This not only improves the air quality in Jackson County, but also stimulates the economy by helping local artists.
Timm Muth, director of Jackson County Green Energy Park, said artists draw tourists to Dillsboro and, ultimately, help the community thrive.
“We are looking at this from a community standpoint. We want to provide another reason to bring people to the region, because once they get here, they’ll enjoy it and want to come back,” said Muth.
Extensive planning and improvements have been made through the winter months at JCGEP. The park rebuilt the glass shop, allowing for much needed maintenance and repairs. A new Glass Torchworking, Mosaics, and Stained Glass Shop was added, creating a new workspace and providing for additional classes in those areas.
The classes at JCGEP have been successful in the past, allowing students to learn new skills and create their own pieces of art regardless of their current knowledge of the craft.
“The classes give anybody, even beginners, a chance to create art,” said Muth.
There are many ways to get involved with the Green Energy Park. Both private and group classes in glassblowing are offered at the JCGEP facilities, taught by local artisans. Patrons can even rent a glass, pottery or metals studio to practice creating unique art. Festivals and events are also held throughout the year, including the annual Youth Arts Festival every third Saturday in September.
For more information, go to http://www.jcgep.org/about.html
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