Logo for The Future Project.
Logo for The Future Project.

Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org.

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Danville-Pittsylvania group to hold planning session for future growth

The Partnership for Regional Prosperity, an organization focused on how to prepare for the growth coming to Danville and Pittsylvania County, will hold The Big Sort on December 5 at 5:00 p.m. at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.  

The free event is a table-top exercise in which participants will evaluate regional and national trends for their local impact, certainty, and community readiness. Participants will prioritize the trends for the Partnership for Regional Prosperity as it continues to engage the community in a future-forward mindset and collaborative strategy that will prepare citizens, businesses, and government for the change that comes from growth. 

The event is a follow up to a November 14 presentation by futurist Rebecca Ryan, who encouraged attendees to think like futurists and leverage momentum to create the best future for the region. The Big Sort will examine STEEP trends in society, technology, economy, education, and politics.  

There is no charge for The Big Sort but participation is limited to 80 and online registration is required at https://www.dpchamber.org/events/details/id/632/the-big-sort 

Additional Big Sort sessions will be held across the region in early 2023. 

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Roanoke blacksmith wins honor

Jed Curtis. Courtesy of Curtis.
Jed Curtis. Courtesy of Curtis.

Garden & Gun and partner Explore Asheville announced the winners of the magazine’s thirteenth annual Made in the South Awards, celebrating Southern-made products in six categories: Home, Food, Drink, Crafts, Style, and Outdoors.

Roanoke-based Heart & Spade Forge received the honor of first runner-up in the Home category for its carbon-steel cookware.

“To be recognized by peers on the national stage is incredible,” said founder and blacksmith Jed Curtis. “My life’s obsession is metal. Each piece takes around 16 hours of handwork, plus 25 years of experience at the anvil, to create. It’s a privilege to forge heirlooms for families, putting Heart & Spade – and Roanoke – at the center of their traditions.”

Curtis bought his first anvil when he was just 5 years old, building his first shop at 15 and meeting his mentor, New York blacksmith Mitch Fitzgibbons, shortly after. Upon earning his bachelor’s in Chemistry from Roanoke College, Curtis opened his shop in 2016. Since then, his carbon-steel cookware has made its way to kitchens and restaurants all over the world. Heart & Spade has been featured nationally in publications such as Taste of the SouthThe Local Palate and Okra. Curtis has also collaborated with professional chefs to perfect his cooking tools.

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Mongtomery Museum to blend art and psychology

The Montgomery Museum of Art and History is trying something brand new – offering mental health self-help tactics and strategies by using art exhibits, materials, and spaces as helpful tools. This four-part interactive series entitled, “The Art of Happiness,” will focus on aspects of positive psychology and the role that art can play in our general happiness and well-being. This program series will be held at the Montgomery Museum on the third Thursday of each month, December through March from 6:00pm till 7:30pm. The museum will remain open late on these dates to allow participants the opportunity to see all museum exhibits and spaces. Space is limited so early registration is encouraged. 

“The goal of this new program series is to highlight and raise awareness to mental health issues and accessibility while simultaneously offering unique methods and strategies to cope with things like stress, anxiety, and depression,” said Casey Jenkins, Executive Director of the Montgomery Museum in a statement.

The sessions will be led by Shelby Wynn, a registered art therapist and licensed professional counselor within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Carilion Clinic. The first session on December 15 will explore the ability to cope with words; an understanding of thoughts and emotions. The second session on January 19 will feature visual music through abstract drawing. The third session on February 16 will facilitate mindfulness and meditation through sculpting. The final session on March 16 will focus on Zentangles and the ability to practice mindfulness when other coping skills are inaccessible. 

“I am very excited to be partnering with the Montgomery Museum for the next few months. Art is such an integral part of mental health – be it fine art, movement, or music – and it is inspiring to have an organization such as the museum find it important to bridge the gap in mental health awareness,” said Wynn. “I am honored to be a part of something so innovative.” 

All materials will be provided by the museum and no art experience is required. This is not designed to be an outpatient group therapy session, but rather a free community-building self-help experience. For more information on this program series and to register, please visit https://montgomerymuseum.org/arttherapy/