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SEP-OCT 2016

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74 selecttraveler.com S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 Despite its size, the town supports a surprising number of local artists who are experiencing a revival of sorts with new galleries and artisan shops to prove it. Artist Jean Schucker, whose own back door heads into the refuge, recently helped open Red Door Gallery in a creek-side cobblestone shop. The gallery showcases work by more than 60 local artists. "We focus on art from Southwest Oklahoma," Schucker said. "We have a lot of artists who live here in Medicine Park, and several of our artists come from Lawton, our big neighbor." Just down the street is Kathy's Caravan, another cobblestone-and-mortar store, filled to the brim with artisan beads and jewelry. Owner Kathy Freeman is happy to give group tutorials on beading jewelry. Another haunt for local artists is the Branded Bear, which specializes in handmade Native American jewelry, pottery and artifacts from 20 separate tribes, including a few from Oklahoma. A few doors down, groups can gather to watch artist Mary Wunderlich paint cards and stationery in her quaint little shop, Mew and Company. In addition to her work, Wunderlich showcases handmade accessories, prints, children's essentials and home goods from artisans with a fresh, happy style like her own. "Until recently, our local artists were showing only occasionally, but we're rais- ing the level of art appreciation," Schucker said. "It's not so much for business as it is for pleasure." www.medicinepark.com Internationally acclaimed as the Folk Music Capital of the World, Mountain View prides itself on preserving the Ozark Mountain music tradition. In one night, as many as 3,000 string musicians will descend on the courthouse square for an all-night jam session. It's not in the title, but Mountain View equally celebrates folk artisanship and has become a regional hub for craftsmen. The artisan community exists largely because of the Ozark Folk Center, a state park designed to promote mountain music and crafts. Located on a mountain just north of Mountain View, the center hosts a craft village, where artists demonstrate their skills in several work- shops. Blacksmiths, potters, fiber artists, woodworkers, gunsmiths and several other craftsmen encourage groups to crowd around and ask questions while they work. "We have this nucleus of artisans and musicians that has become generational in some cases," said Folk Center superintendent John Morrow. "And we continue to bring folks from outside of the area who settle here because of the culture." Groups could spend a few days at the Folk Center alone, but Morrow suggests they make time to see the thriving downtown artisan community as well. The Arkansas Craft Guild is based in Mountain View, and those artists show off their work in the Arkansas Craft Gallery on Main Street. Several artists who exhibit their work at the gallery have organized one of the most popular rural studio tours in the nation. The Off the Beaten Path tour directs groups to 30 studios scattered in the hills around the valley. In its 15th year, the tour runs every third weekend in September Courtesy Red Door Gallery A College of the Ozarks art student draws outdoors. Red Door Gallery displays work by Oklahoma artists. Courtesy Ozark Folk Center State Park Ozark Folk Center State Park fea- tures numerous traditional crafts. Courtesy College of the Ozarks

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