From November 3, 2023 to January 12, 2024, Arthurdale Heritage, Inc. will present their new temporary exhibit, Interwoven: The Fiber Arts Legacy of Arthurdale. This exhibition showcases the exceptional textiles created by Arthurdale homesteaders as well as fiber artists in the region today.
Located in rural north central West Virginia, Arthurdale was the nation’s first New Deal community. This experimental subsistence homestead community was the first of 99 across the country, created through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legislation during the Great Depression. The first families moved into the new community of Arthurdale, West Virginia in 1934. Eleanor Roosevelt was deeply involved in its planning and construction, visiting Arthurdale more than 30 times during her husband’s presidency. The Homesteader families worked as self-sufficient farmers as well as manufacturing furniture, metalwork, and textiles. Following World War II, the federal government liquidated its homestead holdings, and Arthurdale became privately owned.
Textiles played an important role in how the women of Arthurdale could contribute to the household income. A Weaving Room was built, allowing women to gather and learn from each other as they produced rag rugs, household linens, and even clothing for personal use and commercial sale. Arthurdale also boasts several Master Weavers, including Dorothy Mayor Thompson, who would win the National Heritage Fellowship Award in 2000.
Funding for this exhibition is provided by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through the Central Appalachia Living Traditions program.
Image: Invitation graphic for Interwoven: The Fiber Arts Legacy of Arthurdale