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Ash Lawn Artisan Store Featuring Works of Virginia Artists - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Ash Lawn Artisan Store Featuring Works of Virginia Artists

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Woodworker Alex Pettigrew Woodworker Alex Pettigrew

The former home of President James Monroe is now dedicating a space in its museum shop to sell the works of Virginia artists.

The Ash Lawn-Highland estate hopes to give homegrown artists greater visibility with visitors from the commonwealth and beyond.

The museum store at the home of President Monroe now features lots of different art. Some of those artists were on hand Sunday during the grand opening. One of the artisans is a woman named Liz James. When James lost her husband, her world was turned upside down

"It seemed to make more sense the importance of family after a situation like that," she said.

She quit her job and decided to start a business - The Happy Tomato - that would bring families together around the dinner table

"I decided to start manufacturing homemade tomato sauce," she said.

James is among several Virginians whose work fills the new artisan's room at Ash Lawn's museum store. The room is dedicated entirely to crafts and products made in Virginia.

"We want people who are coming to Ash Lawn-Highland to visit the home of James Monroe to have an opportunity to take home something from Virginia when they go home," said museum shop manager Caroline Hecmanczuk.

Visitors can take something home like the wreaths created by third generation Virginia artist Sandy Cason, the woodwork of Alex Pettigrew or the mosaics of Frank Steele.

"The people of this area to know that they can come here to find local artists work," Hecmanczuk said.

The Ash Lawn artisan's room offers individual artists a new way to make a living and communicate a message through their works.

"I am sharing my message on the importance of family and sitting down and creating moments," James said.

The store manager hopes the Virginia products available now will sell quickly because she'd like to add more items from new producers to the artisan's room.

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