Appalachian Arts Alliance hosts St. Patrick’s Day Celebration fundraiser

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) – Wednesday, people filled the ArtStation in downtown Hazard for a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration with live music by Jasper Hollow.

“This mountain region is really rich in culture and music and so to see someone believing in, that is a really big thing,” said Lauren Winders of Jasper Hollow.

Live performances have been few and far between for musicians after a year of cancelations. Lauren and Logan Winters of Jasper Hollow said 2020 was going to be a big year for them as they had a full schedule.

“Probably at least $15,000 or $20,000. It was very difficult we got by. We both have regular jobs but our music is what we really enjoy,” said Logan.

Besides a performance in Pigeon Forge two weeks ago, the duo had not done a live performance for months.

“It does throw you off. We had to practice. It was like we haven’t done this in almost half a year or more,” said the duo.

The celebration cost $10 to get in and provided drinks and food. All the money raised is going to the Appalachian Arts Alliance to help them keep the ArtStation going and provide scholarships and discounts to those who cannot afford classes.

“We’re here to better our community, to better the citizens in it and to better the world. That’s what the arts are about and they always have been,” said Tim Deaton, executive director of the Appalachian Arts Alliance.

The ArtStation opened during the pandemic, and Deaton said he was very nervous to open, but involvement significantly exceeded his expectations.

“It goes to show that eastern Kentucky and Appalachia in general is ready for the arts. They’re ready for a different way to survive because we’re all struggling so bad, so why not do something different and try to make the places we live a better place to be,” said Deaton.

Deaton says while they have been successful, there is still a long ways to go but he’s excited for the momentum and people being able to use the arts as a kind of therapy during a tough year.

“In a time where there’s so much uncertainty, so much anxiety and so much stress the arts are an outlet for people,” said Deaton. “People need the arts and they really are excited to be doing something different and to do something that helps them take their mind off of the everyday struggles that we’ve all been facing for a year now.”

Those in attendance were excited to finally hear live music again and socialize after a year of lockdown.

“This is the first time we’ve been out as a group again since then. It’s awesome, it is,” said Alex Hoskins. “It’s an excuse to get everyone out of the house again and get rid of that slight bit of depression I think that we’ve all felt the last year so that’s good.”

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