Since 2015 the New River Gorge Creative Residency has afforded writers and artists the unique opportunity to live and work at Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals in Fayetteville. In past years a singular resident has been chosen but this winter, three creatives have been awarded the residency.

By tripling the number of residency recipients, and by selecting all West Virginia-based creatives, Lafayette Flats co-owners Amy McLaughlin and Shawn Means aim to highlight and celebrate the diverse artistic talent thriving throughout the Mountain State.

The New River Gorge Creative Residency is designed to provide creatives with a beautiful space to develop their skills while devoting uninterrupted time to a particular project.

The winners of this year’s New River Gorge Creative Residency are Matt Browning, Carly Thaw and Kimberly Trathen.

Browning, of South Charleston, is the December resident.

The writer’s first book, “Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia,” is a celebration of the Mountain State’s independent bookstores and will be released in January. Next spring, he will also release a children’s picture book about urban farming titled “Chicks and the City.” For the residency, Browning will develop a new work of fiction about a jaded young gay man who visits his estranged mother’s Appalachian mountain village and becomes enamored by the town’s unusual charm.

Carly Thaw, of Charleston, is the January 2020 resident.

Thaw is an illustrator and writer drawn to our earth’s natural landscapes. She enjoys learning the stories of the people who call those places home: learning how identity is influenced by landscape. For the residency, Thaw will create illustrated essays about growing up in the outdoor community of West Virginia. Themes of independence, personal strength/agency, and grit will flow through the essays which will be accompanied by watercolor and pen illustrations on paper.

Kimberly Trathen of Thomas, is the February 2020 residnet.

Trathen is a contemporary textile artist, as well as the sole operator and designer of Backstitched Design, a small design studio creating vintage-inspired functional and modern bags and accessories from recycled leather coats and second-hand materials. For the residency, Trathen will explore new themes in her work and expand into other textile-based media. She is particularly interested in the concept of mending and the artform of wrapping in the style of textile artist Judith Scott.

A reception for the New River Gorge Creative Residency recipients will take place Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. at The Grove in Fayetteville.

All three creatives will be in attendance to discuss and show their work.

The reception is open to the public.

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