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Heartwood in the Hills Jude Binder receives

Tamarac Foundation master Artist Fellowship


The Tamarack Foundation for the Arts has announced that visual and performing artist Jude Binder has received the organization’s 2017-18 Master Artist Fellowship. Binder’s work was selected from seventeen nominee applications by an independent committee comprised of fellow West Virginia-based master artists and leading national arts experts. Binder will receive a financial award and a year-long national marketing campaign that will illuminate her vast and varied career.

As a master woodcarver, mask maker, painter, graphic artist, dancer, actor and co-founder and Artistic Director of Calhoun County’s own school for the arts Heartwood in the Hills, Binder exemplifies the compelling and multidimensional paths professional artists build to formalize their careers.

Binder’s training and professional career in visual and performing arts spans more than 65 years. She received training from instructors at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia, Pa.); Washington School of Ballet(Washington, DC); School of American Ballet (new York, NY) and with Calhoun County woodworker Roy Geho, among others. She is the recipient of numerous awards in diverse creative disciplines such as filmmaking, performance and wood carving, plus a Governor’s Award for the Arts (WV division of Culture and History) and a Secretary Star Lifetime Achievement Award for Commitment to Education and the Arts (WV Department of Education and the Arts).

Tamarack Foundation for the Arts Executive Director Renee Margocee says, “Jude is a master artist, a supremely gifted performer, and a vibrant contributor to the community. I am thrilled the foundation will be devoting time to putting a spotlight on her illustrious career.”

Beginning on September 9th and continuing through December 9th of this year, Jude will be devoting the majority of her time to directing and teaching classes at Heartwood in the Hills on Broomstick Rd here in Calhoun County.

Jude as the FestivALL Princess.

Photo by Chase Henderson





Jude Binder's Spring Comes Up Tarlatan mask,made of modeling paste, painted and decorated with gold and metal leaf. 1979 woodcarving: Rosewood Mare, handcaraved brazilian Rosewood on an African Padauk base.

Photos by Bill Bailey


Heartwood in the Hills at the Calhoun County Wood Festival - The Folk Dance

amy sticker facing lift

In 1973, Jude Binder moved to Calhoun County, West Virginia with the dream of establishing a school for the arts in the heart of the country. The school she envisioned would provide an under-served rural population with an environment for learning, personal growth, and community building.  Heartwood in the Hills is the realization of Jude's dream.  It provides child and adult students, ages 5 through 75, from at least nine counties with the opportunities and resources to develop cognitive and creative skills, self-confidence, and self-expression through the arts.

In 1982, without any public financial assistance, Jude and Heartwood's co-founder Frank Venezia built Heartwood's first structure and opened Heartwood.  Jude and volunteers ran the school until 1992, when the facility was expanded and three Heartwood students joined her as faculty.  Heartwood also hired three part-time staff people with support from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, the Benedum Foundation, the Ann M. Martin Foundation, and other private groups.  Additional guest artists have taught music, art, theatre, and dance since then.

haley-gallop-Heartwood embodies the ideal that the arts belong to everyone and the artistic gifts in each person deserve nurturing.  Heartwood's mission is to ensure that everyone has access to Heartwood's programs regardless of their ability to pay.  Heartwood's Board of Directors and faculty are dedicated to keeping class fees low, ranging from $4.00 to $7.00 per class.  Financial assistance is available based on need.

Heartwood offers a warm, welcoming environment to people of all abilities and backgrounds.  Theater projects build community, teamwork skills, self-esteem, and self-respect.  They give children an appreciation of their role in the course of historical events.  The atmosphere at the school is encouraging and noncompetitive.  Every student gets an equal opportunity to shine.

Students come to Heartwood from nine West Virginia counties.  Audiences and participants for special events come from West Virginia globeand beyond.  Heartwood has hosted visiting artists from around the country and Canada.  Through its deeply rooted involvement in the community, Heartwood maintains an active presence that regularly attracts new students.

The Heartwood facilities are wheelchair accessible.  Wheelchair ramps lead into the main facility and the art building.  Each student or guest is individually accommodated, and Heartwood staff and teachers work closely with students' families and schoolteachers.