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Artist chosen for Athens Conservancy project

Savannah Freeman, an Athens artist, has been selected to create a piece for the Athens Conservancy for its Spectacular Appalachia project. (Photo Provided)

ATHENS — An artist from Athens will create the centerpiece of a new project by the Athens Conservancy to spotlight the land and spirit of Appalachian Ohio.

The conservancy has chosen Savannah Freeman for the project called Spectacular Appalachia, an initiative financed by a grant from Ohio’s Winding Road that is designed to enlist the talents of a regional, emerging artist.

The nature-inspired artwork will be used to create distinctive products celebrating the lands and trails of the conservancy and showcase the area’s natural beauty, culture and creativity.

Freeman is a self-taught block-print maker in Athens whose work is influenced by the plants and animals of Southeast Ohio. She operates the Moonville Print Shop and is among 13 artists from the Ohio Appalachian region who applied for consideration.

A panel of Athens Conservancy board members and an Ohio branding and marketing professional selected Freeman’s work for the project. In addition to her creative prints and her focus on native plants and animals, the group was impressed with Freeman’s concept for the endeavor.

“My goal as an artist is to showcase the beauty and biodiversity of our area in a way that encourages others to foster a stewardship for the natural world,” Freeman said.

Freeman said she envisions a design centered on the wildflowers and wildlife that are nurtured in one of the conservancy’s forested preserves.

“I love the Athens Conservancy and am so excited to see what comes of this,” she said. “Thank you for supporting local artists.”

The Athens Conservancy board is pleased to work with Freeman, member Barbara Flowers said.

“We are delighted to work with Savannah to create a unique product that celebrates the natural world around us and encourages folks to enjoy time in our 12 nature preserves that are open to the public,” Flowers said. “She really wowed the committee with her creativity. And her stunning block prints are perfect for translating to a product such as a tote bag or T-shirt.”

The Athens Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust protecting special spaces and wild places for people to explore and enjoy, maintain healthy ecosystems, preserve water quality, protect biodiversity and nurture natural habitats. Its lands in Athens County and surrounding areas encompass nearly 2,900 acres, with more than 1,700 acres open to the public to explore.

Ohio’s Winding Road is a locally driven economic development initiative in Appalachian Ohio in the Hocking and Muskingum river valleys, including Morgan, Athens, Perry, Hocking, Fairfield, Vinton, Meigs, Washington and Muskingum counties.

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