The Women of Water Valley, Mississippi














As I perused the Home & Garden section of the New York Times last Thursday with my 3-month old asleep in my arms I came across the story of how four women – all in their 30’s – armed with crow bars, paint brushes and business savvy revived the derelict town of Water Valley, Mississippi.  While the full article is well worth reading I’ll summarize for those looking for some bite-sized inspiration…

Over the course of a few years, Coulter Fussell, Megan Patton, Erin Austen Abbott and Alex van Beuren gobbled up affordable housing and retail space, leaving shag carpet, dropped ceilings and old wallpaper in their wake to infuse new life into this community of less than 4,000. In 2010 van Beuren and her husband opened the B.T.C. Old Fashioned Grocery (stands for Gandhi’s famous, be the change you want to see in the world quote) featuring local produce and specialty items. This momentum inspired Patton and Fussell to transform a dilapidated barbershop dating back to 1880 into a vibrant new gallery they opened last April.  With art openings and a new community center that is B.T.C. these four indie developers/community-making visionaries put Water Valley back on the map.

As we start our own search for workshop space in Ajmer for the Anchal artisans we find great inspiration in this story of how creative women and creative ideas build and inspire community. Thank you, ladies!



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