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PHCC’s Buck passionate about city, education
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Kim Buck is the new coordinator of community development programs at Patrick Henry Community College.

Monday, December 16, 2013

By LATALA PAYNE - Special to the Bulletin

The new coordinator of community development programs at Patrick Henry Community College is passionate about uptown Martinsville and ready to make educational opportunities more accessible for area students.

Kim Buck said she is interested in community service and enthusiastic about education as a tool for economic development.

“I really like helping people,” she said, “so in my free time, I’ve always been very involved with local nonprofit organizations.”

Buck is president of the board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge, on the Piedmont Arts board and involved with HEY! Community Coalition and the United Way Emerging Leaders Society. She also is a supporter and promoter of the work her husband, Johnny Buck, does with Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival and the Rives Theatre.

Buck said her involvement in so many organizations has made her invested in the community’s future.

Buck previously worked for the Martinsville City Schools as the community outreach and grants coordinator.

“At my old job, I felt like I was helping Martinsville grow, but this is an opportunity to help on a larger scale. Instead of being limited to just one school district, now I can help with the development of our uptown presence and make education more accessible,” she said.

Her job also will involve working more closely with businesses and entrepreneurs to help with professional development needs, such as seminars, speakers or other programs, Buck said.

“Some of my position is still being determined since it’s new,” she said. “I manage the Artisan Center, but I’ll also work with expanding our course offerings uptown, and we’d like to get a speaker series going. But that’s still in the works.”

Getting more people involved in what’s going on at the Artisan Center is a focus for Buck. In addition to entrepreneurs having access to and using the Fab Lab, she wants to promote craft classes for the community and fully engage the artists already involved.

Registration is going on now for a variety of noncredit craft classes that will be held next semester, including decorative painting, how to grow and use herbs, pottery, quilting, knitting, digital photography, jewelry-making, glass and woodworking. The full schedule can be found at www.theartisancenter.org.

“Classes are fun, but they don’t just have to be for fun,” Buck said. “It’s a way to learn a new craft or supplement your income.”

She said during the recent Homemade Holiday Market, she spoke with one of the ceramic artists who did “beautiful work.” She said he’s been at it for just four years. The artist “took a ceramics class and now he’s a professional who sells his work and teaches. It’s very exciting. I think in this economy, we really want to do everything we can to help people develop their entrepreneurship skills.”

The Artisan Center also provides retail space for artist entrepreneurs to consign their work. The center’s holiday campaign is “Shop Like a Patriot,” encouraging people to buy local, handmade and especially American-made items when doing their Christmas shopping.

Looking to the future of uptown Martinsville, Buck said she would like to see the area vibrant and full of students who are living, shopping and working uptown.

“I think we’ve already seen some positive developments in that direction,” she said. “You drive up Church Street and see all the businesses that have sprung up, which is so positive. I feel in the five and a half years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen uptown change for the better. … I think we need to expand the educational opportunities available and make sure we’re reaching everyone who can benefit from those opportunities.”

When she’s not working or volunteering, Buck makes time for what she calls “her first love,” photography. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a bachelor’s degree in studio art for photography and a minor in mass communications.

Before joining the city schools, Buck worked as a reporter with the Martinsville Bulletin. She started her position with PHCC on Nov. 13. Her office is at the Artisan Center.

 

 
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