We are pleased to welcome Sara Cottingham to the FOOTMAD family as our new new Arts Administrator.
A Texan by ancestry and West Virginian by adoption, Sara Cottingham came to the Mountain State as a VISTA Volunteer for the Coal River Group, a community-led nonprofit watershed organization. During her two years with the CRG, Sara helped found a college internship program to staff the group’s new boat rental business, organized education programs for 600 local children, and diversified the organization’s income through fundraising and new grants. Sara also wrote the area’s first watershed based plan, which will be used to replace failing septic tanks in the St. Albans area.
In praise of Sara's work, Coal River Group stated in a news release, "Cottingham has recently completed one of the most difficult tasks the CRG has ever attempted. She successfully completed the Lower Coal River Watershed Based Plan. The plan was required by the U.S. EPA as a first step for applying for the 319 Grant Program, which eventually can provide funding for extensive septic remediation programs in the region. The watershed based plan is the first ever completed in the Coal River watershed and, once approved by the WVDEP and U.S. EPA, will open the door to important cleanup funding for the Lower Coal River region."
After completing her VISTA service, Sara spent six months as a program analyst for the U.S. Department of Interior’s AmeriCorps VISTA programs in Washington, DC. Six months in the big city was quite enough, though, so Sara came running back to the Kanawha Valley with her fiddle and banjo in tow.
Sara has been an active member in the FOOTMAD community since early 2012.
As an avid old time musician and contra dancer, Sara is thrilled to be a part of the exciting music and arts community in the Kanawha Valley. She looks forward to helping FOOTMAD increase its presence throughout the region and engage the next generation in traditional music and dance.
Sara holds a BA in Geography and an MS in Community & Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin.
sara in the news
Coal River VISTA worker finds niche in W.Va by Sandy Wells WV Gazette - 29 September 2013
"A VISTA worker from Texas, she's here to help the Coal River Group with watershed preservation and economic development, her vocational passions. West Virginia held a double attraction because of her love for traditional Appalachian music. She learned to play the fiddle here." Read more ...
Volunteer drawn by history, music by Charlotte Ferrell Smith Charleston Daily Mail - 9 March 2012
"A love for Appalachian music and a desire to work with the Coal River Group lured Sara Cottingham to West Virginia. The 23-year-old Texas native is a volunteer with Office of Surface Mining and AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) with a background in environmental studies. She is also a self-taught banjo player. Read more ...
Sara Goes to Swannanoa by Sara Cottingham Austin Friends of Traditional Music - 4 November 2011
Picture this: a week of old time music and dancing set in the lush rolling mountains of Appalachia, where there's a jam around every corner and everybody knows your name.