Josephine Richardson | Women of Appalshop

This Women’s History Month, women at Appalshop want to honor some of the women who paved the way for us here at the Shop. We’ve been inspired by so many incredible women over the nearly 50 year history of media and art making out of Whitesburg, Kentucky, its hard to know where to start. The very beginning seems like as good a place as any!

Josephine Richardson with Community Film Workshop equipment in the first Appalshop office, 1970.

Arriving the Fall of 1969 with husband Bill, Josephine D’Amato Richardson celebrates her 75th birthday today, March 6, almost fifty years after moving to Letcher County to help kick start the Community Film Workshop of Appalachia. We honor her today for supporting and promoting women in the arts, especially in her dedication to what has grown into Appalshop.

Josephine, second from right, celebrating Appalshop at Kentucky Arts Day with Kentucky Arts Council, Senator Johnny Ray Turner, and Appalshop Board Member Bethany Baxter, 2014

Organizing some of Letcher County’s first birthing classes, Josephine immediately connected with other women in the area to promote health and well-being. Josephine served Letcher County for decades through Rotary Club, the local Democratic Party, and Letcher County Tourism, besides running her own local business. Courthouse Cafe was open for nearly 30 years, making tanglewood pie a Letcher County staple. She has always believed in the role of food and meals in bringing people together. We’re still lucky to have her at the Cozy Corner, daily, offering Whitesburg’s only regional book and craft selections for sale.

A New Haven, Conn., native, Josephine’s service to the arts has included, among others, stints on the Kentucky Arts Council, the Kentucky Humanities Council, and the Kentucky Citizens for the Arts. In addition, she was a founding member of the committee that established the Governor’s School for the Arts. Josephine helped start the first WMMT-FM radio show celebrating women, Women’s Voices, and currently serves on the WMMT community advisory board, “keeping real-people radio alive.”

Josephine and Bill Richardson in the first Appalshop offices, 1970

Thank you Josephine! We’re so inspired by you today, and everyday.