Harlan County Spotlight: Ashley Bledsoe

Who are you, and what roles to you fill in your community?

I am Ashley Bledsoe, a female business owner, mother, and wife. I am a mentor to young people and fundraiser for good causes. I try my best to “be the hands.” I am not afraid of physical labor, I am a doer.

What do you most appreciate about your community?

Harlan County is a beautiful place to live with a deeply rooted history and vibrant traditions. We are a resilient people, a little negative at times; however, the truth isn’t always pretty… but, it is tasty with pumpkin butter.

What’s your vision for Harlan County, and what’s a community project you’ve been a part of that makes strides towards that vision?

I have been on board with the Harlan County Farmers Market for the last little bit, trying to get the word out and participate in the planning process. I have been a part of community clean ups, gallery hops, and the like. I haven’t been involved with a long term initiative to help Harlan change, but I would love to be. My vision for Harlan involves transforming people’s thoughts about nutrition and art. To help people to see that everything is art and that creative place making is essential to the growth and revitalization of our communities.

Who is a member of your community that you admire and why?

Robert Gipe has been instrumental in bringing art installations into Harlan County. He has shown the community that art can address problems, issues, and stir honest conversations. He helps youth, college kids, and even us adults struggling to find a purpose and continue further. Robert is an author and a brilliant artist. He has a heart for the people of Harlan County.