Helen Lewis Chair AwardThe Clinch River Educational Center, Inc. (CREC), is a non-profit organization.  Our purpose is to develop, promote, and sponsor community arts, human services, and education activities in the Appalachian region, primarily in southwest Virginia.

Along the Clinch River in Scott County, Virginia, in the mid-1970s, several women with expertise and experience in the fields of education, art, and human services decided to form an incorporation to create and work together, and to support each other in individual projects.  In the southern Appalachian Mountains, an area which is rich in art and tradition, funds often have been lacking for the basic educational and human services taken for granted in much of the country.  CREC has encouraged and assisted its members to share their skills and talents by providing an organization through which to seek funds for community projects.

The continuing achievements of individuals, made possible by the creative, logistical, and financial support of the organization, has demonstrated that this flexible organizational model can make a difference in a rural setting.


CREC has served as an incubator for over three decades, giving seedling organizations the helping hand they need to germinate and grow.  A few of the organizations given a head start by CREC include the Abingdon Center for Psychiatry Counseling and Education, the Appalachian Women's Alliance, In Praise of Mountain Women, Creekside Press, Appalachian Faith and Ecology Center, Appalachian Peace Education Center, the Sow's Ear Poetry Review, and the Abingdon Arts Depot.

Through a partnership with University Without Walls, we have helped 13 people earn college degrees.  We have launched music, dance, and storytelling programs, photography programs, art residencies, teacher in-service workshops in Appalachian Studies, summer arts and crafts workshops, and slideshows on mountain life and history for children and adults in Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

CREC has sponsored conferences on topics including Infant Mortality, Soviet Life, and National Security.  We have also funded a wide range of community artists to create radio shows, musical performances, films, and more.

Current Projects

Read about our current projects by following the links below:

Want to Get Involved?

Do you have an idea that needs help sprouting?  Email info@crec76.org to learn how we can help.

Or make a donation to support Appalachian education, art, and human services.