THE CREATIVE AT HEART
Co-Founder Heartwood in the Hills
SUPERPOWER: Seeing an artist in every person
Through decades of experience as a dancer, performer, mask-maker, teacher, and more, Jude Binder has become a staple of the arts in West Virginia. Growing up, Binder studied ballet very seriously and dreamed of becoming a ballerina in a professional company. But other artistic interests called to her, too. She wanted to paint, draw, and explore other pursuits—something she has now spent her life doing.
After moving to West Virginia, Binder founded Heartwood in the Hills with Frank Venezia in 1982. Then known as Heartwood Dance Center, it was meant to be solely a dance school. Now, as the nonprofit Heartwood in the Hills, it’s evolved into a multifaceted school for the arts, boasting mask-making workshops, movement classes, theatrical performances, and other artforms. Binder is also heavily involved in FestivALL Charleston, a city-wide festival that brings together hundreds of artists from around the world each year, and she has a history of supporting progressive political rallies and causes with her work.
Now in her 80s, Binder continues to hone her craft. “I’ve learned so much that I feel like I’m about to do my best work,” she says.
Learn more about our Wonder Women
Since 2014 WV Living magazine has been honoring West Virginia Wonder Women, amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. WV Living is proud to celebrate these Appalachian mothers, millennials, and mavens proving that in a time full of uncertainty, divisiveness, and hate, love for one another is all we really need. No need for bulletproof bracelets or a golden lasso of truth—these women are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.