By PATRICK FORD
What do Las Vegas, Montreal, Dubai and Pulaski County have in common? They all have cards made by Canadian artist Jean-Louis Rheault.
“GPS tells you how to get there, but a good pictorial map tells you why you want to go,” said Rheault, who was the artist behind Pulaski County’s first cartographic map highlighting many of the tourist attractions and county outdoors. “I can’t wait to visit in the fall.”
Peggy White, Pulaski County Tourism Director, hopes the map will encourage locals and tourists alike.
“For locals, it’s a way to show off all there is to do here,” White said. “For people coming to the area, it’s an interesting way to see all that you can do.” The map highlights several local attractions such as the Pulaski Theater, the historic train station, and the Motor Mile Speedway. Also included are red hearts marking the location of the various LOVE signs around the county.
White had discovered the artist’s work while on vacation.
“I was in Sedona and I had a card he made and I fell in love with it,” she said. “I said, ‘we have to do this if people come here.'” After speaking with local artists, White couldn’t find one who could match Rheault’s work. Fortunately for Pulaski Tourism, he was between projects and had time to start the map.
Rheault and the tourism department worked on the map for four months to create a list of attractions.
“It was supposed to be stuff that was open to the public,” the director said. “We brought evidence to various people to make sure we didn’t miss anything.” White plans to do a map overhaul in March to add any new attractions that are open by then. Currently, the map has more than 117 different elements.
Pulaski County Administrator Jonathan Sweet came up with the idea of hiding a Pulaski County cougar on the map.
“What a fun way to showcase the many assets and activities that Pulaski County and the New River Valley encompass,” Sweet said. “The artistry exhibited by Jean-Louis brings to life so much of what we love about this incredible place we are fortunate to call home, and it will help us share our local treasures with all strata of visitors.”
Copies of the map can be found at tourist businesses, attractions, and the Pulaski County Administration Building. For more information, contact the Pulaski County Department of Tourism at 540-674-4161.