The Toe River Valley in Marshall and Yancey counties is a hotbed for the arts. The population of the two counties is around 30,000 and of that number it is estimated that more than 500 are artists--one of the highest concentrations of artists in the world. Markovich states there are two reasons for this--Harvey Littleton and the Penland School of Crafts at Spruce Pine. Littleton, who came to Spruce Pine in 1977, gained recognition first as a ceramist and later as a glassblower and sculptor in glass. Penland, founded in 1929 by Lucy Morgan, has gained world-wide recognition as a destination for artists.