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June 2023 Toe River Arts Studio Tour 

Larry Brown woodworking, Spruce Pine

Spruce Pine, NC – There’s something breathtaking and awe-inspiring about driving through the mountains of western North Carolina, nature herself showing that she is the original artist.

It doesn’t matter if you live up the hill or across the state,  the Toe River Arts Studio Tour, June 2-4, 2023, provides an adventure for the intrepid seeker of the art experience. 

The art is as diverse as the artists with the tour featuring the work of glassblowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, fiber artists, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, and woodworkers. 

Bridget Fox – Mudventions, Celo

Artist studios are exciting places to visit because they offer a glimpse into the dynamic processes used to create a finished piece. Every artist has their own way of telling a story, inviting visitors to ask questions, hold their work, and share a moment. You can count on the studios being as unique as the artists: the building off to the side of the house, or across the field or down the road or right off the main road or down a gravel one-lane. Two-stories with a gallery space or small and cozy with a table set up or cleared off for display. Still there are others that devote a corner to each artist sharing the space. 

Just 40 minutes north of Asheville and two hours from Charlotte & Greenville, the Studio Tour makes for an exciting day trip.  However, with 88 studios and 10 galleries to visit, the Toe River Arts Studio Tour becomes a great weekend mini vacation. Both Chambers of Commerce in Burnsville-Yancey and Mitchell County provide information on lodging, eateries, and other local events.  Additionally, Toe River Arts is incredibly grateful to Explore Burnsville for being the event sponsor. 

For more than a quarter century, the Toe River Arts Studio Tour has intrigued those who make the journey to visit places of inspiration and creation. Situated between Roan Mountain which boasts the world’s largest rhododendron garden and Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, the Toe River Arts Studio Tour is a free, self-guided journey of the arts. This arts adventure through Mitchell and Yancey Counties will take visitors along the meandering Toe River, across its many bridges, around barns, acres of fields and miles of forests all while visiting the talented studio artists who often take inspiration from the mountains they call home.

Kit Paulson, Penland

The June Studio Tour Exhibition opens in the Kokol Gallery, in Toe River Arts’ Spruce Pine location at 269 Oak Ave, May 13, 2023, and runs through Sunday, June 4, 2023. This exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to have a glimpse into each studio and plan their route. It’s also a great place to begin the tour or take a break from a day of non-stop art and artists. Normal gallery hours are 10:30am to 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday; and 10am – 5pm during the Studio Tour, 6/2-6/4.

Join artists, staff, and the volunteers who make the tour the best and one of the longest continually running self-guided tours in the country, as we toast the beginning of the season during our  “Meet-the-Artists” reception on Friday, June 2 from 5:30-7:30.  

“Every year is unique. The artists change, and the work evolves. I’m always excited when the boxes arrive—to see a new artist’s work or the evolution of a more seasoned artist” said Kathryn Andree, who has been Toe River Arts Exhibits Coordinator for over a decade. The participant shows are the biggest exhibits during the year, averaging over 150 pieces on pedestals, tables, walls, with a few bigger pieces relegated to the floor. They are the most diverse, with media ranging from 2-dimensional to glass, clay, wood, and fiber—something for every palate, every wallet.

Roby Summerfield, Bakersville

The Annual June Studio Tour runs from June 2-4, 2023, Friday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm; “Meet the Artists” reception on  . Guide booklets are available mid-May. For more information, call 828-765-0520 or visit toeriverarts.org. Toe River Arts is a non-profit organization that has been connecting the community with the arts for over four decades.

Mark Woodham – MW Studios, Burnsville