By Katie Benfield
Every year, in downtown Blowing Rock, a wonderful event hits the High Country thanks to the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and all participating artists. This event is the Art in the Park that takes place on a Saturday once a month from May until October. It showcases local and regional talents and crafts including, but not limited to, jewelry, woodwork, painting and the like.
The first Saturday of the 55th Annual Art in the Park takes place on May 20 in downtown Blowing Rock from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for everyone!
Art in the Park began a long time ago, when local artists from Appalachian would sell their crafts to tourists so that they could take a piece of the mountain culture home with them. However, as it has grown, it has developed into something much larger.
“We have artists both locally and from other states all around the South East,” Loni Miller, Director of Art in the Park, said, “but we have all worked really hard to stay true to our roots.”
Every Saturday, the Art in the Park will host 90 local and regional artisand in order to provide them with the recognition that they deserve, as well as, providing the community with arts and crafts of excellent quality. Everything is handmade from glass, photography, pottery and more!
“Each Art in the Park show will have a majority of new artists every month,” Miller said, “with under half of them being returning artists from previous shows.”
With this being said, everyone in attendance can expect to see different artists and different crafts every month from May until October. According to Miller, the artists who are chosen to be present at the Art in the Park are done so by a jury. The jury consists of local artists and curators who are in the top of their field.
“The jury changes every year,” Miller said. “That way we can get a different variety of artists every year.”
Along with this, there is also a featured artist present at each showing every month. The featured artist is chosen by the jury because he or she has some exceptional way that they stand out in their community. This Saturday, the featured artist is Tim Turner from Linville, whose artistic skills manifest themselves in clay.
At every show, there are first, second and third place awards given out — Best in Show, Distinction and Honorable Mention, respectively.
“The judges, who are different for every show, choose the one artist to receive the first place prize which is Best in Show,” Miller said. “The prize for this award is $200.”
The dates of the Art in the Park are as follows:
-Saturday, May 20, featured artist: Tim Turner, Clay
-Saturday, June 10, featured artist: Courtney Tomchik, Sculpture
-Saturday. July 15, featured artist: Joanna White, Fiber
-Saturday, August 12, featured artist: Julie Simon, Jewelry
-Saturday, September 9, featured artist: Andy Costine, Wood
-Saturday, October 7, featured artist: Kue King, Metal
The shows take place on Park Avenue in downtown Blowing Rock, a quaint and beautiful area that is perfect for artistic showcasing.
“We are so excited to be on Park Avenue again this year,” Miller said. “It’s the best fine arts and craft show in the area.”
According to Miller, Art in the Park taking place on Park Avenue is incredibly convenient for those in attendance. They can park in the parking deck and then stroll down main street and enjoy all of Blowing Rock’s restaurants and shops.
Art in the Park will take place rain or shine. Whether it’s a beautiful day or a day full of clouds and rain, the artists will still be providing the public with their crafts, and you should come out and pay them a visit.