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Visit Galleries, Studios Saturday on This Month’s ‘Tour de Art’ Through Watauga, Avery

By Jessica Isaacs

Kevin Beck teaching workshop at Carlton Gallery
Artist Kevin Beck teaches a workshop at Carlton Gallery.

Make a trip around the High Country this weekend and take in the local art scene as you visit participating galleries on the latest “Tour de Art.”

This organized celebration of local artists takes place on the fourth Saturday of every month through November, providing a network of participating galleries for local art enthusiasts to enjoy. Travel on your own from one stop to another or carpool with your friends.

Participating artists have created a map that will lead you on a loop through the area. Travel in either direction and stop at each of the six galleries and studios between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday to check out what they have to offer.

Now in its seventh year, the “Tour de Art” series began as way to bring awareness to the active community of artists, studios and galleries in Avery County and parts of Watauga.

Here’s what you can expect on the tour this year:

  • Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Alta Vista Gallery, 2839 Broadstone Road in ValleCrucis.
  • Visit Carlton Gallery, 10360 N.C. Highway 105 S. in Banner Elk. Check out the gallery’s ongoing 33rd annual Mid-Summer Group Exhibition, “From a Textural Point of View,” which features work from Andrew Braitman and Toni Carlton.
  • Get to know Patti Connor-Greene and Dan Greene at Linville River Pottery in Pineola, which is usually open by appointment only. Take an exclusive look at the studio and explore the interesting textures and colors of the various porcelain and stoneware.
  • See the vast array of glass art pieces and paintings created by the artist at Sally Nooney Gallery, 7137 N.C. Highway 194 S. in Banner Elk. Inspired by the beauty of nature and wildlife, multimedia artist Sally Nooney boasts a variety of work at her gallery in the Matney community.
  • Swing by Art Purveyors and the studio of Mike Hill in the Foscoe Community, 112 Aldridge Park in Banner Elk, to see his work and shop a multitude of art and framing supplies. You’ll also enjoy the gorgeous view of Grandfather Mountain!
  • Check out Studio 140, 140 Azalea Circle in downtown Banner Elk, to see artists David Banegas and Kent Paulette at work. This open studio will give you insight into their creative process and they’ll be ready to talk to you about their work.

Special Events This Month:

  • Join Carlton Gallery in the Grandfather Community for a special women’s event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22.
    Friendly Fox by Sally Nooney
    This jewelry trunk show, boutique day and afternoon with tea will feature jewelry designer Ran Armstrong as a guest. Wearable fiber art can be found in hats, scarves, shawls, ponchos, caplets, jackets and coats during this event. This fiber art is all hand-crafted in a myriad of colors, textures and styles with impeccable craftsmanship.
  • New paintings and glass are awaiting you at Sally Nooney Gallery. Resident artist, Sally Nooney, will demonstrate a “wet on wet” watercolor technique during this Saturday’s Tour de Art.  All are welcome!  Sally Nooney Gallery is located midway between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk on scenic Hwy 194.  Call 828-963-7347 for more information.

Toni Carlton of Carlton Gallery said the tour aims to invite the public to see, enjoy and get involved in the local arts scene.

“It’s a community of artists and galleries that work together. We have had others who have been a part of it over the years and it’s been a really nice group,” Carlton said. “It adds some activity and interest in the arts and helps bring awareness to all of the art that’s here in our area.

“We aren’t located on a street that people can walk to, so the tour lets people know where to find the studios and get inside looks, see artist demonstrations and see the beautiful galleries. There are often artists on hand to talk about their work.”

Because the tours are orchestrated by a coalition of artists who are also friends, the experience is often more intimate and relaxed than large receptions or gallery events.

“Sometimes at a big gallery opening, it’s just too busy,” Carlton said. “These are just extra little receptions that let you meet other people who are involved in the galleries.”

Visit each participating gallery online to learn more about the artists, their studios and their work.

Guests enjoy a Tour de Art in summer 2014.
Guests enjoy a Tour de Art stop at Carlton Gallery in summer 2014.