Blue Ridge Artisan Center calls for artists and artisans in Northwest N.C. counties to take part


Staff Report



Blue Ridge Artisan Center to open this summer.


Photo courtesy of Charles Hildebrant

WILKESBORO — The Blue Ridge Artisan Center, slated to open this summer, invites regional artists and artisans in Northwest North Carolina counties to apply to join the Blue Ridge Artisan Guild and submit their artwork to be juried by a standards committee for sale in the center. The nine counties that make up Northwest North Carolina are Wilkes, Yadkin, Surry, Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga, Caldwell, Alexander and Iredell.

The Blue Ridge Artisan Center (BRAC) will be located at 201 W. Main St. in Wilkesboro in the historic Federal Building, commonly called the Old Federal Building, that was constructed in 1915. Anita Cranston has been named director of the Artisan Center.

“Many local citizens will recognize the building as the old post office and formerly the Board of Education building, and most recently, home of Johnson Realty. Now, Michelle and I are excited to be restoring the building to its original Federal-style architecture to become home to the Blue Ridge Artisan Center, a community and regional destination for arts and events,” said Dale Isom, of Heart of Folk.

“Membership into the Blue Ridge Artisan Guild will be available through a rigorous jury system by examination and review by the standards committee for submitted work currently made by the applicant. The jury process looks for mastery of the materials used and a comprehensive evaluation of the objects,” said Lyle Wheeler, chairman of the Blue Ridge Artisan Guild.

“The guild will represent its members collectively by offering space for exhibition and sales of their works at the BRAC. Furthermore, The BRAC will offer a photography studio capable of producing high-quality digital images of the juried work to help promote the creations of guild members, including items displayed at the center. All established and emerging artists and artisans need a portfolio of high-quality images that they can use when applying to arts and crafts shows and to entice interest in their works using internet marketing strategies.”

Wheeler added, “Membership applicants not quite meeting the standards will be mentored to improve their work for resubmission, thereby encouraging emerging artisans to successful outcomes. We want to see all artists in Northwest North Carolina flourish.”

The deadline to submit works for the grand opening of BRAC is April 19. The guild begins the first jury process on April 24.

The following categories of art will be considered:

• Visual Arts (two- and three-dimensional): drawing, painting, photography, mosaics, calligraphy, architecture, ceramics, pottery, sculpture, conceptual art, lutherie and jewelry, using any media such as canvas, clay, wood, glass, leather, fiber, metal, paper, and natural materials,

• Literary Arts: prose (fiction and non-fiction), drama and poetry, including storytelling,

• Performing Arts: music, theatre and dance.

The BRAC will feature artisans who will display and demonstrate their talents, offering opportunities for the public to enjoy and purchase their creations.

“We want to spotlight Northwest North Carolina as a prominent hub of arts, crafts and music. Currently, we are reaching out to arts councils, galleries, artists and artisans to ask that they become a part of the guild and join us on this journey to create a regional arts renaissance,” said Michelle Isom. “We envision the Center being a gathering place for artists, artisans, musicians, and art and music lovers. Artists and artisans can display and demonstrate their talents, offering opportunities for the public to enjoy and purchase their creations. The public can gather to enjoy and take part in literary and performing arts events such as storytelling music performances, community jam sessions and dances.”

The Blue Ridge Artisan Guild is a non-profit corporation led by a board of directors representing the Northwest North Carolina counties. Officers of the board are Lyle Wheeler, chairman; Jim Trice, vice chair; Katie Smithey, CPA, treasurer; and Alaina Carroll, secretary. The board seeks nine additional directors, one from each of the following counties: Wilkes, Yadkin, Surry, Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga, Caldwell, Alexander and Iredell, according to Isom. The guild will oversee the visual arts portion of the Blue Ridge Artisan Center.

Anyone interested in being a member of the Blue Ridge Artisan Guild or anyone interested in serving on the Blue Ridge Artisan Guild board of directors should contact Cranston at 336-990-9500 or director@blueridgeartisancenter.org.

For more information on making a tax-exempt contribution to the Blue Ridge Artisan Association, contact Anita Cranston at 336-990-9500 or director@blueridgeartisancenter.org.

The Blue Ridge Artisan Center will serve as the heart of traditional crafts and visual and performing arts for the nine-county Northwest North Carolina region. The Artisan Center’s mission is to create opportunities for meaningful experiences in the visual and performing arts of local and regional artists and demonstrating artisans, while educating the community in our rich and diverse cultural heritage. This will be achieved by:

· Expanding the cultural horizons of children and the community through educational programs to ensure the preservation of our traditions from one generation to the next;

· Supporting and promoting local and regional artists, crafts people, musicians and performing artists through education and sharing of resources;

· Connecting artists through communications and shared experiences; and

· Exploring Northwest North Carolina’s art forms — from music to theater, sculpture to painting, to craftsmanship and culinary — to develop an understanding how they impact lives in this area.

Make plans to attend the Blue Ridge Artisan Center grand opening at 201 W. Main St. in Wilkesboro. A date will be announced soon. To learn more about the Artisan Center, visit https://blueridgeartisancenter.org/.

Blue Ridge Artisan Center to open this summer.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_WilkesboroFedBldg1-formatted.jpgBlue Ridge Artisan Center to open this summer. Photo courtesy of Charles Hildebrant

Staff Report

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