Did you know

Every day is art appreciation day

By Paul Viau | Mar 08, 2017
Photo by: Donated photo A TOAST TO ARTISTS GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY — Pictured is one of Jo Ridge Kelley's 'Fantastic Florals.'

We are blessed in the mountains of Western North Carolina to live in a community of artists and artisans who share their talents freely with the rest of us.

The gift of their creativity is woven into the fabric that clothes us, the music that comforts us and an incredible variety of artistic expressions that surprise, captivate and inspire us at every turn.

Wherever I travel — from nearby (and artistic) downtown Waynesville Main Street to Asheville’s River Arts District — the visual splendor of art is on display, and in the background, artists are giving of themselves to enrich us.

This giving spirit goes far beyond the paint on the canvas, the glaze on the pottery, the polish on the wood, the weave of the textile or the shine of the metal. And it connects us to the art and the artists in a compelling way.

I have witnessed this phenomenon up close and personal on many occasions — as T. Pennington, artist of the Blue Ridge, mentored to a group of beginning colored pencil artists, as mixed-media artist Margaret Roberts encouraged children to make their own mark on a signature collage, as potter Cathey Bolton, shaped a bowl and gave a curious onlooker a first time behind the wheel.

Local artists lend their creativity to countless fundraising events throughout Haywood and Buncombe Counties, sometimes donating a work of art for a silent auction; other times putting on a demonstration of their craft; often putting their art on center stage.

Waynesville metal sculptor, Grace Cathey, is particularly active and it’s dramatic to see. When she showcases her craft, sparks fly.

This brings to mind one of my favorite and most artful fundraising events — Waynesville’s QuickDraw — “Art in the Making.” It is a wonderful display of professional artists racing against the clock, creating amazing works of art under the incredible pressure of a one-hour deadline.

The result is a fast-paced, lively art event that provides a glimpse into the world of pottery, metal sculpture, woodworking, fiber art, acrylics, pastels, watercolor, fused glass, jewelry design and basketry.

While the artists are hurriedly working, donors are encouraged to wander and observe the works of art taking shape right before their eyes — hopefully falling in love with a ‘new’ piece of art.

After the hour is up, all of the artwork is ceremonially auctioned off — with artists donating half or more of the proceeds to the WNC QuickDraw Fund.

This fund supports art education in public schools and awards scholarships to graduating seniors pursuing art degrees.

Did you know? To date, The QuickDraw Fund has provided more than $75,000 in grants to art programs in the Haywood County Schools and $35,000 in art college scholarships.

QuickDraw 2017 will be held Saturday, May 20 at Laurel Ridge Country Club in Waynesville. For tickets, visit www.wncquickdraw.com.  We’ll remind you in early May, so you can join the fun in this eccentric and art-centric crowd.

Finally, I want to share information about a very unique upcoming art event at Bosu’s Wine shop in Waynesville. It’s called ‘Paint and Sip’ and pairs (no surprise here) an afternoon of wine tasting with a lesson/exhibition of palette knife painting techniques by Jo Ridge Kelley.

Kelley is famous for her ‘Fabulous Florals,’ and is a perennial contributor to art education in Western North Carolina.

‘Paint and Sip’ is scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at Bosu’s Wine Shop, 138 Miller St. in Waynesville. For information, call 828-452-0120.

This is an opportunity to sharpen both your wine palette and perfect your palette knife techniques at the same time.

Now that’s my kind of multi-tasking.