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Art Most Palatable

Article Published: Mar. 4, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Art Most Palatable

WAC's Artfull Palette returns March 12

How do you get to Rosen Concert Hall?

Practice, practice, practice.

Or attend the Watauga Arts Council's annual fundraiser, the Artfull Palette, on Friday, March 12.

An evening of all things art, the fundraiser celebrates the council's 29 years of sponsoring and encouraging cultural arts in Watauga County, featuring performances by area musicians and dancers, refreshments aplenty and an expansive silent auction.

"The name 'Artfull Palette' has a meaning," said Cherry Johnson, executive director of the Watauga Arts Council (WAC). "It's a palette of the arts in all its different forms."

The evening starts at 6 with a meet-and-greet, cash bar and hors d'oeuvres in Rosen's lobby, offering patrons "a chance to mix and mingle and work off some cabin fever with old friends," Johnson said.

During this time, attendees can also bid in the silent auction, featuring a veritable bounty of donated goods, ranging from autographs of world-famous mime Marcel Marceau, dinner packages, handmade quilts, local artwork and gift certificates to a year's worth of bagels, private concerts, a trip to the Biltmore, a home feng shui assessment and massage therapy.

The list goes on and, unlike previous years, is available online at the WAC's Facebook page, where people can place early bids on the items up till 4 p.m. on March 12. To bid, simply leave a comment under the auction item. The highest bids posted on Facebook will, in turn, be the opening bids during the actual event.

At 7 p.m., the Palette shifts into the concert hall, where area attorney and popular musician Becca Eggers-Gryder plays emcee to the night's entertainment.

The lineup includes classical pianist Aaron Ames, an Appalachian State University graduate student; the Watauga High School Pacers dance team, under direction of Cay Harkins of Studio K; classical violinist Vanessa Chumbley, an ASU senior; and perennial bluegrass favorites Amantha Mill, featuring Eggers-Gryder.

After the performances, the Palette returns to the lobby, where refreshments and silent auction results awake. For dessert, the WAC presents culinary art at its tastiest, with handcrafted cakes from esteemed Blowing Rock baker Jo Ann Hallmark (of Hallmark Cakes), along with fresh-roasted coffee from Espresso News.

The event concludes at 9 p.m., but Johnson's hoping its effects will be longer lasting.

"This is one of our main fundraisers for the year," she said. "It supports the overall function of the arts council - all the programs benefit in some fashion from this event."

Last year's Artfull Palette raised more than $3,000, and Johnson's hoping to surpass that sum.

"People are a little more willing to step out and do something for the arts in their community," she said. "The arts are such a vibrant part of who this community is, as well as a major economic impact in the area."

This is reflected in a 2004 study conducted at Appalachian State University, in which researchers determined local arts had a $26,000 economic impact on the county.

The Artfull Palette has had an impact on the WAC since its premiere in the early '90s, the brainchild of the organization's then board of directors, Johnson said. When inclement weather halted the event one year, it was indefinitely discontinued.

"For years and years, people asked me when we were going to do it again," Johnson said.
In 2006, the Palette returned to celebrate the council's 25th anniversary, and Johnson invited board members present and past to attend.

"They enjoyed it so much and people wanted to keep participating that we continued doing it," she said.

As a throwback to yesteryear, the 2010 event will showcase video footage from the 1994 Artfull Palette, featuring many a familiar face and some now gone, including the late Alfred Adams and Rachel Rivers-Coffey.

Johnson said the footage will appear on MTN-TV, prior to being screened at the Palette. "It will be fun for those who were there to come see what they looked like way back when," she said. "Every time I watch it, I see people I didn't see before."

It also offers another opportunity.

"It's a good chance to come out and have fun, and for a good cause," Johnson said.
Through March 5, tickets cost $40 per person or $75 for two. Afterward, they cost $45 for one or $85 for two. Johnson noted that $25 from each ticket is considered a tax-deductible donation.
Tickets are available by calling the Watauga Arts Council at (828) 264-1789, visiting or at the door.

Rosen Concert Hall is located in the Hayes School of Music building off Rivers Street on the Appalachian State University campus, adjacent to Walker Hall. Parking is free and available in surrounding lots and on Rivers Street.

The Watauga Arts Council is based out of the Jones House Community Center, located at 604 W. King St. in downtown Boone.

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