ArtSpace opens to community

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Jun. 13, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 13, 2013
ArtSpace opens to community

Potter Bob Erardi molds a piece of clay into a piece of traditional pottery during Saturday’s open house at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace.

Photo by Jesse Campbell

Established and aspiring artists alike have a new sanctuary in Watauga County, with the official opening of the Blue Ridge ArtSpace.

Located at 377 Shadowline Drive, the art center will house operations for the Watauga Arts Council and Appalachian State University’s Community Music School and Craft Enrichment Program.

To mark the new era of artistic and cultural solidarity, the WAC held a special open house Saturday afternoon to commemorate the opening, while celebrating its renewed vision.

Prior to relocating to the ArtSpace, the WAC called Boone’s Jones House Community Center its home. That all changed in May 2012, when the WAC was required to move from its downtown locale, subsequently operating in donated space and different locations.

Now, the WAC has reorganized and is ready to meet the artistic needs of the community, executive director Cherry Johnson said.

With live music outside on the ArtSpace front porch, locals explored the building Saturday, admiring the artistic endeavors of their peers, while catching a sneak peak of WAC offerings.

WAC members Alice Andrews and Martha Deal showcased their rug-hooking talents in one the building’s back rooms, eliciting interest in their craft, as well as the ArtSpace’s function as an educational center.

“It’s amazing,” Deal said of the building’s quick transformation to an arts center.

“I was here one day last week, and everything was in disarray,” Deal said. “I thought, ‘How in the world will they get everything done.’ But now everything is just beautiful.”

Andrews agreed. “I’m surprised how clean and quickly they did it,” she said.

The building formerly housed a physical therapy clinic.

Potter Bob Erardi said the ArtSpace would offer some hands-on education for a generation that has become more accustomed to computer and video games than learning to create with their hands. “I think it’s a beautiful thing, a necessary thing,” he said.

Jean Erardi, Bob Erardi’s partner, said the ArtSpace is just one more offering to Boone’s diverse and distinguished art scene.

“It’s really great for the community to broaden its horizons, as far as the arts go, and for everyone to have a hands-on experience,” she said. “It’s very therapeutic.”

For more information on the Watauga Arts Council, visit or call (828) 264-1789.

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