ArtSpace set for May 23 opening

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: May. 16, 2013 | Modified: May. 24, 2013
ArtSpace set for May 23 opening

Following the discovery of some building-related issues at its new home, the Watauga Arts Council has delayed the official opening of the Blue Ridge ArtSpace until Thursday, May 23.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled for June 8, which also coincides with the council’s first Second Saturday art and gallery hop, executive director Cherry Johnson said.

After leaving Boones’ Jones House Community Center in May 2012, the WAC has operated out of multiple offices, but is now ready for a permanent home at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace.

Located at 377 Shadowline Drive in Boone, the ArtSpace will house the WAC and Appalachian State University’s Community Music School and Craft Enrichment Program.

Johnson said the lease for the new building was signed on May 7 and that she was hoping for a May 11 opening day, but some setbacks have pushed that date until later this month.

“We already knew it was a really ambitious goal to open for the first time only four days later, but we were aiming high,” Johnson said. “However, in the process of acquiring the certificate of occupancy, we have uncovered a few building-related issues, which, while not impossible to solve, nevertheless will eat up too much time for us to actually open for business on May 11.”

With the news of the pending delays, the WAC has revised its schedule for a grand opening celebration.

A sneak peek event for the WAC’s 100 for $100 club members was held May 8.

The 100 for $100 campaign is seeking 100 people in Watauga County or “people who care” about the community to contribute $100 for the ArtSpace. This fundraiser will help cover moving expenses and initial startup costs, Johnson said.

Those who do wish to donate funds will have their name listed on a plaque at the ArtSpace. Johnson said these individuals would also receive “special privileges” through the WAC.

Johnson is hopeful the repairs and renovations will come together in the coming weeks.

“We do plan to officially move my office to the new building on Monday, May 13, because it simply makes better sense for me to be there full-time to oversee preparations, while also trying to keep the day-to-day business going,” Johnson said.

The WAC is hoping for help from the community in completing the move.

“Depending upon how many people turn up to help — and depending upon how many rooms we decide need to have changes made — we’re anticipating the completion of the preparations to take place over the next few days, and around May 23 or so, we plan to open up for business in our new location,” she said.

“Having a soft opening such as that will allow us time to make tweaks, get everything fixed up and prepare to launch a grand opening celebration on the first Second Saturday in June.”

ArtSpace Fundraisers

A separate fundraising drive will enable art center supporters and local businesses to become “space sponsors” for gallery rooms, studio space or classrooms at the ArtSpace, Johnson said.

The program allows an entity or business to sponsor a room for a year at a time and will have its name on a gold placard outside the room.

Johnson said these “space sponsors” would receive several direct benefits through this campaign, as the ArtSpace would include the name of each sponsor whenever it is promoting an upcoming event that involves that gallery or studio space.

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