Blowing Rock's Art in the Park returns

Article Published: May. 12, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Blowing Rock's Art in the Park returns

Artist Fred Kessler and his work at the 2010 Art in the Park series.

Photo submitted

Blowing Rock's Art in the Park begins its 49th anniversary season May 14.

Art in the Park has a history dating from the early 1960s, when artists living in and around the village would come to the town's park to display and sell some of their paintings or other pieces.

Art in the Park attracts artists from all over the Eastern U.S. This award-winning series features the works of 90 juried artisans in metal, fiber, watercolor and oil painting, wood, photography, basketry, jewelry, clay, glass and more.

On Sunday, May 15, a concert in the park will kick off with the award-winning old-time music band, The Zephyr Lighting Bolts.

"I'm really looking forward to the first show on May 14," Art in the Park coordinator Stephanie Keener said. "May means the crowds are generally smaller and shopping is a little more relaxed, you can spend more time with each artist. We have several of last year's award winners coming. This is just an exciting year, as we are beginning to prep for next year's 50th Anniversary Season. Plus, we've got some fantastic concerts this year, great new bands in addition to your favorites."

Art in the Park always features not only a mix of media, but a mix of well-established artists and those just "breaking on the scene."

This May will find favorites like Rick Murray's turned wood, jewelry maker Bill Lehnert, alongside newcomers to the show. Of course, there are many others, each with their own unique art and individualism. Some artists will be present at every show, others only at one or two, making every Art in the Park a new experience.

For example, Nancy Strailey is a unique colored pencil artist who draws based on her experiences in Africa. Often, her drawings are done on paper that the artist makes herself and incorporates bits of plants, fiber and even dung collected in Africa. Strailey will be there for five of six shows, including May.

The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce provides free shuttles throughout the day. Just park your car at Tanger Outlet Center or the Food Lion shopping center on U.S. 321 Bypass, and hop on the shuttle to go right into downtown Blowing Rock.

The show is located at the American Legion grounds just behind Memorial Park, and admission is free. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dates for this year's shows are May 14, June 11, July 16, Aug. 13, Sept. 10 and Oct. 1.

Art in the Park is followed on Sunday by the season's first Concert in the Park. Concerts in the Park feature a variety of musical forms in a free concert in Memorial Park's gazebo right on Main Street.
The May 15 Concert in the Park will feature The Zephyr Lightning Bolts, an award-winning Old Time band that placed highly in the band category at several fiddler's conventions, including the prestigious Galax Fiddler's Convention. They also appeared at this year's MerleFest.

This is their first time playing in the Concerts in the Park series. The Concert in the Park is a free event; just bring a chair or a blanket to enjoy the music.

For more information, call the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at (828) 295-7851.

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