WAC presents Second Saturdays

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Apr. 24, 2013 | Modified: Apr. 24, 2013
WAC presents Second Saturdays

Watauga Arts Council executive director Cherry Johnson shows off the new logo for the Blue Ridge ArtSpace.

Photo submitted



Facts

WAC preps for fundraising efforts at new home

The Watauga Arts Council is launching fundraising campaigns to help cover overhead costs and other expenditures for the center’s new home at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace.

WAC executive director Cherry Johnson said 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, located at 377 Shadowline Drive. This fundraiser will help cover moving expenses and initial startup costs.

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.

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.

The WAC will open four new exhibits at the new center when it opens Saturday, May 11.

Additionally, the WAC is still seeking volunteers to help make the move-in a success. Other items and furnishings for the new center are also being sought.

For more information or how to contribute, call (828) 264-1789, or visit http://www.watauga-arts.org.

As hectic as the past year has been for the Watauga Arts Council, executive director Cherry Johnson said the nonprofit organization is now in a prime position to enrich the community through new and returning art offerings.

After leaving downtown Boone’s Jones House Community Center, which has been the WAC home for the past 26 years, in May 2012, the organization has since operated in scattered fashion under three different roofs throughout Boone.

Despite the arts council’s sudden disorganization last year, Johnson said it was able to reevaluate its mission in Watauga County, while receiving needed and much appreciated backing from the community.

“It has been one of our best years we’ve had, because we got so much community support,” Johnson said. “It was such a warm feeling.”

Johnson said it was that same continued support that enabled the WAC to find a new home at 377 Shadowline Drive, which shares the corner with State Farm Road.

Known as The Blue Ridge ArtSpace, the new arts and cultural center will house two other nonprofit organizations in addition to the arts council, including Appalachian State University’s Community Music School and the Craft Enrichment Program.

The three-for-one offer for the building allowed the WAC to reorganize under a new roof again, while allowing these three nonprofit organizations, which have compatible mission statements, to work together for the betterment of the county, Johnson said.

To kick-off the opening of ArtSpace on May 11, the WAC is planning an inaugural Second Saturday Studio and Gallery Hop, which is similar to the traditional art crawl.

“We began the First Friday Art Crawl many years ago, and we certainly would never want to harm it or take away from it,” Johnson said.

Second Saturdays will be a WAC offering.

Art enthusiasts will be able to download a map or pick up a copy of a listing of all the participating galleries and studios, Johnson said. Those art hoppers will then go from gallery to gallery, collecting signatures from the owners to prove they stopped by.

If they meet the prerequisite of signatures, Johnson said participants will drop their maps into a bowl, and a lucky participant’s entry will be randomly selected to receive door prizes from local galleries.

Johnson said there are still spots available for any local gallery that wishes to be included in the art hop, which will take place on the second Saturday of each month.

The art hop serves as great exposure for galleries, Johnson said.

“They get business,” she said. “Their whole goal is to get you in, get you excited and to buy the artwork.”

The arts council’s home will allow organizers the opportunity to showcase events and programming that it could not previously, Johnson said, adding that there will be four new art galleries to greet guests when the WAC relocates.

A main gallery, the Open Door Gallery, Serendipity Gallery and Children’s Gallery will be housed at the ArtSpace.

The durability of the new location also allows for more hands-on activity, as well as the expansion of the music program.

“The Jones House was too pretty to have messy crafts in it,” Johnson said. “We intend to use the building for a variety of art forms.”

For more information, visit http://www.watauga-arts.org.

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