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Fabulous Fence Festival at ArtSpace

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Article Published: Aug. 15, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 18, 2013
Fabulous Fence Festival at ArtSpace

ArtSpace volunteers Jimmie Owen and Pat Moritz inspect an aging fence at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace in a lead up to picket painting fundraiser.

Photo by Jesse Campbell



Have you painted your picket yet?

If not, now’s your chance.

The Watauga County Arts Council’s Fabulous Fence Festival takes place this Saturday, Aug. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace in Boone.

“The Blue Ridge ArtSpace is meant to be a community arts center, and already it’s quickly becoming an energetic, creative place,” said Cherry Johnson, Watauga County Arts Council executive director. “But our poor fence is old, broken, tired and sad, and it needs your help to pick it up and give it the energy and life it needs.”

As such, community members can help the Blue Ridge ArtSpace — and its fence — by purchasing and painting a picket. Participants can paint as many as they like and then join the council on Saturday for the Fabulous Fence Festival, where council members and volunteers will replace the tired pickets with their fresh and colorful counterparts.

In addition, the festival will offer live music, arts activities for children and the painting of a community barn quilt to be mounted on the Blue Ridge ArtSpace building.

Altogether, there will be a total of 245 pickets, which will create the entire fence that not only encircles the side yard, but also will stretch around the back side of the yard and end with a gate leading to a future sculpture garden that will border Shadowline Drive.

On Saturday, the first leg of the fence will be installed, Johnson said, and then the process will be continued in the weeks and months to come until completion.

“Because the pickets are being painted by community members, families, groups and even businesses to express themselves and the unique role they each play in Watauga County, our fence will be one of a kind and will be a colorful portrait of our community,” Johnson said. “For years to come, every time you see your pickets, you can be proud of the role you have played in bringing the Blue Ridge ArtSpace into existence.”

There are two ways to paint pickets. Participants can go to New River Building Supply and purchase their own specially sized pressure-treated pickets for $5 each. With those, participants will be given an informational flyer that will provide the necessary guidelines and instructions. Participants are asked to use their own exterior paint and should plan to paint both sides of the picket, since almost all of the pickets will be installed in locations visible on both sides.

“You are encouraged to paint several pickets and to involve friends and family to make it a fun group project,” Johnson said. “But if getting the paint, setting everything up and then cleaning it up seems a bit daunting to you, the arts council has provided an alternative.”

The festival will feature a painting station in one of the ArtSpace’s classrooms, where participants can come paint their pickets. The WCAC has even created a simple set of instructions, “How to Paint a Picket in 10 Easy Steps,” and the room has instructions posted to guide first-time painters through the process.

“There is even an inspirational notebook, stencils and other tools to help you with the creation of your picket design,” Johnson said. “The arts council has acquired a wide assortment of exterior grade paint through generous donations from New River Building Supply, Pell’s Painting and private individuals. They have provided brushes and all the necessary tools to make painting your picket easy.”

The cost for painting a picket in the painting station is $20 per adult and $12 per child and includes the picket and paint.

Because the Blue Ridge ArtSpace is just getting established and is run primarily by volunteer efforts, Johnson suggests that those interested call first before coming to paint a picket.

“Several people have come with two or three friends to paint one side of their pickets in late morning and then put them in the drying rack to dry,” she said. “Then they go out and have a great lunch together in one of the nearby restaurants and return after lunch to paint the reverse side of their pickets. It’s a great plan and a great way to enjoy one another’s company and creatively become a part of Blue Ridge ArtSpace.”

The Blue Ridge ArtSpace is located at the corner of Shadowline Drive and State Farm Road. In addition to offering four galleries and a gift shop filled with artistic creations by local artists, the ArtSpace will soon be announcing a schedule of workshops and classes for all ages. These will vary from drawing and painting to woodcarving, lampwork (glass bead making) and jewelry making. Music instruction in a variety of instruments is being offered through the Community Music School.

The WCAC maintains an active Facebook page and also provides information through its website at http://www.watauga-arts.org.

Gift shop hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The council hopes to expand these hours as more volunteers become involved.

To learn more or to become involved with the Blue Ridge ArtSpace, call the Watauga County Arts Council at (828) 264-1789 or visit http://www.watauga-arts.org.

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