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Fine Arts and Master Crafts

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Fine Arts and Master Crafts

Published: 3:11 PM, 07/19/2012
Last updated: 12:01 AM, 07/23/2012

Courtney Tomchik, raku clay sculptor, and Christi Buchanan, painter and mixed media artist, are two of the 85-plus artisans who will be representing their mediums in the 21st annual Avery Chamber Fine Art Festival and Master Craft Fair this weekend, July 20 to 22.

The festival, hosted by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, takes place at the historic Banner Elk elementary school in downtown Banner Elk.

According to festival organizers, Tomchik and Buchanan are show favorites, recognized for their craft and awards. Buchanan was showcased in Southern Living magazine, recognizing her whimsical paintings and artistry.  

Jewelry artists Blaine Taylor will introduce new designs from gold to platinum pieces, and Jim and Barbara Runkle will showcase their intricately crafted opal pieces mined all the way from their Australian opal mine.

The venue will have several exclusive artists showcasing their unique works, two of whom are more show favorites, Bill Squires and Roger Marsengill, who bring their metal-sculpted furniture and wall pieces.

New to the show this year are artists Cotton Ketchie and Sally Nooney, with her “Women with Attitude” art and whimsical pieces, and Avery Museum with its original design of the WNC “ghost train” at the depot under renovation in Newland. These artists’ works will be displayed inside the school during the show.

Other artists include Jason Becker, who creates chairs that hang from trees, Veronica Becker and her newest glass and found sculptures, photographer Mike Carley and painter Vivian Edwards. According to organizers, many of the artists travel the country throughout the year capturing new images, and visitors are encouraged to stop by and chat with the artists about their travels and inspiration.

For the kids, there will be face-painting by Fake-A-Face, and for anyone with an appetite, food comes courtesy of Carolina Barbeque, Formerly McFudge and Mookies Popcorn.

This free family festival has added an extra day to accommodate visitors who may not be able to attend on Saturday. The festival begins Friday, from 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on accommodations, restaurants and upcoming events, visit or call the Avery County Chamber, located in the Tynecastle Shoppes at the intersections of N.C. 105 and N.C. 184, at (800) 972-2183.