Local artists and gallery owners are gearing up for this year’s spectacular ninth annual “Artists of Rappahannock Open Studio and Gallery Tour.” The tour runs 10 to 5 both Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2-3, and costs $10 total for the two days. Tickets and maps can be purchased at the Washington fire hall, where a sample of artists’ work will be displayed and sold.
“We operate rain or shine,” said Joanne Hilty, president of the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC), which sponsors the event. Noting that the tour draws close to 1,000 people each year, Hilty said many visitors come multiple years, some from “as far north as New York and as far south as the Carolinas.” In addition, “many visitors [are] from the local community and surrounding areas.”
There are 20 open studios participating — hosting almost 60 guest artists — along with seven local galleries holding special exhibits.
RAAC created and sponsors this event (put on entirely by local volunteers) to spotlight the community’s artistic richness and to highlight Rappahannock galleries and the works of the many artists living in the county. One of the tour’s unique features is giving visitors a chance to experience personal studios of artists and learn about the creative process.
The artists include painters, sculptors, ceramicists, potters, jewelers and photographers, as well as those who work in iron, wood, glass, mosaics and textiles. Many of these artists are nationally and regionally known and have been carefully chosen for the quality of their work.
“At only $10 for a two-day pass, this is the best buy in town,” said Hilty, noting that the monies raised through tickets and community sponsorship go to support the ongoing arts programs of RAAC, including the tour. It also supports the Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund, which provides financial assistance grants to artists of all ages, especially emerging ones.
One of the perks for a visitor taking this tour is traveling the bucolic back roads of Rappahannock County on a veritable scavenger hunt for artists’ studios during one of Virginia’s peak fall foliage weekends.
This year’s participating artists are divided into three areas: Sperryville-Castleton-Woodville, Flint Hill-Huntly-Chester Gap and Washington.
Rosabel Goodman-Everard (painter/mixed media), Gerald Smith (furniture maker), Susan Dienelt (potter), Margaret Rogers (print maker/drawings), Patricia Underwood (mixed media) and Hans Gerhard (metal sculptor/painter) are featured in the Sperryville-Castleton-Woodville area.
Mike Wolniewicz (furniture maker), Ruth Anna Stolk (painter), Nol Putnam (ironworker), Tom Mullany (painter) and Benita Rauda Gowen (painter) are featured in the Flint Hill-Huntly-Chester Gap area.
Washington’s offerings include Kevin Adams (painter), Nancy Keyser (painter), Peter Kramer (furniture maker/woodworker), Linda Tarry (mosaic artist), Rene Ruffner (painter), Nedra Smith (painter), Brenda Van Ness (photographer), Libet Henze (potter) and Lynne Horning (potter).
The seven participating galleries include Washington’s Geneva Welch and R.H. Ballard, along with River District Arts/Confluent Gallery, Glassworks Gallery, Haley Fine Art, Middle Street Gallery and Old Rag Photography in Sperryville.
For more information, visit raac.org or call 540-675-3193.