The 2015 Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour Nov. 7-8 will be the 11th in the series, but with several changes. The most significant is the move of the weekend tour’s headquarters from the Washington fire hall to the nearby Washington School auditorium on Mount Salem Avenue.
The new location provides more space for displaying representative works by the more than 55 Rappahannock artists featured in this year’s tour. It also provides more room for tour participants to register and obtain their maps. Registration is $10, good for both days. The tour is sponsored by Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC) and net proceeds from the tour will be used to foster expansion of art programs throughout the county.
Several Rappahannock artists are new to the tour. These include Michael Dennis, John Kirchner, Clive Pates, Virginia Pates, Gina Sweatt, Lisbeth Sabol, Pam Pittinger and Phyllis Northup. The new Gay Street Gallery in Washington joins seven other galleries in Washington and Sperryville. Guests will be able to visit 21 studios, including three new to the tour. Studios and galleries will be open from 10 to 5 both Saturday and Sunday.
Another new feature is this year’s introduction of a limited program for “encore artists.” This program will feature artists who lived and worked in Rappahannock but have since — for some unfathomable reason — moved away.
Most years, about 1,000 people sign up for the tour. Last year, a ZIP code survey of participants revealed that 75 percent of participants came from outside the county. The majority of those were from the D.C. metro area. Because of this weekend influx, the annual tour is a boon to the county’s larger business community, including its inns, B&Bs, wineries, restaurants and merchants.