Art tour a success thanks to many 

The tour's pre-opening reception at the Washington Schoolhouse.
The tour’s pre-opening reception at the Washington Schoolhouse. Roger Piantadosi | Rappahannock News
By Roger Piantadosi/Rappahannock News
Roger Piantadosi | Rappahannock News

By the measures of crowd size, strengthened community connections and widespread satisfaction, the 12th annual Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour was an enormous success.

With the gorgeous weather and fall color, the tour drew a record-breaking 1,100-plus people. And the number of tour sponsors and total contributions set new records for generosity and community support for the arts in Rappahannock County.

Our guests had the extraordinary experience of viewing the artworks of 90 local artists, visiting with them and learning about their creative process and skills in studio demonstrations. Our deepest gratitude goes to the artists who worked tirelessly for months creating art for display at the main gallery and their studios and galleries, and spent the entire weekend welcoming and educating guests about their diverse fine art forms.

Behind the scenes, the art tour planning committee began its productive teamwork in March to organize, promote, set up, manage and breakdown the event. Committed and hard-working members are Tim Ayers, Barbara Black, Matthew Black, Patricia Brennan, Nancy Keyser, Tod Morgan, Megan Smith, Nedra Smith and Charlotte Taylor.

Work by tour artist Jackie Labovitz.
Works by tour artist Jackie Labovitz. Roger Piantadosi | Rappahannock News

The stunning and well-lit main gallery display, which impressed both artists and guests, was due to the creative and skilled efforts of Robert Ballard, Nancy Raines, Barbara Black, Matthew Black, Bob Hurley, Mike Mahoney, Ron Makela, Tod Morgan, Jen Perrot, Camille Racer and Ann Stenner. Ann was also in charge of the beautiful, festive and delicious reception on Friday.

The event would not have been possible without the enthusiastic and capable services provided throughout the weekend by our volunteers, Ralph Bates, Kim Bauman, Barbara Black, Matthew Black,  Karen Crow, Alan Dranitzke, Gator Estes, Charles Fortuna, Garrick Giebel, Jan Gorecki, Nancy Halgren, Emily Harris, Betsy Hille, Roger Hille, Bob Hurley, Eryn Hurley, Hope Hurley, Sharon Luke, Jan Makela, Jennifer Manly, Martha McIntosh, Bud Meyer, Sallie Morgan, Tod Morgan, Ross O’Donoghue, Pete Pazmino, Joe Pipik, Andy Platt, Dick Raines, Sean Ruberg, Megan Smith, Pat Snyder, Ann Stenner, Pete Stenner, Julia Thieriot, Theresa Wood and Cheri Woodward.

Work by tour artist Darien Reece.
Works by tour artist Darien Reece. Roger Piantadosi | Rappahannock News

This was a year of innovation in print and social media and outreach with a new tour photo and look for promotional materials, an active Facebook page with regular artist profiles and photos, weekly art trivia contests, a tour T-shirt with original art (they will be available next year, if you missed out), guest information sheets with a schedule of artist demos (generating a lot of excitement and new appreciation) and food service options.

Those responsible for these effective efforts to reach a wider audience are Tim Ayers, Joanie Ballard, Raymond Boc, Bob Hurley, Bill Pragluski, Sean Ruberg, Emily Sarecky and the rest of the creative team at Merrick Towle Communications. Businesses that provided trivia prizes are Griffin Tavern, Little Washington Winery and Pen Druid Brewery. We also want to thank all of the local businesses that served tour guests and made their visit so pleasurable.

Our second year at The Washington School exceeded all expectations for the technical support, encouragement and advance time for display and lighting set-up we received from the owners of TWS: John Sullivan, Bill Walton and Dan Spethmann, and the property manager, Camille Racer. This spacious and comfortable space greatly enhanced the tour experience for the benefit of our community and visitors.

Many thanks to all,

Heather Wicke
Chair, RAAC Art Tour Committee


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