Despite the intermittent clouds, rain, and cool temperatures, the 13th Annual Rappahannock Artists Studio and Gallery Tour was a tremendous success for the entire community. While the crowd of more than 1,000 was shy of last year’s attendance, the sales at the Main Gallery and at many studios and galleries were record-breaking. Many of those that came were repeat tour-goers who brought family and friends to share the special experience. There were also a surprising number of people from the region that were here for the first time. All the visitors were enthusiastic about what they saw and learned.
The creative and skilled efforts of the more than 100 artists participating in the tour were on brilliant display at the main gallery. Not as evident, but equally essential, was their hard and prolonged effort to create a body of work for the tour, present their studios, and welcome and educate guests. It is extraordinary that our county has so many fine artists living and working here. They create the magic that is the annual art tour.
Impressive and colorful artworks done by the county’s elementary and high school art students brought big smiles to hundreds of tour-goers at the school. The high school’s senior class received many generous donations toward their class trip in exchange for their gourmet coffee (donated by Central Coffee Roasters) and delicious baked goods. Local eateries enjoyed the opportunity to satisfy all those weekend visitors, many of whom took advantage of “grab-and-go” specials that helped them to keep up their touring pace.
There are many members of the community who deserve heartfelt thanks for making this remarkable event possible, starting with the record number of sponsors who were recognized for their generous support on the long banners hanging at the Schoolhouse gallery. All funds from the tour go into the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community’s Claudia Mitchell Fund to provide grants for a wide range of artistic endeavors and education within the county.
Behind the scenes, the art tour planning committee began its productive teamwork in April to organize and promote the event. Committee members and others responsible are Tim Ayers, Joannie Ballard, Barbara Black, Matthew Black, Patricia Brennan, Bob Hurley, Nancy Keyser, Tod Morgan, Bill Pragluski, Megan Smith, Nedra Smith, Ann Stenner, Charlotte Taylor, Joyce Wenger, and Mike Wenger. The stunning gallery display was due to the efforts of Robert Ballard, Pat Burke, Jeanne Drevas, Barbara Black, Matthew Black, Bob Hurley, Ron Makela, Tod Morgan, Camille Racer, Nancy Raines, Ann Stenner, and Mike Wenger. Ann Stenner was in charge of the festive and delicious reception on Friday evening. Jen Perrot and Kat Habib provided the stunning floral display. Thanks also go to Amy Grady and Joy Richardson, the RCPS art teachers and their students, for creating the beautiful and inspiring works.
The following volunteers deserve thanks for serving visitors so enthusiastically and capably, Dave Alberswerth, Ralph Bates, Karen Crow, Alan Dranitzke, Kathi Dutilh, Fawn Evenson, Kathy Farmer, Kathy Englar, Charles Fortuna, Mimi Ginsburg, Jan Gorecki, Yoko Grigorovich-Barsky, Emily Harris, Betsy Hille, Bob Hurley, Sheila Lamb, Heidi Lesinski, Jennifer Manly, Bud Meyer, Sallie Morgan, Tod Morgan, Ross O’Donoghue, Pete Pazmino, Andy Platt, Nancy Raines and Bailey, Cary Ridder, Megan Smith, Cynthia Stamps, Ann Stenner, Pete Stenner, Susan Stolzman, Julia Thieriot, Amy Timbers, Mary Jo Vrem, Theresa Wood, and John Ydstie.
In its third year at The Washington School, the tour gallery has grown into the grand space of the auditorium. Many thanks go to The Washington School LLC partners, Bill and Sarah Walton, John and Beverly Sullivan, Jim and Camille Racer, and Allan Comp. Not only did they provide the spacious and comfortable venue that enhances the tour experience for the community and visitors, the technical support and advance time for display and lighting set-up we received from Camille Racer and the rest brought the appearance of the tour gallery to a new level.
Chair, Art Tour Planning Committee