By Heather Wicke
Special to the Rappahannock News
Since the Annual Art Tour began 14 years ago, the number and reputation of participating artists and range of fine art forms has increased along with Rappahannock’s thriving and dynamic community. This year’s Tour reflects just how much the artistic community has grown with a remarkable 33 studios and 11 galleries participating.
Two new studios and three new galleries are joining returning artists. The Tour newcomers further enrich our Tour with distinctive art forms and display spaces. The new artists are Jen Perrot and Kat Habib at Flourish Root-Floral Studio and Steve Marquisee at the family’s new studio complex. Dwell Fine Arts, Hazel River Arts and Antiques, and Sperryville Artists Cooperative are the three new galleries on the Tour — Nov. 3-4.
Flourish Root-Floral Studio (12151 Lee Hwy, Sperryville): Jen Perrot, a floral and green installation artist and Kat Habib, a ceramics artist and sculptor, have been collaborating on artworks, events, and educational activities for five years. In their own words, “We each have a distinct design perspective and aesthetic but they complement each other, and ultimately, by sharing our editing eyes with each other, our work is stronger for it. Both of us draw inspiration from nature and are working creatively with living elements, but our backgrounds in restoration, Jen with historic preservation and Kat with art conservation, has carried into our precise attention to detail and a larger sense of composition and place reflected in our work.”
Marquisee Musical Instruments (344 Keyser Run Rd., Washington): Steve Marquisee has been working and creating with wood for most of his life. He started making musical instruments in 2003 and crafts mandolins, banjos, and guitars in his luthier workshop. He has previously exhibited his works as a guest artist on the Tour and now has an expansive studio. With a newly acquired sawmill, he plans to incorporate local woods such as persimmon and sassafras in future creations. Guest artists, Donna and Forrest Marquisee have studios adjoining the luthier space. Donna creates artworks from natural materials she gathers. Forrest has a recording studio and will be playing music on Steve’s instruments during the Tour.
Dwell Fine Arts (261 Main Street, Washington): This new Little Washington gallery is the realization of Sykes long-time dream of opening a gallery. She has created a welcoming, informal, and visually exciting space that she hopes will “become a locus for local and visiting art lovers and provide a nurturing and constructive support network for artists of all media.” Dwell Fine Art represents established and emergent artists with an eclectic mix of works from the more traditional to complete abstraction. Sykes is intent on “finding ways for her gallery to support the local community through collaborations that promote the County’s status as a foodie and cultural hub.”
Hazel River Arts and Antiques (12652-A Lee Hwy, Washington): This new gallery in the space previously known as Ginger Hill Antiques has undergone an artistic transformation under the ownership of Williams and management of sculptor, Maggi Morris. Local artists are front and center with regular exhibitions and captivating displays of diverse works of painters, glass artists, ceramic artists, sculpture, photography and more.
Sperryville Artist Cooperative ( 3 River Lane, Sperryville): The cooperative includes a group of resident artists working in a variety of different media and all inspired by the natural beauty and farmland heritage of Virginia’s Piedmont Region. They came together with the goal of offering support to emerging and young artists as well as providing enrichment to the Rappahannock Community. The gallery is a unique hybrid of artists’ working space and a music and art showcase sponsored by Living Sky Foundation, under the artistic direction of Cheryl Crews.
With 44 unique sites to explore and experience, this year’s Art Tour promises to the best ever, with crowds of art lovers from near and far coming to enjoy our extraordinary artists community.