Washington, North Carolina, just 22 miles east of East Carolina University's School of Art and Design, now has the distinction of hosting a major showing of multiple works of art, by multiple artists, and in just a 3 hours period hundreds folks were entertained, fed and in some instances, plied with wine. Downtown Washington on the Water (DWOW) planned the event, and the owners of these shops pulled it off. The event was a huge success.
The people wandering the streets, looking for the next group of exhibits in the next shop, certainly appeared to be enjoying themselves. The artists showing their works were happy to have the extra patronage and the shop owners were ecstatic to have the potential present and future customers. Hopefully all the fun will foster support for the arts in Beaufort County, and their holiday shopping will remain mostly in Washington.
My night began at my daughter, Meredith’s shop, Lone Leaf Gallery, which she owns with son in law, Neil Loughlin. I had a Yuengling, ate some brie with a few good crackers, observed the happy art connoisseurs, and hit the streets to make my rounds.
At the Lone Leaf, Proprietor Meredith speaks with future customers: Above. Patrons are served delicious wine and crackers / cheeses, while enjoying the art, with the latest revolving exhibit: The textile prints of Kim Eichler - Messmer, below.
My second stop was the Blythe House, which was not one of the nine shops involved in the Art Walk, but the proprietor, Debra Bright Wright laid out a pretty good spread, and her shop was decked out for Christmas and full of folks.
I probably spent too much time here, but I always enjoy seeing Debra’s brother and my former classmate, Ronald. He regaled me with his stories of the past and the present: Always entertaining, however, I lost track of the time running short, so we’ve Ronald to blame for me not getting around to all of the shops.
I did, however, make my way across West Main Street to the Riverwalk Gallery, which is the only gallery in Washington that is owned and operated by a cooperative of artists. There was another large crowd here, revolving as they were, and the mood was festive - like a party. It was nice seeing the folks having so much fun enjoying the creative whims of others.
Riverwalk Gallery playing host to their patrons: Above. Washington Artisan Alice Stallings, below, doing what she does best - for decades - creating some fine work. Her two renderings behind her are pastels (colored charcoal) of the sales days in the local tobacco markets - that were so prevalent in this area. Wyatt, our resident artist and critic, has taken a look at them and he says they are very good. Good job Alice.
Crabby's, specializing in stained glass, is one of the only locales that offers the distributed products to work with, and lessons to get you started: Above. The Inner Banks Artisans' Center is was my next stop, with a completely different idea of how to market the artistic process. Stay tuned for an article in the future by Wyatt on their unique ideas: Below.
The Beaufort County Traditional Music Association invite folks of all ages to participate, when they performed at IBX Artisan's Center. This group playing tonight was a composite of the bands: Carolina Still and Tried and Blue: Above. More of the galleried art at the IBX Artisans Center: Below.
Beaufort County, and in particular, Washington, made local history last night with the inaugural Art Walk. We should all give a basket of thanks to the organizers, and moreover, the shop owners and artisans that made it all possible. This may be the future for downtown Washington, North Carolina. If it is, this group has initiated a good start.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.