WEST JEFFERSON – Dozens of patrons took to the streets of West Jefferson on Friday, June 11 to participate in the first of the 2021 season gallery tours hosted by Ashe County Art’s Council.
At least 14 galleries participated in Friday night’s gallery crawl, giving locals and visitors a chance to view and purchase work by High Country artists while supporting local businesses. The event also gave the arts council the opportunity to present its new exhibition entitled “Kaleidoscope” which features works of art representative of abstractions, lines, shapes, colors and angles.
Regarding the first exploration of galleries since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ashe Art Council executive director Jeff Fissel said the Arts Council was starting slowly.
“We are going back. We don’t want to overwhelm anyone with large crowds and crowded galleries. Each gallery is invited to define their own level of comfort with retractions and return to them. This is the first time we’ve all done this since the onset of COVID-19. So we’re hoping for a good crowd tonight, but we don’t expect galleries crowded all night, ”Fissel said. “We are just delighted to be back here for an exploration of the gallery, we are delighted to welcome people on a Friday evening with our beautiful summer weather in the mountains and to be able to display some amazing works of art by some great talented local artists. ”
Some precautions involved skipping the usual reception held at the Arts Council for new artists and artists on display. However, Fissel noted that the goal of the Arts Council is to return to a sense of normalcy with each exploration of the gallery.
“We’re not ready to come back to this just yet because we’re worried that many people will be in the room at the same time. And we don’t want people to feel in any way unsafe or unwelcome when they arrive, ”said Fissel. “For now, it will just be a ‘drop in’ situation. We don’t have the food and wine that would normally be out, but as people get more comfortable and see how things go tonight, that could change by next month.
Despite the slight changes during the Friday night festivities, visitors and artists alike are happy to see the return of gallery tours.
“I am delighted that gallery tours are returning,” said Douglas Butler, a local writer and photographer whose work is featured in the Kaleidoscope exhibition. “It’s very exciting and it’s good to see the artists again and to find the patrons and to be able to meet, discuss again and see each other’s art. I am really happy to be here.
Ashe County Arts Council gallery tours will continue from July to October every second Friday of each month from 5 to 7:30 p.m. For more information on these events, contact the Arts Council at ( 336) 846-2787 or visit their website at ashecountyarts.org/.