August 4, 2013

West Jefferson Gallery Crawl this Friday

August 9   West Jefferson Gallery Crawl   Stroll the streets of an historic mountain town, enjoy the cool mountain breeze while listening to the sounds of street musicians and "popping" in and out of West Jefferson's many galleries. Open House in more than 15 art galleries and studios.

 While you're strolling, be sure to pause to enjoy the remarkable local murals now numbering 14. The Mural Project began in 1996 when McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers, commissioned local artist Jack Young to create the mural "History of Ashe Through the Ages". The mural is located on the Regency Properties building next to the Ashe Arts Center. 

By 1998 "The Arts District" was establiished in downtown West Jefferson and two more murals, "Spring Wildflowers on Mt. Jefferson" and "New River Traditions" were added.  In 2001 Stephan Shoemaker's "Cut at Devil Stairs" was completed (on the Dollar Tire Building), a mural  reminiscent of a time when the railroad was vital to the life of Ashe County.  R.T. Morgan painted "Somewhere in Ashe" on the side of R.T. Morgan Gallery in 2003.

In later years "Gardens of the Sea" by artist Raney Rogers enhanced the Acorn Gallery and  "Weathered Pines" by Artist R.T.Morgan became the highlight of Ashe High Country Realty's office.  "Hayden and Chaco" by Artists Olivia Harless and Stephen Shoemaker enhance Western Jefferson with light hearted characters.

The 2004 communuity project  "Wings and Things" was painted on the wall of the Ashe County Cheese Plant Production Building. A partnership between the North Carolina Museum of Art, Ashe County High School's Project 540 and the Ashe County Arts Council, the farm scene was designed by Artists Earle Klutz Thompson and Raines Thompson who led over 125 students and community volunteers in painting the mural over a three day weekend.

Local artists, Bessie Clay and Stephen Shoemaker, created murals on the newly renovated Jefferson Station in downtown West Jefferson. The murals are "Blue Ridge Parkway" and "Train at Jefferson Station".

In the summer of 2006 another mural entitled "Unity in Diversity" was added to the downtown landscape. The bright and colorful mural located on Geno's Restaurant was designed by Winston Salem artist Marianne DiNapoli-Mylet who worked with students at the Ashe Middle School creating art that reflects the landscape of Ashe County along with the music and the people who live and work here. Unity, diversity, peace and tolerance in Spanish border the mural design. Along with volunteers from the Latino Center, students painted the mural on fabric panels that were adhered to the wall with a special adhesive followed by a protective coating. This mural project was part of an Arts in Education Residency Grant funded by the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency, and the Ashe Middle School.

The most recently completed downtown murals are "
Peace on the New" painted on the Mountain Outfitters shop and  "Signature: Past and Present"on the Signature Dodge Building bothe by artist Clayton Proctor.

Learn more about West Jefferson and Jefferson HERE.

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