Artists Communities in the Blue Ridge
Image: by Woody McKenzie, Musician and instrument maker in Lynchburg, Virginia
The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina are rich with art and artists of diverse disciplines and talents. Although there are smaller pockets of artist communities along the mountain range, there are three major art communities of note.
Art in Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina is an attractive area to hip and creative young people as well as to hip and creative retirees. Asheville has been listed in both Rolling Stone and Modern Maturity as an ideal place to live or visit. The open and accepting character of the city is evidenced by the many lifestyles and beliefs that coexist peacefully there.
The art scene is especially active, and Asheville has become a mecca for potters, painters and musicians, with much of the current creativity inspired by the folk art and old ballads of early Scottish, English and Scots-Irish settlers.
Art in Asheville online:
Art in Lexington, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia is a fairly small city compared to Asheville but is stuffed to the gills with talented artists.
Lexington offers an art gallery walking tour through the city‘s historic downtown district. The tour consists of eight fine galleries within easy walking distance of one another. Although the galleries are all located in the heart of downtown Lexington, there is no mistaking that each of them has their own artistic style and spirit. You will discover everything from local art and hand-made jewelry to contemporary black and white photography and traditional Chinese paintings. In addition, many local restaurants and shops often have temporary art exhibits that showcase local and regional artists. Take a leisurely stroll through the art galleries and enjoy the history and culture that make Lexington a special place and artist’s community.
The Art in Lexington brochure and locator map can be found at the Lexington Visitor Center (106 E. Washington Street).
From I-81Take exit #188B. Follow Rt. 60 west. At the 4th stoplight (Lewis Street) turn right. Lewis Street will curve around to your left and turn into Washington Street. The Lexington Visitor Center is on the right.
From I-64Take exit #55. Follow Rt. 11 south. As you go over the Maury River Bridge Rt. 11 will split. Merge to the right (Rt. 11 Business). As you come into downtown Lexington turn left on Washington Street. The Lexington Visitor Center is 2 blocks down on the left.
Hours: The Lexington Visitor Center is open daily 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. in June, July and August). The hours at the art galleries vary, but are primarily Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Art in the Shenandoah Valley
Last but not least are artists of the Shenandoah Valley. A beautiful and well known area for its history, Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, many wineries, the Shenandoah Valley is also rich in art and talented artist of nearly every genre.
The Shenandoah Arts Council is a 501(c)3 non profit organization working to foster awareness and appreciation of the community's diverse cultural heritage, showcase local artists and art organizations, and strengthen arts education in the community.
The Shenandoah Arts Council's facility provides:
A Gallery for the visual arts
A venue for the performing arts
A stage for children's theatre, music, drama and dance
A venue for showing classic films to audiences of all ages
A place for authors and poets to share their work
A forum for lectures and special programs
A site for arts receptions and events
A place for arts organizations to meet
Studio and workshop space for artist, musicians and writers
The SAC Gallery is Open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10-3, Fridays and Saturdays, from 11-3 and Sundays from 1-3.
The Shenandoah Arts Council's facility is at 811 South Loudoun StreetPH: 540.667.5166 FX: 540.667.3395
Art in the Shenandoah Valley online:
"THE ART GROUP"
5906 Main Street
(U.S. Route 11)Box 676 -
Mt. Jackson,VA 22842
Telephone: (540) 477-4131