Fiddle Crawl premieres with free event on May 2

By Jessica Johnson

April 26, 2014

The streets in downtown Mount Airy will have a new addition on May 3, with the premier of the Fiddle Crawl and colorful fiberglass fiddle sculptures painted by local artists installed along the sidewalks, where they will be in place through October. A free Fiddle Crawl Reveal will take place on May 2 at 5 p.m. at the Historic Earle Theatre in downtown Mount Airy — a sneak-peek at the fiddles before they are installed in their locations throughout the downtown area.

The Fiddle Crawl Reveal will feature the 12 local artists who created the unique works of art for the community, and the reveal of their fiddle sculptures. Mountain Park Old-Time Band will provide music for the event a WPAQ and Kelly Epperson will feature a live broadcast on 740 AM.

Prior to the Fiddle Crawl Reveal, Uncorked on North Main Street, located directly beside the Historic Earle Theatre, will be open for those who wish to drink a glass of wine and visit with the artists before the free event.

Beginning on May 3, during the Budbreak Wine and Craft Beer Festival, the public has a chance to meet the artists, who will be standing alongside their works of art, their fiddle creations. The public will have the chance to vote on their favorite fiddle at Old North State Winery for a cost of $1 per vote. Artists will receive 50 percent of the proceeds from voting.

Maps and brochures for the Fiddle Crawl are available at the visitor center and multiple locations throughout downtown Mount Airy.

Nine of the fiddles will be auctioned off at the Fiddle Crawl Auction on Oct. 24 at Old North State Winery, at a special event featuring the music of Lacy Green and more. Three fiddles will become public art works on the sidewalks of downtown Mount Airy.

According to Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison, the effort is a public art initiative presented by Mount Airy Downtown Inc. It is modeled after other successful fundraisers in North Carolina Main Street Communities and will feature larger-than-life, three dimensional, fiberglass fiddle sculptures painted, decorated, and embellished by local artists.

“We had a really wide variety of designs submitted by our artists,” said Morrison. “The designs ranged in style from the abstract, flowers, local cultural references including Mayberry, dogwoods and granite, Old Time music and family..We were so impressed at the effort of our artists. They obviously put in so much effort and works for hours on the designs.”

Fiddle Crawl artists include:

• Kayla Ellis, sponsored by F. Rees Clothing Company (permanent fiddle)

• Lizzie Morrison, sponsored by Main-Oak Emporium

• Vivian Elstone, co-sponsored by BB&T and Blue Ridge Burke Insurance

• Keenia Beck, sponsored by Moody’s Funeral Services

• Kathy Pruett, sponsored by Carolina Environmental Contractors, Inc.

• Eric Leathers, co-sponsored by Surrey Bank & Trust and Perkins & Associates Financial

• Philip Ernst, co-sponsored by the North 400 Block and Workforce Carolina

• Maria Skaskiw, sponsored by Patterson

• Andrea Morrison, sponsored by Mount Airy Rotary Club

• McKenzie Sumner, sponsored by Old North State Winery (permanent fiddle)

• Greg McCormick, sponsored by Andrew Pearson Industries and Interlam

• Mike Lowe, sponsored by McArthur’s on Main (new business to open downtown in March)

Morrison shared that they are hoping to make this an ongoing project. One of the goals is to promote Mount Airy assets, including the hundreds of arts events every year with downtown serving as a “backdrop” for photos.

A total of 23 artists submitted design concepts which were collected in a notebook for sponsors to choose from the designs, on a first-come, first-served basis, then decided where the fiddles would be placed in the downtown district. Participating artists were given a fiberglass fiddle as his or her canvas. Professional-grade acrylic paints with high resin levels were used to paint the fiddles, which insured the paint would not fade over time. The fiddles were also clear-coated to protect them from the elements.

Plaques on the base of each fiddle will recognize the sponsor and the artist. On Oct. 24 the fiddles will be up for bid at the Fiddle Crawl Auction, with a portion of the proceeds going to the artist. A portion of the proceeds will go to fund downtown economic development efforts.

Other benefits of the effort include enhancing downtown appearance, promoting arts and local businesses, creating an additional tourist attraction, encouraging foot-traffic, and a public art initiative that will connect the entire downtown district.

Sponsors for the Fiddle Crawl include Andrew Pearson Industries, BB&T, BB&T Blue Ridge Burke Insurance, B&L Custom Jewelers, Brannock & Hiatt Furniture, Carolina Environmental Contracting, Inc., Cyber Gear, F. Rees Company, Frequent Flyer Tack Shoppe, H & R Block, Interlam, Jordan Brannock Photography, McArthur’s on Main, Moody’s Funeral Services, Mount Airy Rotary Club, Old North State Winery, Patterson Automotive Group, Perkins & Associates Financial, Robby’s Sales, Inc., Scarlet Begonias, Surrey Bank & Trust, We Sister’s Bake Shop, What’s Needlin’ Ewe, and Workforce Carolina.

For more information, visit www.mountairydowntown.or and join the Downtown Mount Airy Facebook page.