Two West Jefferson art galleries are featured in the annual mountain issue of Greensboro-based “Our State” magazine.
The Ashe County Arts Council’s gallery and CatchLight Gallery were both on a list of 25 galleries to see art in the North Carolina mountains.
“I am stunned and delighted,” said Nicole Robinson, owner of CatchLight Gallery, located on Jefferson Ave. “We didn’t even know they were doing a story or anything, so I didn’t speak to anybody (from “Our State”) about our gallery. Obviously it had been somebody who visited and liked what they saw.”
Jane Lonon, head of the Ashe County Arts Council, said she too initially found out about the recognition online and believes that the credit goes to all of the artists throughout the county.
“We have such a wealth of artists from all genres and mediums,” she said. “The Art Council’s mission has always been to nurture and support all of those artists.”
The two galleries join other art centers in cities including Blowing Rock, Boone, Hendersonville and Asheville. Both galleries hope that the article brings more traffic into the West Jefferson art scene.
“I hope (the article) will give us more of a statewide view,” Robinson said. “People read ‘Our State’ religiously and follow their suggestions.”
The owners can only speculate how their galleries received the honor. Lonon said she believes the Arts Council’s cooperation with local artists and constantly changing the exhibits contributed to the gallery being selected.
“I think we have such a diversity of shows, a wonderful wealth of artists here that can be centered here, perhaps that played a role of the recognition the Arts Center received in being one of those recognized,” she said.
Robinson said, that while CatchLight has only been open for a year and a half, the way their gallery is handled is entirely different than most others in the state.
“We are different than a lot of galleries because we only exhibit photographic art,” she said. “We don’t have any paintings or pottery. When I started this business I thought that aspect was important, because photography gets hidden with all of the other mediums.”
Both galleries have major fall events coming up.
The Arts Council will host its Best of the Blue Ridge exhibit, bringing in works from Ashe as well as Watauga, Wilkes, Alleghany counties, Johnson County, Tenn. and Grayson County, Va.
CatchLight Gallery will have numerous workshops in November including one by John Kroll, a five-time Pulitzer nominee.
With big events and constantly changing exhibits, both galleries feel justified in their placement as being the best in the mountain region.
“I’m delighted to be on the list with all of these other amazing galleries including our own arts council,” Robinson said.
To read the “Our State” article online, go to www.ourstate.com/mountain-art/