Mount Airy Downtown issued a call for local artists to apply for the first public art Fiddle Crawl, and now with the deadline looming — Saturday, Dec. 14 — Downtown Coordinator Lizzie Morrison said she wanted any interested “regional artists” to apply, which could include a group of artists, art students led by a teacher, or two artists partnering for the project, as well as artists who are from the region, but who may not live in Surry County.
Fiddle Crawl Artist applications may be picked up at the Downtown Mount Airy/Downtown Business Association office or found online at www.mountairydowntown.org.
“Artists can collaborate, school groups can apply — there is no age minimum…artists only need to understand this is a commitment to create the work of art; if they are chosen, they must complete the sculpture within the time frame,” said Morrison.
In addition, Morrison said she hoped to receive applications from artists who work in a variety of mediums, including painters, photographers, mixed-media artists, storytellers and writers, bead work, fiber arts, and more.
“This will give an artist the opportunity to display their work in a public setting, and they will get lots of free exposure downtown, plus a great opportunity to make a good connection with their business sponsor,” Morrison said. Business sponsors will sign up to join with an artist, and businesses and artists can even partner together when applying, if the sponsoring business prefers to use a certain artist, Morrison explained.
“No business logos though,” Morrison added. “They can use a symbolic representation of the business if a business chooses to partner with a specific artist instead of choosing from the pool of applications.”
When talking about the program recently Morrison spread the artist applications she has received so far out on her desk, thrilled at the variety of designs already submitted. All artists must submit a basic design drawn on a fiddle on page two of the application.
“Artists can submit as many designs as they like, but there is no guarantee they will have each design chosen.” One application featured a watercolor rendition of the fiddle design, which resembled a singing fiddle. Morrison said six applications have been received so far, but she hoped to see many more by the deadline on Saturday.
“We are asking artists to stick with their original design, as much as they can, but of course they won’t be able to put all the details in the design plan on the application,” Morrison acknowledged.
Work on the 5.5-feet tall fiberglass fiddles will begin in early February and will progress until April, at which time the sculptures are collected and revealed on Friday, May 2 — one day before the Budbreak Wine Festival. A plaque on the base of each fiddle sculpture will recognize the artist or group and the sponsor.
After the design is complete and the fiddles are revealed, Morrison said tourists and locals will have the opportunity to explore downtown and surrounding areas, in search of the fiddle sculptures. Morrison added that the experience could be interactive and fun for everyone, all ages, and would include a social media component, with people encouraged to share their photographs online. A Fiddle Crawl brochure will contain photographs of each fiddle sculpture, as well as the name of the artist and sponsoring business, and the story behind each design, along with a map showing the location of each fiddle.
The fiberglass fiddles will stay on display in Downtown Mount Airy throughout the spring and summer season, and after Autumn Leaves Festival in October, Morrison said they will be collected for the fiddle art auction on Friday, October 24.
Throughout the time the fiddles are in place on the sidewalks of Downtown Mount Airy, voting for People’s Choice Award will take place, with votes purchased for $1 each, Morrison explained. The winner of People’s Choice Award will receive a percentage of the proceeds from voting. All artists will receive ten percent of the proceeds after their fiddle is auctioned.
Morrison said she hoped the city would approve a change in the sidewalk ordinance, one which would allow the Mount Airy Downtown Group to place permanent fiddles in the Downtown area as well as in local parks. Sponsors who choose the top level of sponsorship, a $3000 level, would place a reservation on the fiddle, keeping it from public auction. Sponsors could then chose to display the fiddle and “locations would be decided based on sponsorship location and guidelines in place by the city.” Sponsorships are also available for $750 and $1500. Artists only need to provide their supplies, such as acrylic paints, which Morrison said could be used on fiberglass.
“I hope this keeps getting bigger and bigger each year. It opens the door for murals and public art installations and more art galleries to come downtown and all the funds will go toward economic development for Downtown Mount Airy — this will benefit everyone, from the artist, to the sponsor, as well as those who visit Downtown,” Morrison said.
Reach Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1933.