The holiday shopping season will soon be in full swing and for those looking for unique gifts, they need look no further than the annual Open Air Art Market hosted by Foothills Arts Council. This year, 23 artists and vendors will fill the house, porch and garden areas at the Foothills Arts Council, 129 Church St., Elkin, on Dec. 4 from 5 to 9 p.m. and on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This is the fifth year of the Open Air Art Market. Arts Council Director Leighanne Martin Wright said it is the biggest event of the year. More than just shopping, it is a total holiday experience, complete with food and live entertainment while shoppers browse the booths of artists and crafters from throughout the region.
“The mission of the arts council can be seen all over this event,” said Martin Wright. “We are providing a venue for artisan craftsmen and fine artists to showcase their work and sell their work. We are also providing a venue for local and regional musicians to perform. And we are giving the community the opportunity to come out and enjoy the brisk air of December with music and food, taste some local wine and craft beer, and make some unique holiday purchases.”
“It is our hope that the Open Air Art Market draws visitors to our town for this weekend and encourages them to explore all we have to offer,” Martin Wright added.
The vendors at the Open Air Art Market will be selling a variety of fine art and heritage crafts. The following artists and vendors will be selling items at the market:
• Jim Adams, forged ironworks of Durham. New to the Open Air Art Market, Adams participated in the arts council’s Afternoon Art series years ago and set up at Grassy Creek Winery doing demos. He will once again be doing his demos on Saturday and will also have his unique, handcrafted iron pieces for sale.
• Matt Murray, sculpture, of Durham. Jim Adams brings with him his studio-mate, Murray, who is a fine art sculptor. Murray and Adams will share a large space in the main garden.
• Boho Soul Design, Kimberly Michelle of Cary. Michelle repurposes things such as guitar strings, hemp, beads, pottery, crocheted items into expressional, eclectic wearable art. This will be Michelle’s first appearance at the event. Her booth will be in the upstairs gallery.
• Tory Casey, American folk art/acrylic paintings, of Dobson. Owner of the Smalltown Gallery on West Main Street, Elkin, Casey will set up shop inside the downstairs gallery with her bird’s eye view paintings that present simple scenes with complex details and strong colors.
• Jill Clodfelter of Kernersville will be bringing her hand-built ceramics to the garden area for his first appearance at the Open Air Art Market.
• Cutting Edge Creations, Freda Baxter of Statesville. Baxter will be on the porch for a second year with her handcrafted soaps, body butters, lotion bars and moisturizers. She always keeps her products natural and simple using essential oils but no colorants.
• Designs by Nature, Robyn Vernon of Winston-Salem. Vernon brings hand-cut gemstone jewelry, natural amethyst crystal pendants and one-of-a-kind gemstone décor items. She will also offer crack-your-own Moroccan geodes. Vernon was at last year’s event and can be found in the upstairs gallery.
• Big Elkin Creek Pottery, Doug McBride of Elkin. This will be McBride’s second show at the Open Air Art Market with his one-of-a-kind, one-at-a-time works of clay. McBride will be in the garden area.
• Laughing Horse Pottery, Donna Tully and Josh Ellis of Galax, Virginia. Tully worked in decorative, functional and hand-built ceramics for year under Robin Mangum Sr. She and Ellis launched Laughing Horse Pottery in 2014 and will be newcomers to the Open Air Art Market event. Their booth will be in the downstairs gallery.
• Paws 4 Delight, Alan Bagshaw of Mount Airy. A frequent vendor at the Elkin Farmers’ Market, Bagshaw will have his all-natural pet treats and pet products and accessories in the garden area. He will even do pet photos on Saturday.
• Doris Petersham pottery, Doris Petersham of Elkin. The Foothills Arts Council welcomes Petersham back to the Open Air Art Market in the downstairs gallery with her delightful ceramics. She will be offering special decorations for the season.
• Tammy Sawyer of Traphill. Sawyer’s felted creations have been featured at the Smalltown Gallery and now will be in the downstairs gallery for the first time. Her work includes jewelry, bowls, vases, wall hangings, brooches and scarves.
• Slushy Girl Vintage, Joy Beshears of Jonesville. Beshears will set up in the upstairs gallery for her second year at the market bringing her unique collection of vintage and antique items.
• Billy Tweddell of Elkin. For his first appearance at the market, Tweddell brings paintings, drawings, woodcrafts and giclee. Tweddell’s booth will be in the upstairs gallery.
• Vintage Chic by Tiffney, Tiffney Willens of Millers Creek. Vintage Chic is a line of jewelry and accessories handcrafted and designed by Willens. Her materials include leather, copper, beads, fabric and various metals with each piece handmade and unique. Vintage Chic will be in the downstairs gallery for her first appearance at the market.
• The Vintage Home Studio, Michelle Gann of Wilkesboro. Gann makes her repeat appearance at the market in the upstairs gallery with her handtowels and home goods.
• Yoga On Main, Kelly Anne Fortkiewicz of Elkin. Elkin’s downtown yoga studio will set up a booth on the porch with information, gift certificates and will lead demo sessions on Saturday.
In addition to the artist booths, the following vendors will be on hand at the market selling libations and sustenance: Anchor Coffee will be in the garden area with fresh beans to take and brew to sip. The Barking Coyote will be on the porch with handcrafted artisan edibles from farm-fresh, locally grown products and things for the sweet tooth. Chef Jeff of 222 Public House will be in the garden area on Friday night with soups, wraps, sandwiches and sides. Boy Scout Troop 648 will in the garden area on Saturday with Port-A-Pit chicken dinners. Round Peak Vineyards and Skull Camp Brewing will be in the garden area with local wine and craft beer.
Live music will be performed during the market on both days. The Luke Mears Band will be kicking things off from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday. The band includes Luke Mears, Russell McCumber and Cory Myers and will be doing a selection of blues and beyond.
The Easy Street Brothers, directed by Josh Casstevens, will take the stage on Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. bringing the big band jazz sound from their appearance last summer on stage with Foothills Theatre’s production of Chicago.
On Saturday, Angie Caswell will be bringing her indie folk sound to the garden from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Guitar virtuoso Larry Davis will be taking the noon to 1:30 p.m. slot on Saturday. George Smith takes the garden stage from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday with his sound of Americana. Inside the house Keary Reid will entertain with piano classics on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The event is supported in part by the Elkin Tourism Development Authority. The arts council is also grateful for the support of the town of Elkin, Surry County, the Grassroots Arts Program through the NC Arts Council, and its members and business sponsors, said Martin Wright.
For additional information about the Open Air Art Market, visit www.foothillsartscouncil.org or find Foothills Arts Council on Facebook.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-518-3049.